press release

The Costume Institute's spring 2016 exhibition will explore the impact of new technology on fashion, and how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. The exhibition will propose a new view in which the hand (manus) and the machine (machina), often presented as oppositional, are equal protagonists.

With more than one hundred ensembles, dating from an 1880s Worth gown to a 2015 Chanel suit, manus x machina will look into the founding of the haute couture in the nineteenth century, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand and machine at the onset of industrialization and mass production. It will reexamine the dichotomy in which the hand and the machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question the significance of the time-honored distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum's first floor and court level will present pairings of handmade haute couture garments with their machine-made ready-to-wear counterparts. A suite of rooms will reflect the traditional structure of a couture atelier and its petites mains workshops for embroidery, feathers, pleating, knitting, lacework, leatherwork, braiding, and fringe work. These will be contrasted with ensembles incorporating new technologies including 3D printing, laser cutting, thermo shaping, computer modeling, circular knitting, ultrasonic welding, bonding, and laminating. The Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries will contain a series of "in-process" workshops, where visitors will see the creation of 3D-printed garments over the course of the exhibition.

The exhibition is made possible by Apple.

Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.