By Samantha Schiano
“…It’s the mix (hand and machine) that is interesting. Just using one or the other is very dull. Fashion is about today. What keeps the haute couture alive is to move with the times. If it stays in an ivory tower, like Sleeping Beauty in the woods, you can forget it.” -Karl Lagerfeld
Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about the latest exhibit at the Met, ManusxMachina. You have heard briefly about what it is, chose your favorites and least favorites from the Met Gala and maybe have even seen some pictures of the actual visit second hand. But upon visiting the City this past weekend, I am telling you to go see it first hand. No words can describe the kind of show Andrew Bolton, the mastermind behind Alexander Wang: Savage Beauty and last year’s exhibit, Behind the Looking Glass, has put on for the public. Extraordinary, awe-inspiring, unprecedented, exquisite are some but do not give any justice to the exhibit Bolton curated.
As a Fashion major, you can sometimes lose sight of why you want to be in this industry. However with every piece I was reminded even more of why I chose the path I am creating today. The craftsmanship is completely out of this world. It is of another planet. To see the pieces I have stalked countless hours on the internet, first hand is a experience I am grateful to have partaken in.
ManusxMachina pushes the envelope of what it means to be haute couture and prèt-à-porter. It did at a point mean handwork vs mechanized methods. Yet although dichotomy between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) still persists in characterizing the production processes of haute couture and prèt-à-porter, over the years that line has been blurred. ManusxMachina exemplifies the spectrum or continuum of the hand and machine as equals or mutuals in solving and enhancing design, as well as advancing the future of the fashion world.
So go. Buy a bus ticket to the City that dreams bigger and never stops. Pay a dollar into the Met and view the exhibit critically. Get up close. See the craftsmanship. Learn and understand visually how it was made and see the dichotomy of hand vs machine first hand. Remember why this industry is so unique and the reason why you chose this direction. Trust me, you will not regret it.