Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

There is a long-standing debate among the fine art community and the fashion industry as to whether or not fashion is considered art? As a former student and graduate of two prestigious fashion, art, and design institutions, I believe that fashion is art.

The traditionalist’s classification of what is considered fine art, fashion falls into two categories. Applied arts and crafts and crafts with the emphasis on “crafts.”

For example, if the aesthetic value of the piece is for observation only then it is considered a work of art. However, if that same piece is aesthetically appealing and provides a utilitarian function, it falls under the “craft” category.

Processed with MOLDIV

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition, entitled, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology opened to the public in spring. The installation features more than 170 outfits, beginning with examples from the early 20th century leading up to present day.

The exhibit examines the intersection between traditional hand techniques of Haute Couture and the mechanical processes of Prêt-à-Porter designs.
The word “Manus” describes the hand, which in this context, represents the draping and manipulation of the fabric of the garment. In contrast, the word “Machina,” symbolizes the construction of the garment as well as the technologies used during the development process.
The construction and architectural layout of the rooms created a three-dimensional frame to showcase the garments. Using sheer white fabric, created the illusion of sheer walls and ceilings. The intended effect resembled a cathedral.

The high visual appeal of the entire show was apparent from the conceptual design and landscape to the types of garments present throughout the exhibition.

Should fashion be considered art? I think so, but that’s for the audience to decide.

And so the debate continues…

Until next time!