The Metropolitan Museum of Art today opened its “Manus x Machina” Costume Institute Exhibition, which is being sponsored by Apple. The show focuses on the dichotomy between handmade haute couture and machine-made fashion, featuring pieces that juxtapose traditional hand techniques like embroidery, pleating, and lacework with technologies like laser cutting and thermo shaping.
Apple Design Chief Jony Ive, who is serving as co-chair alongside pop star Taylor Swift and actor Idris Elba, was on hand at the opening and gave an introductory speech, a portion of which was captured on social networking site Periscope.
We are thrilled at Apple to help bring to life Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. When Anna and Andrew first talked to me about the exhibition, I was particularly intrigued that it would stimulate a conversation exploring the relationship between what is made by man and what is made by machine. That it would challenge the preconception held by some that the former is somehow inherently more valuable. Not only in the context of today, but also the future.
The Chanel dress that Tom mentioned, which was Andrew’s inspiration for the exhibition is a wonderful example of artisan like craft executed with the deepest consideration yet enabled with the very latest technology. The most breakthroughs in craft were once, of course, perceived as truly innovative. Often shockingly so. Once even the simple metal needle challenged the conventional thinking of the time. Now I’m humbled by the innovations of the past in the same way that I am humbled by the work that we can see here today.
It’s easy to think a craft can’t change, but important to remember all craft process was at some point new. At some point, challenged convention. Not to be contrarian, but enabled by some breakthrough. Some newly discovered principle or sometimes some wonderful accident.
The opening of the Costume Institute Exhibition comes ahead of the 2016 MET Gala, a fund raising event that draws hundreds of celebrities. The MET Gala will take place tonight, and along with Jony Ive, Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to attend, sitting alongside fashion icon and honorary MET Gala chair Anna Wintour.
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