The Radical Art of Fashion: Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between at The Met

Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body, Spring-Summer 1997 (3)

Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body, Spring-Summer 1997 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, on view through September 4, examines Kawakubo’s fascination with the space between boundaries. And the reviews—both personal and professional—has been unanimously positive. It is, indeed, one of the best examples of fashion being art and art being fashion, without one diminishing the other in any way shape or form. 

White Drama, Spring-Summer 2012 (2b)

White Drama, Spring-Summer 2012. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Blood and Roses, Spring-Summer 2015 (7)

Blood and Roses, Spring-Summer 2015. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Blue Witch, Spring-Summer 2016

Blue Witch, Spring/Summer 2016. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Clustering Beauty, Spring-Summer 1998 (1)

Clustering Beauty, Spring-Summer 1998. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

18th Century Punk, Autumn-Winter 2016-17 (2)

18th Century Punk, Autumn-Winter 2016-17. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

A thematic exhibition, rather than a traditional retrospective, this is The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

Abstract Excellence, Spring-Summer 2004

Abstract Excellence, Spring-Summer 2004 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Bad Trash, Autumn-Winter 2008-2009 (3)

Bad Trash, Autumn-Winter 2008-2009 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Ballerina Motobike, Spring-Summer 2005

Ballerina Motobike, Spring-Summer 2005 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body, Spring-Summer 2017

Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body, Spring-Summer 2017 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Ceremony of Separation, Autumn-winter 2015-16 (1)

Ceremony of Separation, Autumn-winter 2015-16. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Crush, Spring-Summer 2013 (1)

Crush, Spring-Summer 2013. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Francesca Granata of The Atlantic wrote the following: 

The designer has long been alternately hailed as an innovator and demonized for creating aggressively unattractive clothing that is out-of-step with its time. From cocoon dresses with no waistline to sweaters full of holes to oddly shaped dresses, Kawakubo has been responsible for radical reconsiderations of the silhouette through experimental pattern-making, draping, knotting, and eventually the use of padding. This sense of out-of-step–ness is evident in the Costume Institute’s spring show. Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between is a cerebral exhibition, serving as a surprisingly timely reminder of the need to embrace bodily differences and vulnerabilities.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

She further went to write, “Throughout the Met show, we see an unapologetically rebellious artist undercutting prevailing mores. A few years ago, the Costume Institute presented a controversial (and poorly understood) show on punk rock in fashion. Though her designs weren’t exactly prevalent in CBGB, Kawakubo (whose garments were included in that exhibit) is in some ways the true inheritor of that mantle, her work constantly pushing back on the grandeur around her.”

Roberta Smith, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times, calls it “a magnificent, challenging show”, further adding in a rave review, “Every year, the Costume Institute makes a different case for art in fashion and for fashion as art, usually in an immersive context and with impressive results. The Kawakubo show takes this argument into radical terrain. It doesn’t focus on art within fashion as did the recent show featuring Charles James’s sinuously sculptural ball gowns, which were functioning garments. Rather, its center is a staggering panoply of mostly quasi-wearable three-dimensional forms that are a kind of hybrid, an art of “the in-between,” driven by Ms. Kawakubo’s insatiable quest for originality, or as she prefers to call it, “newness.” The result is an inspirational show that places Ms. Kawakubo at the forefront of several modernisms — in art and design, Europe and Asia — upending notions of style and gender, conflating past and present and constantly pressing forward with fresh ideas about form, process and meaning.”

Ms. Kawakubo regards her fashions and their environments as a Gesamtkunstwerk, or “total work of art.” This synthesis is reflected in the exhibition, designed as a complete expression of the Comme des Garçons “universe.” It is intended to be a holistic, immersive experience, facilitating a personal engagement with the fashions on display. A pathway is suggested by the numbers in an exhibit booklet, beginning with these red ensembles that reflect Kawakubo’s enduring preoccupation with blurring the boundaries between body and dress. Visitors are encouraged, however, to forge their own paths and experience the exhibition as a voyage of discovery.

Cubisme, Spring-Summer 2007 (4)

Cubisme, Spring-Summer 2007 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Cubisme, Spring-Summer 2007

Cubisme, Spring-Summer 2007 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Holes, Autumn-Winter 1982-83

Holes, Autumn-Winter 1982-83 (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Inside Decoration, Autumn-Winter 2010-11 (2B)

Inside Decoration, Autumn-Winter 2010-11(All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Lost Empire, Spring-Summer 2006 (3)

Lost Empire, Spring-Summer 2006. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

Not Making Clothes, Spring-Summer 2014

Not Making Clothes, Spring-Summer 2014. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017 )

The Future of Silhouette, Autumn-Winter 2017-18

The Future of Silhouette, Autumn-Winter 2017-18. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017)

The Infinity of Tailoring, autumn-Winter 2013-14 (3)

The Infinity of Tailoring, autumn-Winter 2013-14. (All Images, unless specified otherwise, courtesy of Fashion+lifestyle 2017)

The exhibition features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Objects are organized into nine dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/AntiFashion, Model/Multiple, High/Low, Then/Now, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/ Not Clothes. Continue reading

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Save The Date: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibition Dates: May 4–September 4, 2017

Member Previews: May 2–May 3, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, on view from May 4 through September 4, will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with the space between boundaries. This in-between space is revealed in Kawakubo’s work as an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, this thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Cubisme, spring/summer 2007; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Inside Decoration, autumn/winter 2010–11; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

The exhibition will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Objects will be organized into eight dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness. Her fashions demonstrate that interstices are places of meaningful connection and coexistence as well as revolutionary innovation and transformation, providing Kawakubo with endless possibilities to rethink the female body and feminine identity.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time. Continue reading

752,995 Visitors to Costume Institute’s Manus x Machina Make It the 7th Most Visited Exhibition in The Met’s History

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.

14.MxM,CaseStudy,ChanelWeddingEnsemble

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.

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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_met_logo

The exhibition is featured on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/ManusxMachina, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ManusxMachina.

The Met Extends Hours for Final Weekend of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Exhibition to Remain Open until Midnight on Friday and Saturday, September 2 and 3

Attendance Surpasses 2011’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibition, with 664,328 Visitors to Date

Exhibition Dates: May 5–September 5, 2016 (extended from August 14)

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Robert Lehman Wing

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Ensemble, Raf Simons (Belgian, born 1968) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947), spring/summer 2015 haute couture; Courtesy of Christian Dior Haute Couture Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today extended hours for the final weekend of the popular Costume Institute exhibition Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. On Friday, September 2, and Saturday, September 3, the exhibition will remain open to the public until midnight. The Museum normally closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. The exhibition will end its run on Labor Day, Monday, September 5.

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Dress, Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984), autumn/winter 2013– 14 haute couture; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2015 (2016.14) Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

The exhibition, which opened on May 5, has already been extended by three weeks-from August 14 to September 5-and has so far drawn more than 664,328 visitors, surpassing 2011’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty to become The Costume Institute‘s second most attended exhibition. Last year’s China: Through the Looking Glass, which drew 815,992 visitors, remains the department’s most popular show and The Met’s fifth most visited exhibition. The McQueen exhibition, the Museum’s ninth most popular show, drew 661,509 visitors. All three were curated by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute.

22.MxM,TailleurandFlouGalleryView

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) (Middle Left) 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

Manus x Machina explores how designers reconcile the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. It addresses the distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) as discordant tools in the creative process, and questions the changing delineation between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

14.MxM,CaseStudy,ChanelWeddingEnsemble

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).

 

During the extended hours, the Museum’s Great Hall Balcony Bar will be open until midnight as well, with appetizers, full bar service, and music by the ETHEL and Friends string quartet. The Met Store‘s exhibition shop adjacent to the galleries will also be open, featuring a range of products inspired by the exhibition, including the exhibition catalogue and an exclusive collection of fashion accessories, jewelry, and publications. The Manus x Machina galleries will be the only galleries in the Museum open to the public during the extended hours.

Costume Institute’s Spring 2016 Exhibition At Metropolitan Museum To Focus On Technology’s Impact On Fashion

Costume Institute Benefit May 2 with Co-Chairs Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour, and Honorary Chairs Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada

Exhibition Dates: May 5–August 14, 2016
Member Previews: May 3−May 4
Exhibition Locations: Robert Lehman Wing and Anna Wintour Costume Center

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition will be manus x machina: fashion in an age of technology, on view from May 5 through August 14, 2016 (preceded on May 2 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in the Museum’s Robert Lehman Wing and Anna Wintour Costume Center, the 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.

Ensemble, Sarah Burton (British, born 1974) for Alexander McQueen (British, founded 1992), fall/winter 2012–13. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

Ensemble, Sarah Burton (British, born 1974) for Alexander McQueen (British, founded 1992), fall/winter 2012–13. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Met. “It is therefore timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. Often presented as oppositional, this exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine are mutual and equal protagonists.”

manus x machina will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, dating from an 1880s Worth gown to a 2015 Chanel suit. The exhibition will reflect on the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of industrialization and mass production. It will explore the ongoing rhetoric of this dichotomy in which hand and machine are presented as discordant instruments in the creative process, and will question this oppositional relationship as well as the significance of the time-honored distinction between the haute couture and ready-to-wear.

Wedding dress, Karl Lagerfeld, (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), fall/winter 2014–15 haute couture, front view. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

Wedding dress, Karl Lagerfeld, (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), fall/winter 2014–15 haute couture, front view. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

Wedding dress, Karl Lagerfeld, (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), fall/winter 2014–15 haute couture, back view. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

Wedding dress, Karl Lagerfeld, (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), fall/winter 2014–15 haute couture, back view. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Catwalking

The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum’s first floor and court level will present a series of pairings of handmade haute couture garments and their machine-made ready-to-wear counterparts. The galleries will be arranged enfilade (an axial arrangement of doorways connecting a suite of rooms with a vista down the whole length of the suite.), with a suite of rooms reflecting the traditional structure of a couture atelier and its constituent 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, and bonding and laminating.

Evening dress, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), 1969–70; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 1983 (1983.619.1a, b) © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evening dress, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), 1969–70; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 1983 (1983.619.1a, b)
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dress, Silicon feather structure and moldings of bird heads on cotton base, Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984), fall/winter 2013–14. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

Dress, Silicon feather structure and moldings of bird heads on cotton base, Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984), fall/winter 2013–14. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

In a departure from previous exhibits, The Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries will present a series of “in process” workshops, including a 3D-printing workshop where visitors will witness the creation of 3D-printed garments during the course of the exhibition.

Coat, Paul Poiret, (French, 1879–1944), ca. 1919; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. David J. Colton, 1961 (C.I.61.40.4). © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Coat, Paul Poiret, (French, 1879–1944), ca. 1919; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. David J. Colton, 1961 (C.I.61.40.4). © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Designers in the exhibition will include Gilbert Adrian, Azzedine Alaïa, Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Cristobal Balenciaga, Boué Soeurs, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Pierre Cardin, Hussein Chalayan, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Giles Deacon, Christian Dior, Alber Elbaz (Lanvin), Mariano Fortuny, John Galliano (Christian Dior, Maison Margiela), Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton), Hubert de Givenchy, Madame Grès, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough for Proenza Schouler, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Charles James, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Helmut Lang, Mary McFadden, Issey Miyake, Miuccia Prada, Paul Poiret, Paco Rabanne, Noa Raviv, Yves Saint Laurent (Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent), Mila Schön, Raf Simons (Jil Sander, Christian Dior), Maiko Takeda, Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), threeASFOUR, Philip Treacy, Iris van Herpen, Madeleine Vionnet, Alexander Wang, Junya Watanabe, and others.

Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “manus x machina will challenge the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy, and propose a new paradigm germane to our age of digital technology.

Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, said, “Both the automated and handcrafted process require similar amounts of thoughtfulness and expertise. There are instances where technology is optimized, but ultimately it’s the amount of care put into the craftsmanship, whether it’s machine-made or hand-made, that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary.” (Apple is the main sponsor of manus x machina.)

In celebration of the exhibition opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as the Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 2, 2016. The evening’s co-chairs will be Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour. Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada will serve as Honorary Chairs. This event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.


manus x machina is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator of The Costume Institute. Shohei Shigematsu, Director of OMA New York, will lead the exhibition design in collaboration with the Met’s Design Department. Raul Avila will produce the Benefit décor, which he has done since 2007. The exhibition is made possible by Apple. Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.

A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, and will be available in early May 2016.

A special feature on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/manusxmachina, provides information about the exhibition. (Follow on Facebook.com/metmuseum,
Instagram.com/metmuseum, and Twitter.com/metmuseum to join the conversation about the exhibition and gala benefit. Use #manusxmachina, #CostumeInstitute, and #MetGala on Instagram and Twitter.)

A Changing of The Guard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Harold Koda to Step Down After Leading Met Museum’s Costume Institute for 15 Years

Andrew Bolton to Become Curator In Charge of the Department

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that Harold Koda, who has been Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute since 2000, will step down on January 8, 2016. Campbell also announced that Andrew Bolton, currently a Curator in the department, will become Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute upon Mr. Koda’s departure.

During his time at the Met, Harold has brought great change to the department, including the transfer of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection to the Museum, and the two-year renovation and reopening of its space as the Anna Wintour Costume Center last year,” said Mr. Campbell. “He has led his talented team in contributing to the field of costume in groundbreaking ways including landmark acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications.”

He continued: “I am certain that Andrew, known for his extraordinary creativity and scholarship, will carry on Harold’s tradition of curatorial excellence. His rigorous research and innovative approach to installation make him a visionary curator and a great collaborator with colleagues both within and beyond the Museum.”

Harold Koda

Since rejoining the Met in 2000, Mr. Koda’s exhibitions have included Goddess (2003), Dangerous Liaisons (2004), Poiret: King of Fashion (2007), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012), Charles James: Beyond Fashion (May 2014), and the upcoming Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style. His tenure is highlighted by the transfer of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection to the Met in January 2009 and the reopening of The Costume Institute’s space after a two-year renovation in May 2014 as the Anna Wintour Costume Center.

In his earlier tenure at the Met as Associate Curator, Koda worked closely with the late Richard Martin, then Curator in Charge, on 12 acclaimed exhibitions, including Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style (1993), Madame Grès (1994), and Christian Dior (1996). Koda has co-authored 20 books, including 12 landmark catalogues for Met exhibitions. He lectures widely and contributes scholarly articles to many publications.

Prior to rejoining the Metropolitan, Mr. Koda served as co-curator of Giorgio Armani (2000) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Mr. Koda worked for 11 years at the Edward C. Blum Design Laboratory of the Fashion Institute of Technology as Associate Curator, and Curator in the costume collection, and then as Director of the Design Laboratory, from 1979 to 1992. He was the curator of Balenciaga (1986), and worked on exhibitions including Jocks and Nerds (1989), Splash! (1990), and Halston: Absolute Modernism (1991), with Mr. Martin, and occasionally with Laura Sinderbrand. Earlier, he was an Exhibition Assistant to the Costume Institute’s Special Consultant, Diana Vreeland, working on Met exhibitions, including The Glory of Russian Costume (1976) and Vanity Fair (1977).

Born in Honolulu, he graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.A., and a B.F.A. in Art History. He also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and received his Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University in 2000.

Mr. Koda received special awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1986 and 1997, the Costume Society of America Richard Martin Award for Poiret: King of Fashion in 2007, and the Fashion Group International Oracle Award in 2009.

Andrew Bolton

Andrew Bolton joined The Costume Institute in 2002, as Associate Curator, and was named Curator in 2006. He has worked closely with Harold Koda and independently, on exhibitions including Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century (2004), Chanel (2005), AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (2006), Poiret: King of Fashion (2007), Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (2008), American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity (2010), Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012), Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013), and China: Through the Looking Glass (2015).

The China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition, curated by Mr. Bolton, closed on Monday after attracting 815,992 visitors, surpassing The Costume Institute’s prior most popular show on Alexander McQueen, which drew which attracted 661,509 visitors. Both exhibitions are among the Museum’s top ten most visited, with China at number five, and Alexander McQueen at number nine.

Mr. Bolton has authored and co-authored more than 12 books, lectures widely, and contributes scholarly articles to many publications.

Prior to joining the Metropolitan, Mr. Bolton worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for nine years, as Senior Research Fellow in Contemporary Fashion, and prior to that as Curatorial Assistant in the Far Eastern Department. During this period, he also curated exhibitions at the London College of Fashion.

Born in Great Britain, he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Non-Western Art from the University of East Anglia. In 2007, he became a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts in London. He has received several awards, including the 2015 Vilcek Prize in Fashion, the Best Design Show from the International Association of Art Critics for Poiret (with Harold Koda) and for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. For the Superheroes catalogue, he received the AIGA Design Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award, both in 2009.

The Costume Institute

The Costume Institute’s collection of more than 35,000 costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the 15th century to the present. It combines the department’s holdings with the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, and constitutes the single largest and most comprehensive costume collection in the world, offering an unrivaled timeline of Western fashion history.

The Costume Institute began as the Museum of Costume Art, an independent entity formed in 1937 and led by Neighborhood Playhouse founder Irene Lewisohn. In 1946, with the financial support of the fashion industry, the Museum of Costume Art merged with The Metropolitan Museum of Art as The Costume Institute, and in 1959 became a curatorial department. The legendary fashion arbiter Diana Vreeland, who served as special consultant from 1972 until her death in 1989, created a memorable suite of exhibitions, including The World of Balenciaga (1973), The Glory of Russian Costume (1976), and Vanity Fair (1977), galvanizing audiences and setting the standard for costume exhibitions globally.

In 1989, Richard Martin took the helm, with the support of Harold Koda (now Curator in Charge), and began a rotating cycle of thematic exhibitions. Martin’s tenure culminated in Rock Style, the last exhibition before his death in 1999.

The redesigned Costume Institute space opened on May 8, 2014, after a two-year renovation as the Anna Wintour Costume Center with the exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion. The complex includes the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery, the main showcase space with a flexible design that lends itself to frequent transformation with the latest video, sound, and wireless technology. The Center also includes the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery to orient visitors to The Costume Institute’s exhibitions and holdings. Behind the scenes is a state-of-the-art costume conservation laboratory; an expanded study/storage facility to house the combined holdings of the Met and the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection; and The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, one of the world’s foremost fashion libraries.

815,992 Visitors to Costume Institute’s China Exhibition Make It Fifth Most Visited Exhibition in Metropolitan Museum’s History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, which closed yesterday, attracted 815,992 visitors during its run from May 7 to September 7, putting it in fifth place among the Museum’s most visited exhibitions. Joining blockbusters such as Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978), Mona Lisa (1963), and Painters in Paris (2000), the popular show exceeded the number of visitors to The Costume Institute‘s prior most popular exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which was the Met’s eighth most visited exhibition, with 661,509 visitors.

The exhibition explored the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion was juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.

The exhibition, which was originally set to close on August 16, was extended by three weeks, and then hours were added on September 4 and 5, when it stayed open until midnight, three hours past the Museum’s usual 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night closing time.

The exhibition, curated by Andrew Bolton, was a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. Wong Kar Wai was artistic director and Nathan Crowley served as production designer.

Encompassing approximately 30,000 square feet in 16 separate galleries in the Museum’s Chinese and Egyptian Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, it was The Costume Institute‘s largest special exhibition ever, and also one of the Museum’s largest. With gallery space three times the size of a typical Costume Institute spring show, China accommodated the high numbers of visitors without lines.

We are thrilled that so many visitors from around the world experienced this exploration of the impact of Chinese art on Western fashion,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The exhibition is one of the most ambitious the Museum has ever mounted, requiring an extraordinary collaboration across departments with unprecedented results. There are certain projects that only the Met can do, and this was certainly one of them.”

The exhibition was made possible by Yahoo. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast and several Chinese donors. The exhibition is featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ChinaLookingGlass and #AsianArt100.