Have you ever gone to an art exhibit and left wild-eyed and amazed? I had just that reaction at the Metropolitan museum in New York City recently. The show was Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.
This show included more than 170 examples of haute-couture and avant-garde ready to wear from the 20th century to the present. It was an intriguing exploration of the ways in which designers are reconciling handmade and machine-made in their creations.
This first dress has insets of silver-blue silk and metal lame with machine-picot edging. The hand appliqued white silk tulle and silk ribbon flowers just sing to me. It is French made in 1928.
In fact this picture was what enticed me to see the show in person. I have taken a few classes from ribbon artist Candace Kling to learn how to make those large roses. I have lots more practice to even get close to these beauties.
Here is a detail of a Christian Dior dress from 1953. It is hand embroidered on silk organza using what looks like silk thread in green for the clover and grasses. As I looked closely I see the purple and pink flowers in silk floss are the bullion knot. I can do that stitch but it is masterful here.
As I wandered thru all the displays of masterful stitching I see something completely different. It is almost a piece of sculpture all on it’s own. This is a 3D pleated piece made of white polyamide.
Polyamide is a type of synthetic fabric that contains sweat-wicking and water-repelling properties that make it an ideal material for outerwear and sports clothing. For this use the strength and flexibility of this fiber shines in the machine pleating and manulipuation of the fabric.
This last dress definitely has a look of hours spent creating it. From the Alexander McQueen collection designed by Sarah Burton. It is hand and machine sewn nude silk organdy with hand embroidered red orange glass beads, freshwater pearls, pieces of coral and dyed shells.
I took so many pictures from this show, it really was one of the best I have seen in a long while. I can see using several of these techniques but to see the attention to detail and use of new methods and technology has my mind swimming with possibilities. I left with a smile on my face that will last for years. What a way to get energized!