On my last day in NYC I had the great honor of attending the press preview for MANUS X MACHINA: Fashion in an Age of Technology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was invited to this event by my dear friends Jean And Valerie of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. Read their beautifully written and knowledgeable review of the exhibit HERE.
In the photo above, which was taken by Jill Krementz of the New York Social Diary HERE, (left to right) Jean wears a straw hat designed by Ignatius from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Craft Show, Valerie wears a pale green straw boater from Printemps in Paris, and I’m wearing a gifted vintage red velvet and satin turban by Schiaparelli.
The exhibition overview HERE states that “the exhibit will explore how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. The show is divided into rooms which display more than 170 ensembles from the early 20th century to the present, incorporating embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework and leather work.”
The show opens with a Chanel bridal gown. The train in the photo above, which is covered with Swarovski crystals, marks the beginning of this ravishing exhibit.
The front of the gown is dramatic, yet understated. To the left, Carl Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, speaks with the press.
The following photos are a few of the ensembles that I photographed during the preview. It was difficult to narrow down my choices, because there was beauty everywhere. It was impossible to capture every piece that “spoke to me” in this breathtaking show. The exhibit descriptions are below each photo.
Boue Soeurs, 1928
Hand-sewn ivory silk tulle, machine-embroidered with couched silver cord in a foliate and vermicelli pattern; inserts of silver-blue silk and metal lame with machine-picot edging; hand-appliqued with hand-embroidered white silk tulle with artificial flowers in pink, purple, green, yellow, and blue silk ribbon and floss.
Saint Laurent, 1999
Bridal wreath, bracelet, and anklet: handmade pink and gold silk flowers and leaves; train: machine-sewn pink silk bazar.
Christian Dior, 1952 (left)
Machine-sewn, hand-finished white silk organza, hand-embroidered with artificial flowers in green, pink, yellow, and white silk floss, hand-painted cotton, silk twist.
Christian Dior, 1953 (right)
Machine-sewn, hand-finished white silk organza and net, hand-embroidered with artificial flowers, clover, and grass in green, pink, and purple silk floss.
Cristobal Balenciaga, 1965
Machine-sewn, hand-finished pink silk net and pink silk Rachelle knit trimmed with hand-glued pink ostrich feathers.
Chanel (Karl Lagerfeld) – 2005
This wedding ensemble was made by hand from start to finish. The artificial flowers, embroidery, and feather work together required seven hundred hours of handwork.
Alexander McQueen, 2012
Machine-sewn white silk organza, hand-sewn to nude silk mesh; hand-embroidered with silver beads, clear crystals, and silver plastic feather-shaped paillettes; hand-applique of silver silk and metallic hand=shredded petals, hand embroidered with silver beads, clear crystals, and silver plastic feather-shaped paillettes.
Gareth Pugh, 2015
Machine-sewn black silk-wool gazar with overlay of black mesh, hand-embroidered with black plastic drinking straws.
Maiko Takeda, 2013
Hand-cut transparent green, blue, and purple-ombre acetate fringe, hand-woven with machine-cut clear acrylic squares, hand-assembled with silver metal jump rings.
Proenza Schouler (Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough), 2015 (left)
Machine-sewn black silk chiffon, hand-embroidered with silver plastic paillettes.
Iris van Herpen, 2013 (right)
Machine-sewn black cotton twill, hand-painted with gray and purple polyurethane resin and iron filings, hand-sculpted with magnets.
Thierry Mugler, 1990
Machine-sewn black silk velvet, hand-embroidered with optical fluorescent stripes.
Issey Miyake, 1990
Machine-garment-pleated, machine-sewn yellow and red-purple polyester-linen plain weave.
Issey Miyake, 1993
Machine-sewn polyester plain weave, machine-garment-pleated in paper.
During the press preview we were sitting two rows behind designer Mary McFadden, and I was in awe of the back of her coat, beret and scarf.
I was captivated by this woman’s Comme des Garcons jacket with 3-D roses and coordinating cell phone.
Jean and Valerie’s friend David Noh, writer for the Gay City News, strikes a pose after the preview.
It was inspiring to see another red hat in the crowd!
The press preview was a thrilling experience for me. Jean and Valerie always generously introduce me to a New York adventure that fills me with wonder. The colorful and talented artist Sue Kritzman HERE said it best on Instagram! “The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas HERE make New York City a better place.” I couldn’t agree more!