No industry is immune to the changes that come with technology—not even fashion. But as an upcoming exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute shows, that might be a good thing. The exhibit, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, will feature over 120 ensembles, showcasing the dynamic between handcrafted and machine-made work in the ever-evolving fashion world.

Apple is sponsoring the show, and as Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute, told Engadget, it's a perfect thematic fit: “Apple is really about craft, which is what the show’s about. Of course it's about technology, but it’s all about how the hand and the machine are coming together; the idea of craftsmanship, and how craftsmanship plays a role within the creative process at Apple. So in many ways, philosophically, they're the perfect partner for the exhibition.” 

Manus x Machina was inspired by the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis, which Bolton described as a “dialectical treatise between the hand and the machine.” The ensembles in the exhibition range from a gown made in the 1880s to a 2015 Chanel wedding dress made out of scuba knit, complete with an embroidered train made by both human and machine hands. Some featured works were made using traditional techniques like featherwork and pleating, while others are the result of more cutting-edge methods like 3D printing, computer modeling, and ultrasonic welding.

The show opens on May 5 and will remain on display at The Costume Institute through August 14. Check out the preview below, and head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website for more information.


Wedding ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel 
(French, founded 1913), autumn/winter 2014–15 haute couture, back view; Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Suit, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883– 1971), 1963–68 haute couture; The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Lyn Revson, 1975 (1975.53.7a–e)

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Ensemble, Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984), spring/summer 2010 haute couture; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2015 (2016.16a, b)
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, 
founded 1913), autumn/winter 2015–2016 haute couture; Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope



Evening dress, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), autumn/winter 1969–70 haute couture; The Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, Gift of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 1983 (1983.619.1a, b)
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope


“Kaikoku” Floating Dress, Hussein Chalayan (British, born Cyprus, 1970), autumn/winter 2011–12;
Courtesy of Swarovski
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), autumn/ winter 2005–6 haute couture; Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

[h/t Dezeen]