Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology explores the distinction between haute couture & prét-à-porter fashion. The exhibit boasts more than 100 pieces featuring handmade couture techniques pitted against ready to wear technologies. The clothing includes pieces with hand embroidery, pleating, & lacework alongside machine made laser cut, thermo shaping, & circular knit fabrics. The exhibit also includes workshops for attendees to view how design technologies take shape.
I have read a lot of articles, captions, tweets, & blogs that insist people didn’t follow the theme. I have to say I think they missed the point. I think the exhibit is actually about whether technology is improving the design process. Can high tech fabrics or techniques be utilized in the haute couture world without losing the integrity of the design? I think some of the most deceivingly simplistic & elegant dresses of the evening actually captured this theme better than say Taylor Swift in what can only be described as angsty teen alien.
The most noticeably “techie” gown included in my list of favorites is Zac Posen’s. Claire Danes looked like a fucking Disney princess & lit up like one too! He had ultrathin fiber optics woven into this organza confection giving Claire a fairytale glow. This style dress isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it does feel like magic.
Emma Watson still single handedly making skirts over pants happen wore a 5piece Calvin Klein ensemble. The fabric was created from recycled plastic bottles in collaboration with Eco Age. As well as being made from sustainable materials Emma’s stylist intends for the pieces to be reused separately for future red carpet events.
Karlie Kloss also opted for a multi piece look, hers being from Brandon Maxwell. Brandon prefers to make cuts while directly on the form & clean it up with machines. Its an organic way for him to feel the curves of a piece, but keep it exquisitely tailored. Fun Fact, he ended up trimming the gown into mini because of a spill!
Beyoncé wore a beautifully fitted latex Givenchy gown detailed with pearls & hand painted florals. I mean you hear (nude) latex gown & fear for an ill fitting risqué number & instead are delivered a masterpiece fit for a queen.
Michael Kors had several gowns on the carpet boasting technology based fabrics constructed with couture techniques. One of which was Emily Blunt in stunning blue lace & sequins. Her Forevermark jewelry was even selected based on the company’s standard of responsibly sourced diamonds & inscription of each stone indicating authenticity. Her sleek hair & matte makeup were even a subtle nod to the theme. Very brilliantly on point Ms. Blunt.
The best Mr. Kors offered up & the best of the evening, in my opinion, was Zendaya. The asymmetry felt young & fresh without being revealing. Her skin glowed under the bronze custom beading. The effect of her hair is a little like a helmet & I mean that in the chicest way possible. The entire product is reminiscent of the classic 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis. So if anybody got the theme right it was Zendaya.
These gowns showcase the incredible lengths craftspeople will take to execute a designer’s creative vision blurring the lines between manus & machina.