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MANUS x MACHINA

The Costume Institute's spring 2016 exhibition Manus x Machina – Fashion in an Age of Technology opened this month in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Curated by Andrew Bolton, the exhibition features more than 170 garments that demonstrate ways in which the hand (manus) and machine (machina) are used together to create both high fashion and ready to wear designs.

"Manus x Machina questions the dialectical relationship in which the hand and machine are portrayed as discordant instruments in the production of the haute couture and pret-a-porter," said Bolton.

Arranged over two floors, the exhibition showcases examples of 3D printing, laser cutting and other machine-based fabrication combined with work completed by hand. The exhibition is split into six main areas based on sections from 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie, which categorised art and craft disciplines alongside sciences. On the upper level, these are broderie (embroidery), plumasserie (featherwork) and parurier floral (artificial flowers). Downstairs, galleries are dedicated to maroquinerie (leatherwork), dentellerie (lacework), and plisseé (pleating).

Amongst famous designs are a 2012 dress covered in shells and coral by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh's dresses made from straws, Hussein Chalayan's Kaikoku Floating Dress, and Iris van Herpen's bird-like garment fashioned from silicone feathers.

Manus x Machina – Fashion in an Age of Technology
5 May - 14 August 2016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York