culture Art & Lifestyle

Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Chanel F/W 05/06 Haute Couture

It was only hours before the big event as I strolled the hallowed galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the First Monday in May, imagining what it would be like later, when the cavernous space would be littered with fashion and entertainment royalty enjoying the Met’s sumptuous annual Costume Institute Gala, I knew just how privileged I was to be attending. My Calvin Klein day-to-evening ensemble was working double-duty that night and I knew that all across New York, glamourous people of every persuasion were scampering to get ready.

In contrast, I had gotten ready early and was enjoying the relaxed and hushed atmosphere of this relatively empty cultural temple. I lurked around in my oh-so-chic Calvin Klein daytime ensemble seemingly alone pretending to be pondering deep matters. But everywhere, my reveries were interrupted by the sharp click of the damn paparazzi cameras, begging me to stop and pose effortlessly for them.

At the ball itself, curator of the exhibition, Andrew Bolton was gracious enough to personally take the time to explain to me about new technological developments in fashion, which was this year’s theme. Everywhere they kept harping about technology and couture in couture but as one supermodel glided by, followed by a major screen goddess, as I lost my train of thought completely.

The highlight of the exhibition was the Chanel wedding gown, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the Kaiser himself, With a wave of his withered hand, he does away with the notion that only handsewn gowns offer superior quality.This ball gown-style dress truly utilized high-tech techniques, but does not compromise the hauteur that a Chanel wedding dress dictates. The monumental candlelight-colored silk confection relied on its massive silhouette and monotone palette to make the real statement, but it was the breathtaking 3D printing of the gold embroidered cape that accompanied it that was so breathtaking.

Honored guests are brought in by the museum to share their views on how fashion is increasingly dependent on new technology. One speaker, the elegant creature in the lasercut Christopher Kane dress was Wendi Murdoch, a familiar supporter of the Costume Institute exhibition. She shared with us her insight about fashion and technology. When asked what was currently the biggest innovation, she spun around saying, “I’m wearing it. Laser cutting.”

And there you have it, from the inside of the Met Gala 2016.

Photo Gallery Photo Gallery
View Change
View Change
Photography by: Nicholas Alan Cope - www.metmuseum.org