Punk fashion will be focus of Punk: Chaos to Couture, which opens May 9, and runs through August 14, 2013, organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The exhibit will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the 1970s through its continuing influence today.
The exhibition, in the Museum’s second-floor Cantor galleries, will feature approximately 100 designs for men and women. Original punk garments from the mid-1970s will be juxtaposed with recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear have borrowed punk’s visual symbols, with paillettes being replaced with safety pins, feathers with razor blades, and bugle beads with studs. Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of ‘do-it-yourself’ and the couture concept of ‘made-to-measure,’ the exhibition will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.
Organized thematically, each of the seven galleries will have designated punk ‘heroes’ who embody the broader concepts behind the fashions on view. The first gallery will be devoted to CBGB in New York City, represented by Blondie, Richard Hell, The Ramones, and Patti Smith.
Next will be a gallery inspired by Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood and their Seditionaries boutique at 430 King’s Road in London.
The Clothes for Heroes gallery, embodied by Jordan, will examine designers who extend the visual language of punk, as it was originally articulated by McLaren and Westwood, by merging social realism with artistic expression.
Do-it-yourself, punk’s enduring contribution to high fashion, will be explored in the four final galleries: D.I.Y. Hardware, focusing on couture’s use of studs, spikes, chains, zippers, padlocks, safety pins, and razor blades, with Sid Vicious as its icon; D.I.Y. Bricolage, highlighting the impact of punk’s ethos of customization on high fashion, including the use of recycled materials from trash and consumer culture, as epitomized by Wayne County; D.I.Y. Graffiti and Agitprop, exploring punk’s tradition of provocation and confrontation through images and text exemplified by The Clash; and D.I.Y. Destroy, examining the effect of punk’s rip-it-to-shreds spirit, typified by Johnny Rotten, via torn and shredded garments associated with deconstructionism.
Designers in the exhibition include John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Lang, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Miuccia Prada, Gareth Pugh, Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, and many, many more.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.