Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

On May 5, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will open its new Costume Institute exhibition, “Manus x Machina,” curated by Andrew Bolton which aims to explore how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and ready-to-wear.

More than 150 exhibits, dating from the early 20th century to the present day, will demonstrate examples of traditional techniques – embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework and leather work – alongside innovative new processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting and ultrasonic welding.

“Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met. “It is therefore timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. This exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine, often presented as oppositional, are mutual and equal protagonists.”

“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Manus x Machina will challenge the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy and propose a new paradigm germane to our age of technology.”

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology will run from May 5 – August 14 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

About the Author

Having started her career in New Zealand as a fashion and beauty assistant, she then moved on to edit the online beauty magazine, BeautyBible. Since then she has created her own blog, The Refined Edit. Now based in the United Kingdom she has contributed to countless print and online publications including Style.com/Arabia. Follow her musing on Twitter and Instagram @gracieastewart.