NEW YORK — The opening of “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is still a few weeks away, but limited-edition designer merchandise inspired by the exhibition has already been selected.
As of May 5, museum goers will find jewelry, handbags, scarves, stationery, books and postcards amidst the more than 150 items. As a nod to the fact that fashion insiders like to be first, the museum will launch the collection online May 2 to celebrate this year’s Met Ball that night. All of the merchandise will be offered in its Fifth Avenue main-floor store on May 5, timed to the official exhibition opening for the public.
Gleaning shopping preferences from the in-store assortment that was offered for last year’s blockbuster “China: Through the Looking Glass” show, The Met’s retail team is focusing on smaller items that retail for $500 or less. Small, lightweight items that are not cumbersome for tourists or out-of-towners to carry in their bags or stash in suitcases are consistently popular, according to a staffer in the museum’s retail division. Exclusive offerings include a $385 silk chiffon Alexander McQueen scarf. With prices ranging from $425 to $925, Issey Miyake bags are expected to be bestsellers. Other items include a $375 Noa Raviv silk scarf; Flowen’s $3,950 ENDO clutch; a Maison Martin Margiela $90 magnifying glass, and $195 Junko Koshino handbags.
Shoppers who find their way into the galleries will discover 100-plus ensembles, spanning from an 1880s Charles Worth gown to a 2015 Chanel suit. “Manus x Machina” will explore haute couture’s start in the 19th century, and how the onset of industrialization and mass production that followed helped to more clearly distinguish between the hand and machine. For the catalogue, curator in charge Andrew Bolton interviewed Karl Lagerfeld, Hussein Chalayan, Christopher Kane, Iris van Herpen, Sarah Burton, Miuccia Prada and Gareth Pugh, among others for the Yale University Press-distributed $50 book.