Alexander McQueen [L] and Iris Van Herpen [M, R] dresses on the Ground floor of the #ManusxMachina exhibit at the MET Museum
Not to be dismissed as merely "cute clothes," the sculpturesque specimens of #ManusxMachina commingle concepts of man-produced and mass-produced through the lens of design, process and technology. Using "x" instead of "vs" to marry (and not separate) man and machine, taxonomy is key in creating contextual clarity. At the recent press preview, show curator Andrew Bolton notes, "We're in a really troubling moment. Designers seem to be dispensable and fashion seems to be disposable. I hope that the show reminds people of the geniuses of our world and of what they do." Keep reading to see more from the ground floor of the exhibit...
"Plissé" (Pleating)... Dior "Bar Suit" S/S 1947 [L]; Hussein Chalayan "One Hundred & Eleven" dress S/S 2007 [M]; Paco Rabanne 1967 [R]
Concepts of pleating, lacework, leatherwork and tailoring are effortlessly presented on simplistic mannequin forms and grouped in like color schemes. Absent of distraction, viewer engagement remains uniform across all garments. Curator Andrew Bolton intentionally shies away from 'wearable technology,' focusing instead on the 'quiet technology' used in textile creation.
Alexander McQueen (A/W 2012 pret-a-porter) Laser cut white pony skin bonded to black leather, machine-sewn and bonded to Mongolian wool
Strolling through the ground floor, it's fun to predict the pieces produced by hand, and those by machine. Iris Van Herpen's futuristic styles seem machine-made, though many--such as her 2013 Bird dress--are largely handcrafted! YSL's 1965 Mondrian dress is mainly machine-manufactured, with hand sewn hems. The fashion, facts, and features presented make this an intellectually worthy exhibit, less the gimmicks and predictability. Stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view Manus x Machina until August 14th.
Close up of lace detailing on a Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy dress A/W 2010-11
ThreeAsFour S/S 2016 "Interdimensional" dress [L], Proenza Schouler 2013/14 pret-a-porter [R]
"[These dresses are] made from... custom lace that looks like guipure but is actually a kind of embroidery on a tulle base. It's called ceramic 'stone' lace because the yarn has the same properties as ceramic....We began by drawing the patterns on a computer. The patterns were then embroidered--by machine--onto tulle. The fabric was then dipped into acid, causing the tulle to dissolve....Then we decorated the material with our 'high frequency' embroidery--bonding... abstract motifs...to the fabric by ultrasonic welding....The idea was to create dresses made from a new and completely modern type of lace."
- Lazaro Hernandez and Jack Mccullough of Proenza Schouler
Sculpturesque styles! Commes des Garçons by Junya Watanabe [L and R] and Pierre Cardin 1968 Haute Couture [M-beige dress]"While working [with] 3D software I was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2D screen and by the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects. I've translated those lines into textiles that create this sort of optical illusion"
"In the haute couture (and for asymmetrical designs), a full toile is created, while in pret-a-porter (and for symmetrical designs) a half toile is made (the right side of the design). Executing a designer's vision in simple muslin encourages not only greater creative freedom and experimentation, but also refinements in fit, the key to the haute couture"
3-D printed "quilted" polymide Chanel suits (A/W 2015/16)
"[This] suit is very interesting. It was 3-D printed to look like quilting, but the braiding and underlayer, which is visible through the quilting, were hand embroidered with gold paillettes... by Lesage. It's the perfect marriage of the hand and the machine.... It's the mix that is interesting. Just using one or the other is very dull."
Issye Miyake "Rhythm Pleats" (S/S 1990)
"I am always looking to the future of making things with my Reality Lab Teams. Our goals must be to find new environmentally friendly ways by which to continue the art of creation, to utilize our valuable human skills, and to make things that will be job... The combination of human skills with technology will always be at the root of any solution to the future of making clothes"
Gareth Pugh 2015-16
Tailoring & Dressmaking room