I couldn’t think of a better way to start the First Monday in May than going to the glamorous preview Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition, ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology,’ and to join Anna Wintour, curator Andrew Bolton, and Jonathan Ive, representing Apple, which sponsors this remarkable show in the opening of what will be turned into a true blockbuster. This time, the exhibit takes over the entire Robert Lehman Wing, which is among my favorite spots at the Met. While I have to admit that the theme this year is not as complex, intriguing, and present as in previous years, and that you can walk through the entire show without a particular didactic outcome, the exhibit is exquisite. More than 150 garments, ranging from the early 20th century through the present, come to illustrate the various techniques utilized in fashion, from handcrafted methods, to laser-cutting, computer modeling, and 3D printing, from hand (manus) to Machine (machina). We learn that every costume has been made not in one method, but through a combination of hand and machine, and that designers in both the haute couture and prêt-à-porter arenas seldom discriminate against one or the other in their design process. The show illustrates the history of fashion through the most stunning and iconic examples created throughout history.
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