now that the twinkle dust of this year's met gala has settled, it's a perfect time to take in the splendour of manus x machina – fashion in an age of technology, the party's theme and eponymous flagship exhibition of the metropolitan museum of art's costume institute. the show sheds a light on how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, and presents more than 170, often exceptional ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present. it addresses 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, or manus, and the machine, or machina, at the onset of mass production, and explores this ongoing dichotomy.
held on the museum's ground and first floors, the show features a beautifully designed scenography by shohei shigematsu of acclaimed architecture practice oma. very much a structure within a structure, it's inserted into the existing corridors and crafted from white scrims. a raised platform built across the double height atrium provides continuous circulation. the scenography accommodates a series of case studies in which haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles are decoded to reveal their hand/machine dna. the centerpiecs is a 2014 haute couture wedding dress by chanel with a 20-foot train, placed in a central cocoon with details of its embroidery projected onto the domed ceiling [on through aug 14]. location: metropolitan museum of art, 1000 fifth avenue [upper east north].