The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, which closed yesterday, attracted 752,995 visitors during its run from May 5 to September 5, putting it in seventh place among the Museum’s most visited exhibitions, joining blockbusters such as Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978), Mona Lisa (1963), and Painters in Paris, 1895-1950 (2000). The show also becomes the second most visited Costume Institute exhibition, surpassing Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which had 661,509 visitors. China: Through the Looking Glass (2015) remains the department’s most popular show with 815,992 visitors and The Met’s fifth most visited. All three exhibitions were curated by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute.
House of Chanel (French, founded 1913) Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) Wedding Ensemble Autumn/winter 2014–15, haute couture Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection. This ensemble, which Lagerfeld has described as “haute couture without the couture,” exemplifies the confluence of the hand (manus) and the machine (machina). Made from scuba knit, a synthetic material, the dress is hand molded, machine sewn, and hand finished. Maison Desrues (founded 1929) hand embroidered the buttons with gold, glass, and crystals, and Atelier Montex (founded 1939) hand embroidered the medallion with glass, crystals, paillettes, anthracite cannetilles, and gold leather leaf motifs. The train of scuba knit and silk satin is machine sewn and hand finished. Lagerfeld’s hand-drawn design was digitally manipulated to give it the appearance of a randomized, pixelated baroque pattern and then realized through a complex amalgam of hand and machine techniques. Atelier Lunas (founded 1993) used a heat press to transfer the rhinestones; Atelier Anne Gelbard (founded 1997) painted the gold metallic pigment by hand; and the pearls and gemstones were hand embroidered by Cécile Henri Atelier (founded 1982).
Manus x Machina explored how designers reconcile the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. It addressed the distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) as discordant tools in the creative process, and questioned the changing delineation between the haute couture and ready-to-wear.
Lower Level Gallery View: Tailleur and Flou © The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Far Left) House of CHANEL (French, founded 1913) Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883–1971) Suit 1963–68, haute couture Machine-sewn ivory wool bouclé tweed, hand-applied navy and ivory wool knit trim handbraided with interlocking chain stitch Gift of Mrs. Lyn Revson, 1975 (1975.53.7a–e) (Next) House of CHANEL (French, founded 1913) Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) Suit Autumn/winter 2015–16, haute couture 3-D-printed (selective laser sintering) “quilted” polyamide by Materialise, hand-painted with blue, gold, and silver trompe l’oeil tweed pattern, hand-embroidered with braided white, blue, and gold wool, silk, and metal trim, and gold metal buttons with pearls Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection (Middle Right) House of CHANEL (French, founded 1913) Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) Ensemble Autumn/winter 2015–16, haute couture 3-D-printed (selective laser sintering) white polyamide overlay by Materialise, with handstitched clear crystals, lining of black silk crepe de chine hand-embroidered by Lesage with gold synthetic sequins Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection (Far Right) House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937) Cristóbal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972) Suit Winter 1964, haute couture Machine-sewn black silk synthetic gauze and Lurex matelassé Courtesy Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria, Spain
“We are thrilled that so many people from around the world experienced this exploration of the artistry of fashion,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met. “The exhibition required the transformation of the Robert Lehman Wing into a domed cathedral-like space that invited people to slow down and contemplate the process and craft of the objects.”
The exhibition, originally set to close on August 14, was extended by three weeks, and hours were added on September 2 and 3, when it stayed open until midnight, three hours past the usual 9:00 p.m. closing time on Friday and Saturday nights.
The exhibition was made possible by Apple. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast.
The exhibition is featured on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/ManusxMachina, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ManusxMachina.