Explore fashion in an age of technology is the mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (a.k.a. the MET) for this years annual fundraising exhibition.
Each year the theme is different. This year the Met has chose to explore how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.
Dating all the way back from the 19th century there are over 170 items of haute couture made both by hand (manus) and of a machine (machine). Learn how the craftmanship developed over time: when the sewing machine was invented, and when outsourcing and mass production became a reality. The dualism, and at the same time, collaboration between the two are very intriguing. It raises many questions about quality, about culture and it adresses the distinction between ready-to-wear and haute couture. How can the two be combined? Well, the characteristic haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld gives us a great example of just that. The 20-foot long train hand-painted with gold metallic pigment, but machine-printed with rhinestones, and again hand-embroidered with pearls and gemstones answers that question.
The Met hosts an annual gala called the Costume Institute Gala, better known as: The Met Gala, or the Met Ball. It is a fundraising event to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s and the Costume Institute in New York City, and it marks the institutes annual fashion exhibition. Prominent guests and Hollywood starlets are invited for an evening of fun. The fun being mostly about how the guests choose to interpret the theme in their outfits.
The Met Gala is widely regarded as one of the most exclusive social events in New York. 2013 was one of the biggest fundraising nights in the city. $9 million was raised and the following year another record was set by $12 million raised: It is one of the most notable sources of funding for the Institute. The Met Gala has been held since 1946 and has even exceeded the Oscars in “star power”. A ticket cost $25.000 and the exclusive guest list encloses only 600 – 700 people.
The Met Gala is one of the biggest dress events to keep an eye on – if you are just as big a dress and couture nerd as I am.
Check out the Met Gala themes over the years here