Manus X Machina at The Met

The Met’s Costume Institute’s annual exhibit, which kicks off with a mega party, the Met Ball, on the first Monday in May, doesn’t disappoint this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme of handmade vs machine-made clothing for the haute couture and pioneering pret a porter. Fashion has such rich history, and it’s always fascinating to learn about the varied parts of this multi-faceted industry. Before the actual manufacturing of designer clothing can take place, there is of course the idea which must manifest, which precedes the design element itself. The creation of an item, in this case clothing, from a high design aesthetic and technique, fully engages me.

When it comes to the labor aspect of manifesting a material article from a sketch on paper or on computer, the 2 options in this case are so extremely different, manus (hand) vs machina (machine). In some cases both modalities are employed for the manifestation of a piece. I’m awe-struck at the amount of labor that goes into the handmade haute couture outfits. Machines play a part since haute couture was invented after the sewing machine, but the labor intensive jobs of the people that do their part in bringing these dresses to life is just incredible.

Claudia MasonComment