The 2016 Met Gala: MANUS x MACHINA; The Age of Technology


It all commenced back in the spring of 1973 under the helm of the iconic Diana Vreeland. The Metropolitan Museum of Art held its first gala titled “The World of Balenciaga” featuring the innovative pieces, and memorable achievements of Cristobal Balenciaga.


After Balenciaga, came the newly renovated Costume Institute’s inaugural exhibition, “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” curated by Harold Koda, and Jan Glier Reeder. After that came the reign of the brilliant Andrew Bolton, a British museum curator who’s virtuosity brought us “Alexander McQueen’s:Savage Beauty”, then the infamous “China:Through the Looking Glass” where Rihanna caught everyone’s attention with her Gue Pei couture ensemble that took around two years to make.

Andrew Bolton poses next to the pieces exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Photo Courtesy: Vogue

This year, Andrew Bolton presented us with a new theme, a new exhibit, titled “ManusxMachina: The Age of Technology” (Hand x Machine). The exhibit addresses the founding elements of haute couture in the 19th century, and how it develops throughout the 20th century. As it progresses, the exhibit portrays how there seems to be a clear distinction between the use of machinery vs. the use of hand stitching, and how designers manipulate and transform the fabric into various magnitudes, designs, and so on…


The exhibit features over 170 ensembles from various designers dating from the early 19th century to the present time. Placed in The Robert Lehman Wing, the gala will present a series of case studies to portray the relationship between the theory of Manus (Hand), and the Machina (Machine).


From toiles, and prototypes, to completed couture ensembles that display the various forms of fabric; printed 3D leathers, couture stitches, and laser cutting – it’s quite a contradicting preview that emanates the relationship between the manus and machine.


Photo by Daniel Arnold


Other than the efforts put into the elaborately reformed exhibit, let’s not forget about the life and people that it brings with it – a.k.a the celebrities and the red carpet.



Celebrities usually come dressed as per the gala’s theme; sometimes it’s a technical hit, and sometimes it’s a loose thread in an unfinished hem (Get the reference?). Now I’m no critic – So I won’t I stress over the fact of who dressed the best, or the worst. However, in an overall look, the only thing I’d state is that most celebrities should be thankful that Joan Rivers from E!’s Fashion Police is dead… I can honestly imagine her shaking from her grave; she would’ve shredded them.

Although that, I’d just like to stress on the fact of how Willow, and Jaden Smith, Emma Watson, Claire Danes, Jordan Dunn, and Kate Hudson killed it on the red carpet.


"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals


They were all dressed in garments that reflected on both aspects of the theme, I mean while the Smith kids stuck to custom made Chanel looks that represented manus, Jordan Dunn portrayed machina in a mixed, technical form, embellished dress by Balmain… Not to mention how Emma Watson’s ensemble consisted of a dress made of different elements that were created using sustainable materials.

The exhibit ManusxMachina:The Age of Technology will be up at the Metropolitan Museum of art until the 14th of August 2016 – so if you happen to be in New York City, be sure to attend and view it.

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