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Manus x Machina with 1968 Paco Rabanne

Posted by Cherie
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All Photos of Samantha by @kezibanbarry

 

 

Last week the highly anticipated Manus x Machina opened at The Met and was kicked off by the Met Gala. This years theme is best explained by the overview of the exhibit from The Metropolitan Museum:

The Costume Institute's spring 2016 exhibition, presented in the Museum's Robert Lehman Wing, will explore how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

With more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition will address 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 (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It will explore this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum's first floor and ground level will present a series of case studies to unravel the hand/machine conundrum. At the center will be an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making or "monuments to ideas." Emanating from this presentation will be a series of rooms based on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which will be presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking will reflect the traditional division of a maison de couture.

The exhibit is an incredible mix of traditional Haute Couture, which is made entirely by hand, combined with cutting edge techniques that incorporate amazing and often mind-boggling advancements in techniques that utilize the machine as the master. The exhibit is presented in groupings of two or three for most of the pieces shown in order to showcase this contrast. One of the groupings in the show includes a 1967 Paco Rabanne haute couture metal plate dress. I have to admit that I was especially thrilled to see that in the show because we have one of his works from one year later in the shop right now. It is really an honor to handle such an important piece of history. Very few people will be able to see a Paco couture piece outside of an exhibit like this and there are only a handful who would ever get to actually wear one.

Our version so perfectly fits the theme of the exhibit that I decided to lend the dress to Samantha Angelo and she put together this amazing shoot that you see here mixed in with pieces from the exhibit. Samantha's shoot was shot on location at Zuma in NYC by the talented photographer Keziban Barry. I think it perfectly suited the mood of the dress and was the perfect backdrop. The dress and Samantha were the perfect mix and her edgy and futuristic look for the shoot shows how infinitely fashion forward and modern the piece is despite it now being 48 years old. Samantha is now forever a part of this dress's provenance, joining Naomi Campbell and the girl lucky enough to have been the original owner.

It really is the perfect dress to showcase the theme - the discs would have been made by a combination of machine and hand  - and the dress pieces would have been assembled by hand by Mr. Rabanne himself. It has a 5 star price tag to go along with all that history and rarity, but that is to be expected. It's a once in a life time dress after all and perfect to celebrate a once in a lifetime exhibit.

 

 

 

(L) 1968 Paco Rabanne Metal Disc Dress available now at Shrimpton Couture (click to shop!)   (R) Hussein Chalayan Spring 2007 & Paco Rabanne 1967 Haute Couture (Photo: models.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(L) Christian Dior "Vilmiron" dress, spring/summer 1952 haute couture.The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1955 (C.I.55.76.20a–g) Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope 
(R) Iris van Herpen Ensemble, spring/summer 2010 haute couture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2015 (2016.16a, b). Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

 

 

 

(L) Yves Saint Laurent Evening dress, autumn/winter 1969–70 haute couture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 1983 (1983.619.1a, b) Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.
(R) Iris van Herpen Dress, autumn/winter 2013–14 haute couture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2015 (2016.14) Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

 

 

 

(L) Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel Wedding ensemble (back view), autumn/winter 2014–15 haute couture. Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection. Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.
(R) Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel Wedding ensemble, autumn/winter 2005–6 haute couture. Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection. Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(L)Raf Simons for House of Dior Ensemble, spring/summer 2015 haute couture. Courtesy of Christian Dior Haute Couture. Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.
(R) Issey Miyake for Miyake Design Studio "Flying Saucer" dress, spring/summer 1994. Courtesy of The Miyake Issey Foundation. Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

 

 

 

(L) Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel Suit, 1963–68 haute couture French. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Lyn Revson, 1975 (1975.53.7a–e) Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.
(R) Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel Ensemble, autumn/winter 2015–16 haute couture. Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection. Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

 

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