Manus x Machina at The Met

It's no secret that I've been interested in style for as long as I can remember. But I've never before had the opportunity to experience the palpable presence of haute couture.

It took my breath away.

I'd read an article on the Manus x Machina exhibition at The Met in New York City early in the spring of 2016, and had been trying to work out a way to attend. While it's not all that far from DC to NYC, it requires an overnight trip and a supportive husband willing to be a single dad for a weekend. It finally came together in early August and it was worth every single penny I spent.

The premise of the exhibition is how designers are using both hand and machine techniques together in couture fabrication. What it really was, for me at least, was an opportunity to marvel at the sheer genius that conceived these garments; and the exquisite craftsmanship, both hand and machine, that brought them into being. Seeing at close hand the artistry that goes into every couture piece was awe inspiring.

Art is a very big word for couture. It's a metier like any other, but a poetic metier.     Yves Saint Laurent
Drinking Straw Dress
Drinking Straw Dress



I overheard a conversation between two other museum patrons that had me shaking my head. I can't quite remember which particular frock he was referring to, let's, just say it was this fantastical creation made from black plastic drinking straws, but he was commenting to his companion on how you couldn't possibly wear such a thing.

Couldn't he see?

Wearing this piece wasn't the point.



I don't own any couture. Well actually, I don't even own any designer pieces. And I've often wondered at the appeal of a label because I don't think it has anything to do with style. But I've always known that couture was a rarified beast. And I wasn't disappointed; Manus x Machina overwhelmingly confirmed it.

So here I am, back in DC, and back to the simpler, but no less guilty, pleasure found in the September issue of Vogue. But I will be forever grateful that I was able to visit this magical world, for a couple of hours anyway.

700 hours of hand work in Lagerfeld's wedding gown (Autumn/winter 2005/2006)
700 hours of hand work in Lagerfeld's wedding gown (Autumn/winter 2005/2006)