The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Punk: Chaos to Couture Exhibit

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metmuseum.org

In less than two weeks the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be debut their spring exhibit Punk: Chaos to Couture sponsored by Moda Operandi.  It will run from May 9th-August 14th, 2013, and kick off with the Met Gala on May 6th.  The red carpet for this event will live stream starting at 7:00 p.m. EST  As an added bonus, Moda Operandi will launch a capsule collection with designs from the likes of Givenchy, Balmain, and Vivienne Westwood on May 2, 2013.

The exhibit will focus on the link between punk as an aesthetic and its influence on couture and ready to wear fashion time lining from the 1970’s to present day.  When the punk subculture originated there was a strong following in both New York and London with many likes and differences in both music and fashion.  The museum will devote a gallery to the queen of punk herself, Vivienne Westwood, and her work with Malcolm McLaren.  It will speak to how their designs impacted contemporary fashion designers. Items to be showcased will include John Galliano/Dior Haute Couture (2006 collection parachute dress), Rodarte (A/W 2008 collection mohair dress), Alexander McQueen (A/W 2008 The Girl Who Lived in the Tree collection, Queen Elizabeth/flag dress).

The museum’s curator, Andrew Bolton, pinpoints the exhibits focus onto punk’s DIY fashion and breaks down its influence into four areas:

  • Hardware – decorative embellishments, the use of zippers, studs, spikes, chains, padlocks, and safety pins: Zandra Rhodes (1977 conceptual chic collection dress), Versace (1994 S/S collection, Liz Hurley safety-pin dress), Riccardo Tisci/Givenchy (2007 A/W collection studded jacket)
  • Bricolage – objects from trash and consumer culture: Franco Moschino (1994 S/S collection, trash bag dress)
  • Graffiti – spraying, painting, and stenciling
  • Destroy – ripping, tearing, and slashing: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel (S/S 2011 collection suit)

There’s a lot of irony in this exhibit in which I find fascinating.  The punk subculture in and of itself was anti-fashion, anti-establishment, yet inexplicably made a long lasting impact on fashion designers and the industry.  I wonder if those kids who grew up going to and playing shows at CBGB would have ever thought it possible to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art over thirty years later and see an exhibit honoring their likeness.  Personally, I’d really like to get Glenn Danzig’s take on this one.

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