Now on Display: “Manus x Machina” at the Met


Angel Kim

This 2014-15 wedding ensemble by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel is the centerpiece for the “Manus x Machina” exhibition at the Met. It will be on display until Sept. 5.

Angel Kim, Staff Writer

A few days ago, during a trip to visit some museums in Manhattan, New York, I stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (often abbreviated as the Met). The vast museum has collections from ancient civilizations to contemporary art. As I skimmed over the museum brochure, a particular exhibition name, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology” rung a bell to me.

“Manus x Machina” was the theme of this year’s Met Gala, of course. Though the pieces on display are not the outfits worn by celebrities at the event, the exhibition focuses on the value of works that are handmade and machine made. As a result, visitors can see works that combine both handmade aspects, which were traditionally seen as being more carefully constructed, with machine made aspects, which were originally seen as being more emotionless. The collection consists of ensembles dating from the 1900s onward, which is a time period where pieces that fit the “Manus x Machina” theme begin to become more widespread.

I should mention that I do not avidly follow fashion, and my only “technical” knowledge of the subject coming from watching “Project Runway” since elementary school. Despite this, the gallery was impressive, and I enjoyed looking at the creativity in each of the designs. I also learned a lot about the unique designs each of the featured brands came to be known for.

The first piece I saw as I entered the Robert Lehman Wing that holds the exhibition is a 2014-15 wedding ensemble by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. The scuba knit dress was an inspiration for the exhibition, and its 20-foot train is decorated with golden embroidery.

In addition to Chanel, the exhibition included brands such as Dior, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. One aspect I liked about the exhibition was how there was a number of recent works, but there were also vintage pieces designed by the older brands’ founders.

The rest of the wing contains outfits displaying different features and techniques, including artificial flowers, feathers, pleating and drapes.

“Manus x Machina” will be on display until Sept. 5. It is one of the Met’s many current exhibitions, and I would recommend anyone interested in art that is visiting New York to drop by.

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