I’m always surprised by the fact that despite numerous houses showing collections for Haute Couture, there are roughly 1000 true Couture customers in the world who buy on a regular basis. And about 70% of that number comes from customers in the United States. When I think of Couture, I imagine exquisite clothes that someone has toiled over for hundreds of hours, to make. And Pret is a product of the industrial revolution and machines becoming a part of our daily life. So it was amazing to visit the new exhibit at The Met to see where the lines blur and meet each other in an enticing mix.
The techniques that were highlighted included Broderie, Tailoring, Feathers, Artificial flowers, Toiles, Plisse, Leatherwork and Lacework. Lagerfeld constantly questions how design can move forward and there were many instances where his ability to test the machina was brought to light. The center dome as you walk into the exhibit has a long scuba train that was printed and machine sewn and then hand finished with thousands of crystals.
Focusing on traditional techniques attributed to Couture, many designers have used machines to elevate these techniques. There were so many instances throughout the exhibit, where two garment spanning many decades but using the same techinuqes were displayed next to each other. It helped highlight the dichotomy and similarites in both designs. But more than anything, it helped demonstrate the fact that a well made and designed garment stood the test of time and still felt relevant.
Through the various photos here I’ve tried to recreate a little bit of the experience for those of you who can’t visit it personally. One of my favorite old time designers Madame Gres stood timelessly next to a 3D printed dress by Iris van Herpen. Andrew Bolton, the curator of The Costume Institute truly outdid himself and this collection holds close to the Mcqueen exhibit he created all those years ago.