I recently went to the Metropolitan Institute’s new exhibit, Manus x Machina. Yes, it’s that famous exhibit/benefit where the stars, including Beyoncé and Alicia Vikander, gathered this past Monday to see and be seen. The exhibit focuses on the role technology has played in haute couture despite the fact that the latter is supposed to be purely done by hand. As the various curated pieces detail, there’s practically some kind of technology involved in creating all the couture pieces featured.
Unlike the China exhibit last year, Manus x Machina is stark and minimalist with focus primarily on the clothes. My favorites are the exhibit’s centerpiece, a wedding dress from Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld that featured an elaborate and lengthy train, and the fiberglass dress by Hussein Chalayan that can be operated with a remote control.
Yes, couture dresses may not be practical but they are just sometimes so magical that we’re often transported from our everyday realities to a different world just by looking at these wonderful creations. Plus, there’s something to be said for the vision and detailed craftsmanship that goes in each creation.
Manus x Machina opens today and runs until August 16, 2016.
Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel
Hussein Chalayan’s fiberglass dress
Another Chalayan creation
Weekly snapshots of family life in 2016
This past Saturday, I took advantage of the ongoing Montclair Film Festival and saw a moving documentary, Sonita, about a 14-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran who aspired to become a rapper. Directed by Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, the movie follows Sonita as she deals with the hardships of refugee life in Iran while trying to pursue her dreams. Her assimilation to the Iranian culture was disrupted by pressures to follow the conventions of her Afghan Muslim upbringing. The movie climaxes when Sonita’s mother visited her in Tehran from Afghanistan and pressures her to marry so that the family can get $9,000 (her child bride price) that will enable her brother to pay for his own wife. Sonita rebels against her family and her strong stance against her situation and child brides in general led her to this create this heartbreaking video on youtube, which generated enough global attention that helped her obtain a scholarship and enabled her to leave Afghanistan and Iran. While I respect various cultures and beliefs, I found it heartbreaking to see the struggles of young girls, barely out of childhood, who are resigned to their fate of marrying young and sold as child brides to help out their families.
Do check out Sonita’s film and youtube video when you get a chance. I do hope to hear more about Sonita’s project and progress in the future.
I was out to lunch, celebrating a friend’s birthday, last week when I first found out about Prince’s death. When my friend Cathy told me the breaking news on her phone, I told her it’s probably just a hoax, just one of those false rumors someone started, another Internet report of a death of a certain celebrity who actually did not die. After all, did we not somewhat fall prey to false reports of Macaulay Culkin’s death last year? These things just spread like wildfire and go viral in just a matter of minutes. The thought of Prince gone and not around to make music anymore just sounded so ludicrous to me. Much to my dismay, the waitress at the restaurant decided to turn the TV on for us just to confirm the news, and sure enough, there it was, Prince was found dead in the elevator of his Paisley Park home.
I remember clearly the day I discovered Prince in high school. Having just moved here from the Philippines, I wasn’t really sure who to listen to and what was cool. Then, one day, a boy who liked me in school gave a me mix tape (remember those?) of Prince songs. I can’t believe I kept that mix tape after all these years but I guess I just wanted to keep it as a token of my early years here and also as a souvenir of my budding romantic life back then. After listening to Prince that first time, I was hooked.
I have almost 100 of Prince’s songs on my iPod. As I listened to his music incessantly last week, I was transported back to different times in my life. I Would Die 4 U brought me back to that one summer in Virginia Beach where I sang this song at the top of my lungs along with choreographed dance moves with a few cousins. Purple Rain transported me back to my first kiss while A Door reminded me of my first boyfriend. Yes, listening to Prince meant going down memory lane, unraveling one experience after another of that younger me.
Beyond his music, Prince helped me feel comfortable with my identity as an immigrant to this country. Prior to the movie Purple Rain, there weren’t that many romantic movies that featured non-white actors, so seeing a bunch of dark-haired actors with skin color closer to mine made me think it’s cool to be different. It’s okay to be me, to look like me.
The deaths of Michael Jackson and David Bowie, two singers who were popular with my generation, did not impact me the same way as Prince’s death. I suppose for me I just took for granted and thought that Prince with his bigger-than-life presence will always be around, perhaps creating that next song that will mark another memory for me. Who will replace the void he leaves behind?
The mix tape that was given to me in high school. Some of song titles make me cringe now.
Image 1 via
Weekly snapshots of family life in 2016
There was a lot of great moments this past week…
…Brady finishing Kindergarten Puppy Class. He’s now moving up to the next level, Basic for Puppy Grads.
…plenty of family time as we celebrated my mother’s milestone birthday, which was capped off with a dinner at a Moroccan restaurant that had live belly dancing. Needless to say, the birthday celebrant was quite content with all the festivities.
Have a great week everyone!
I pretty much have the Brooklyn-based band, Lucius, on repeat. Reminiscent a bit of the ’80s and ’90s, the music they’ve created on their new album, Good Grief, manages to be fresh, fun and at times transcendent. Some of my faves on this album are Madness, Almost Makes me Wish for Rain, Truce, and Let’s Dance by the late great David Bowie.
Such a fun album to listen to these summer months while driving with car windows rolled down and music blasting to the max. That’s if my girls will let me; oftentimes, they remind me to turn the music down and drive properly. Now, who’s the grown up in this picture?
Images via (1), (2), (3)