Friday, May 6, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on yet another rainy day.

It's a perfect time to put together this post filled with photographs of the fabulous Manus x Machina exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I was glad that the museum was allowing us to take photographs.  I just set my camera on non-flash automatic and took a chance on what I might be able to capture.

This is a long post, and I am going to number the pictures in case you all might have comments or questions about particular views.

The above photograph shows the setting of the dramatic Chanel wedding dress that appeared on the preview invitation.  Rather eye catching, wouldn't you say?


The exhibit showed both contemporary fashion and garments dating from the early 20th century.  Some were made by hand, some involved lots of technology in the creation of the materials and construction techniques.  

The above clothes are from the design team Proenza Schouler.  A couple of years ago, I helped select an outfit for the mother of one of the designers to wear to the PS runway show.  It was from a very different design team and amused me.


Because of the crowd, the dim lighting and the placement of the identifying labels, it was not always easy for me to know the source of the clothes.  I expect to revisit the exhibit several times, and would be happy to do some research if any of you are curious about a specific picture.


What a frothy pink souffle enhanced the pink dress pictured above!


This dress with the embroidery and spangly green daisies is a Marc Jacobs design.


I took several pictures of this cloak to show the hand work involved in making all those little circles.  I have made these myself; they are called Suffolk puffs.


Here's a close up.  I would have loved to see the inside, too.


More flowers, with a train.  This was a wedding dress.


Now this golden carapace is called the Floating Dress.  One enters it via a back door, and steps on to a wheeled platform.  Movement is made possible by remote control.  There are several little videos displaying floating, dressing and undressing.


I wish that I could have gotten closer to this duo to give a better idea of the workmanship.


This enticing modern black outfit can be folded into...




Here's another contemporary confection.  It's much easier to see the details on the lighter colored garments.


Many Japanese designers are represented in the exhibit.


I do wonder if anyone actually wore the above two designs.  They are very high concept!


Some of the celebrities who attended the gala party celebration on the eve of the exhibition's opening wore dresses that seemed to take inspiration from the above dress.


There is a display of a selection of beautiful Fortuny pleated silk dresses.  This one has straps made from Venetian glass beads.


Issey Miyake handles pleats in a different way.


The above garment at rest.


Here's another example of pleats extended, 


and half-way to a flat pack.


Each of the above garments featured cloth mimicking a paper pattern  Very clever and subtle.


All of the draping in the above outfit was held together with hand stitching, indicating a meeting of old and new techniques.


Here is another approach to draping.  Two views of the same dress.


Another example.


This dress might be hiding a very simple silhouette underneath the decorations.


As does this dress.


I took two pictures of this dress so that you all would be able to see the embellishments more clearly.


I am trying to imagine the hours spent on these flowers.


I think that the translucent materials in the above design might also have interior design potential.


Now, this antique Irish dress was crocheted from very fine cotton yarn.


Just think about it!


I think the label said it was a wedding gown.


Perhaps this orangy-red dress would be perfect for Valentine's Day?


The leather cut work on the above lapels was done by hand.  Yes.  Nowadays lasers can handle this demand, but it still requires much skill.


More details.  I cannot remember is the display created the stand-away over skirt to emphasize the design or whether the silhouette was the designer's intention.


More precision cutting.  I wonder about its fragility!


This last photograph from the exhibit of the intricate black garment does not indicate the beauty of the design.  I urge any of you all who will be in New York this spring and summer to come and see it for yourselves.


 After leaving the exhibit and walking towards the cloakroom where I had checked my umbrella, I passed through the Greek and Roman galleries and saw some impressive carving that might still be inspiring fashion designers today.


It's been a pleasure to give you all a bit of a taste of Manue x Machina.  I found the show quite thought provoking and entertaining at the same time.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I very much enjoy sharing my city views with you.


  1. Now that is a show I would love to see. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with us Frances.
    Hugs from The UK-x-

    1. Sheila, it's truly an excellent show...and will run until mid-August. Come and see it! xo

  2. I love Issey Miyake and the examples in the exhibition are very much his signature designs. I like the way his clothes flow like tubes around the body! There are many fine things in your photographs. I particularly also like Number 23, the drapery and the cut. Thank you Frances for sharing all this with us.

    1. Issey Miyake's designs have been fabulous and ground breaking for so many years. There are more examples of his work in this exhibit. I think that Number 23 is from Comme des Garcons, but will have to check. I still remember an excellent exhibit of Ms Kawakubo's designs at FIT many years ago.
      My photographs only show a portion of the Met exhibit. xo

  3. How I would love to come to New York to see this exhibition.... Maybe it will transfer to the V & A in the future. Lovely photographs!

    1. Gina, I know that you would absolutely love this show. My pictures only convey a small part of the exhibit. Yes, let's hope it does travel, like the McQueen show. xo

  4. Photo # 32 is remarkable the sewing looks
    just like the "old growth Forrest" in Oregon.
    Looks like a swell show , Thanks.

    Mike Of Kitt & Mike

    1. Mike, I can see what you mean about the texture of picture 32. It's actually incredibly complex three-dimensional Irish crocheting. I cannot possibly guess how many months went into creating that dress.
      The show is filled with wonders, but this one really stars! xo

  5. Golly, they are more like works of wart - I love the floating dress, as a 'thing' in itself! There is a lingerie exhibition on at the V&A and they have banned cameras and even sketchbooks! Because they want to keep a through flow of people without 'blockages' - - seems a bit draconian to me, I'm glad you were able to take so many delightful pictures,

    1. Gretel, I wish that you could see the little video that showed how the floating dress worked.
      In most Met special exhibits that include loans from other sources, photography/sketching is forbidden, since the Met cannot pass along permission for what it doesn't own. It was great for this show to have a more laissez-faire approach.
      (Even with the crowds, I think you would also have enjoyed seeing the show...there was so much creativity on display. xo

  6. Oh Frances, how you must have enjoyed this show. It must be the hottest ticket in NYC. Thank you for showing some of it. I can't imagine seeing them close up.

    1. Donna, I would love to visit this exhibit with you. There is so much variety in the items on display, and they are grouped in interesting ways. Pleating as a category, or drapery, or embellishment. Quite thought provoking.

  7. What a great show! I really enjoyed looking at all these dresses – some quite modern. Our eldest daughter is getting married in July in California. She said “casual dress for wedding” (she said the temperature will be 100 F +) – I am not sure what that is. I’d like to have a dress like no. 31, the Irish crocheted dress, in a shorter version. But as it is, I still don’t know what I’ll wear – nothing as elaborate as the designs you showed us, for sure. I can understand why this exhibit is so popular with the public, with such attractive designs.

    1. Vagabonde, this show really is well done. Most of the garments are displayed simply, allowing their wonderful designs to do the talking.
      I know that you are a stylish lady, and will look wonderful at your daughter's wedding!

  8. I love the Fortuny pleated silk and the Irish crocheted wedding dress. But the high concept stuff has me shaking my head.

    1. Vicki, I'm also a big Fortuny fan, ever since I happened upon his museum in Venice many years ago. The exhibit also includes some beautiful pleated silk dresses by designer Mary McFadden.
      I think that some of those high concept clothes would be fun to try on. xo

    2. For you, perhaps, stylishly svelte as you are. I'd look like a blimp at a costume party.

  9. Such a fascinating exhibition, dear Frances! Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures so we can have a flavour of looks amazing! I would love to see some of those beautiful dresses and fabrics up close....maybe the exhibition will transfer here to the UK and I will try to see it.
    Wishing you a happy week.
    Helen xox

    1. Helen, when I return for another peek at the show, I will try to find out if there is any chance of its traveling. I would think that the V&A would be a perfect site!

  10. My goodness, those are ravishing! What a wonderful exhibition! Thank you so much for being so patient and taking the time to post all those photographs - I really enjoyed seeing them, although it did make me a tiny bit envious that you were able to see them for real! Cx

    1. Chris, it's a grand show...I'll find out if it's got any traveling plans. My photographs only show a sampling of what's actually on display. xo

  11. To sum it all up in a word...WOW!!!!!!!!

    1. Don't you agree with me about that Irish crocheted wedding dress being Amazing?
      Wow indeed! xo

  12. What an exhibit! You are so fortunate to live in a place with access to all that you share with us. The Irish dress is exquisite!

    1. I forgot to click Reply before I replied. xo

  13. Thank you, Pondside. It really is a treasure of a show. May I return the compliment, by saying how fortunate I feel to visit where you live via your blog.

    As we all seem to be exposed daily to media visions of what is not so very good about global life now, it's even more reassuring that we can share counteracting information right here. xo

  14. Hi Frances, such a dazzling array but no 17 has won my heart.

    1. I am with you, Val. Fortuny is hard to beat. There were several other Fortuny dresses on display, in more muted blue or green tones, and with sleeves. I thought this dress would be easier to photograph, but loved them all. xo

  15. I think the Internet must have eaten my comment ...

    I would love to wear the Issy Miyake, such a clever design. And Suffolk Puffs elevated to haute couture!

    C xx

    1. Dear Celia, please to see my reply below, disguised as a comment. xo

  16. Celia, sorry that the naughty internet acted up. Glad that you didn't give up. (I've seen my own comments disappear here and there recently.)
    Issey Miyake is a splendid designer. Back when I was working in NYC's SoHo area, my daily walk to and from the subway allowed me to pass by the marvelous corner shop that was Miyake's Pleats Please. I spend lots of time window shopping!
    Those Suffolk Puffs immediately caught my eye. I've made a few of those, and have as yet unrealized plans for quite a few more. My creation won't be haute couture, but will certainly be unique.

  17. oh my frances, another reason to return to the city. what an incredible show, that chanel dress to begin. amazing.

    1. Lori, you would love this show! It's a great tribute to the varied directions that our imagination can take us. Exhibit is on until mid-August....
      (I do love visiting your Instagram page, and the wonderful places you take me to there.)

  18. I am hoping next spring when I return to New York City such a show is still available yo see if not there will be something else i'm sure/

    I am never disappointed in New York City exhibits and museums

    1. Sorry to tell you that this exhibit will finish in mid-August this year. Wish you could see it.

  19. Wow, fantastic! So lovely to see all this dresses...great post Frances.
    Have a beautiful friday, take care!

    1. There is a huge variety of design direction in this exhibit, Titti. It's a feast!
      Yesterday, I took a walk through the Park and have lots of flower photographs for my next post. xo