Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Manus x Machina - fashion exhibition at the Costume Institute Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

Past the galleries of Medieval art, with fairy tales narrated by the tapestries on their walls, and welcomed by a short glimpse of the most beautiful Chinese ceramics, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits the Costume Institute’s latest creation: Manus x Machina. The exhibition, which transformed the renown Lehman wing into the cupola of a Florentine Renaissance church, opens with the dress that inspired it. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld as the closing garment for his autumn/winter 2014-15 haute couture collection for Chanel, and made with synthetic diving-suit material, its surface soft as a whale’s skin, the dress extends about 6 metres backward, its train showcasing the most perfect intersection of manus and machina. The brocaded pattern was first hand-drawn by Lagerfeld, then pixelated with a computer aid. Rhinestones were inserted using a heat press, and the gold paint and pearls were embroidered by hand, taking the artisans no less than 450 hours of manual labor in the completion of this masterpiece. If the dress presents a pregnant figure, made specifically for the model who wore it down the catwalk a few years ago, it also presents the conception of the most recent creative vision of the curatorial genius that is Andrew Bolton, curator in chief of the Costume Institute.

Theorizing Fashion: Short Review of Colombiamoda 2016

In many ways, Colombiamoda 2016 reflected the state of contemporary creative culture in the country. This, culture influenced by the legacy of “easy-doing” promoted particularly during the last half century by drug trafficking and violence, seems to be carried in the veins of the Colombian peoples since the settling of Mozarabic Spaniards during the Colony. And, despite seeming ready to face the world, especially in terms of fashion, the Colombian creative culture is yet to wake up. But more that highlighting some of the problems of Colombian fashion, something that “critics” trying to find their 15 minutes of fame have already done for me, I want to highlight the good things, those that make me believe that someday—hopefully not too far away—fashion will become an aspect of Colombian pride, both inside the country and abroad.

Preparing for Colombiamoda: Thoughts on Fashioning Latin America

Johanna Ortiz, Cali Exposhow 2015

With Colombiamoda (Colombia’s annual fashion week) just around the corner, I have been thinking a lot lately on the state of fashion both in the country and the broader region of Hispanic America. Although my thoughts on the matter have evolved as I develop a more critical, studied, perspective with my increasing knowledge of the field, two common threads don’t change at all: First, that Colombian (and Latin American) fashion has a great potential of appealing to cosmopolitan consumers from different places and of providing the international fashion market with world-class goods; and second, that there is a strong need to develop a more critical approach, in which we talk about fashion as a local phenomenon, within its own context.

Here are some of my thoughts, a short reflection on the topic I wrote about 18 months ago.

Style Reflections: On Wearing Bright Colors

Style Reflections: On Wearing Bright Colors

One of my favorite ways of researching fashion is documenting and reflecting on my own dress practices. In doing so, I undergo a process of introspection where I question not just the actual clothes I choose to wear—both on the day to day and on special occasions—but also the reasons that lie behind those choices. It is a process of self-ethnography that allows me to explore the relationship between my own body, its material extension in clothing, and the social context in which it lives.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Sophia Loren

Dolce & Gabbana A/W 2016 Couture - Sophia Loren

Born in 1934, Sophia Loren was destined to greatness, becoming a film star at the age of 15 and, soon after, crowning herself as the Italian muse par excellence of generations of men and women, who continue to venerate her after more than 80 years of her life. Never too shy to wear bold accessories, a daring dress with rich patterns, or her staple colored glasses, Sophia Loren has become much more than a famous Italian actress; she is, in many ways, the image of Italian style, of its powerful women, of the colorful beauty of its landscapes, of the sparkling character of its peoples.

No wonder why Dolce & Gabbana inspired their latest Alta Moda collection on this eternal muse…

Fendi, Trevi Fountain and the Magic of Italian Heritage

Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld in Alta Moda Rome Trevi Fountain, closing runway

Whoever knows me probably also knows how obsessed I am with Dolce & Gabbana—as a brand—and the way in which the designers perform their Italian-ness in very particular ways with each and every one of their collections. But, in many ways, this outward expression of national identity in fashion design is common to Italian designers and fashion houses… And if anyone has any doubts, let me just mention Fendi’s Alta Moda runway show from last week.