A sneak peek at Metropolitan’s ”Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.” forthcoming exhibition

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is putting on a display to show how technological advancements have altered fashion.


Opening May 5 and running through August 14, the exhibit will explore how things like 3D printing and laser cutting have changed high-end clothing from the days where a sewing machine was as technologically advanced as it got.

Here’s a look at 8 high-tech dresses from the exhibit, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.”

As the “Manus X Machina” name suggests, the exhibit is meant to illustrate the tension between man-made and machine-made clothing and how designers are grappling with that distinction.


To show this distinction the exhibit will show clothes made in the traditional sense, like the above outfit: Suit, by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, that was made for the 1963-68 haute couture line.This item is one of many meant to represent how haute couture was made possible in the 19th century with the invention of the sewing machine.

The dress seen below, dubbed Wedding Ensemble and designed by Karl Lagerfeld, was actually handmade for Chanel’s 2014-15 haute couture line. But the design was manipulated by a computer to give it a pixilated baroque pattern.


Below we see Ensemble by Lagerfeld. The designer used a technique called selective laser sintering to give the iconic suit a modern twist. Lagerfield first made a 3D model of a design and then used a laser to bind powered material to create the look.

“The idea is to take the most iconic jacket of the 20th century and make a 21st century version, which technically was unimaginable in the period when it was born,” Lagerfeld told French news agency AFP of the 3D-printed line.

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Iris van Herpen incorporated 3D-printed elements into this dress from her Wilderness Embodied 2013-14 haute couture line


Called Ensemble, this futuristic dress also by van Herpen is part of her wearable 3D-printed 2010 haute couture line.


This dress below by van Herpen was 3D-printed based on pictures taken by science photographer Steve Gschmeissner. The photographer used Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) technology to zoom in on microorganisms.


Van Herpen is intrigued by his photographic work, by the idea that these minuscule beings are so close to our skin, and by the fact that we know so little about them and there is still so much to discover,” the designer wrote in her press release about the 2012 line this dress was part of.

The Flying Saucer dress by Issey Miyake was pleated using a heated press and can collapse into its original circular shape with ease.


Designer Christopher Kane 3D printed flowers for this dress shown in his spring 2014 line.



The Kaikoku Floating Dress by designer Hussein Chalayan is one of the more high-tech fashion pieces we’ve seen. The dress has a spray-painted gold shell with little motors that can be controlled via a remote control.


Those motors allow the dress to move around on little wheels to give the appearance of floating.


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