On Thursday, May 5th, the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute exhibit, Manus x Machina, will open to the public. The show focuses on handmade techniques and technological innovation—and how couture fashion is complemented by and even pushed further by machinery, from synthetic fabrics to design techniques.

This exhibit, which is smaller than last year's China: Through the Looking Glass showcase, has 170 pieces on display. Curator Andrew Bolton's goal is to show how fashion is indeed an art form, noting, "I am so surprised that debate is still happening. I hope that after this show we can move on from there and ask other questions: ‘Is it good fashion? Is it bad fashion? What’s it saying?’ I just want to move on from that argument. I want people to accept it." From WWD:

Exhibition visitors expecting to see wearables, videos and LED light shows will find instead a more contemplative exploration meant to appreciate, and question, the cultural and symbolic meanings of the hand-machine dichotomy... Entering the show via what feels like an all-white cathedral-like space, visitors will encounter a Karl Lagerfeld-designed Chanel scuba knit wedding dress with a highly wrought train from fall 2014. Lagerfeld’s hand-drawn design was “transferred onto a computer to make a pixilated Baroque pattern, rhinestones were heat transferred by machine, outlined by hand with gold paint and finished with pearls and gemstones,” making it “the perfect case study” in [curator Andrew] Bolton’s view.

Today and tomorrow are members' preview; the Manus x Machina runs through August 14.

Click through for photographs from Sai Mokhtari, who previewed the show before the celebrities did.