Punk Fashion Invasion At New York’s Metropolitan Museum

This Spring punk in all of it’s debauchery will signal a stomping, thrashing and pogoing revival in New York. It’s going to be bad, mad, and a little bit about fashion too. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume institute have recently announced their Spring exhibition that is sure to delight young and not so young fans of the Punk movement. This won’t be lost amongst the bearded and often pretentious hipster overlords that have taken Manhattan by storm either. There will be safety pins, liberty spikes, and tunes mothers would never have approved of in the day. It is going to be bloody brilliant! The show is slated to explore how the punk movement has influenced fashion throughout the years and the violent relationship that was shaped by the music and mayhem over the years.

This exhibition is aptly named, “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, which has a slightly demeaning tone, only to be out done by Sid Vicious franticly turning in his grave. It however cannot be denied that punk has influenced fashion. From the beginnings of Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes all the way trough to the second generation punk remnants that pulsed over the waves in Southern California, during the 1990s. Punk music, and culture, have gone hand in hand with fashion. This is major exhibition that will see British Fashion photographer Nick Knight acting as the creative consultant for the event along side Raul Avila. Knight brings a history of punk to this new project. In 1982 he did a series of photos that featured skinheads, which is an obvious reflection of punk culture. Although he has since moved further into fashion photography, being commissioned to work on shoots for Vogue around the world, his work in every sense shouts punk. It is loud vibrant and abrasive. He is the caustic to the fashion worlds soda. Surely if the man was cut he would bleed colours, lots and lots of colours. It is a great pleasure to hear that he will be leading a fantastic team to develop this major exhibition.

The Met Ball will play host to this spectacle on 6 May, with actress Rooney Mara and Givenchy director Ricardo Tisci in attendance. They will be witnessing the presentation of more than 100 different designs from men and woman who have been influenced and been influenced by the almighty punk gods. This show will highlight pieces that were “original” punk attire, in whatever context that means, and pieces that were designed with punk elements. It is unclear how these designers managed to infuse layers of hostility and political unrest into the very fabrics of their clothing, all it seems will be revealed at this promising exhibition.

It appears this is show will bring out all the highlights of the punk worlds dingy corners, from the Marc Jacobs, to Dolce & Gabbana, everyone was influenced in some way by punk. Rather than banging all of the pieces together the organisers of the event have chosen to split the works into a series of different topics. The thematic selections include “Rebel Heroes”, “The Couturier Situationists”, “Pavilions of Anarchy and Elegance”, “Punk Couture”, “DIY Style” and “La Mode Destroy” which promises the most ragged and ripped up designs to have disgraced the fashion palette. Some of the themes seem like obvious choices to examine the work of the kings and queens, while others will seek to inspire work created by a new generation of punk royalty. New and old mix together in the punk genre. There is room for all of these themes to mix seamlessly, in fact seams will seem altogether out of fashion during this collaboration, they are far too mainstream for the liking of the designers and fashion icons that will be participating.

Fashion and punk are as New York as bagels and grumpy cabbies. The two have been edging towards oblivions since the Ramones first drunkenly took to the stage at CBGB’s. The movement does not stop with music, nor does it finish with fashion, the two weave a tale that is long over due an examination and presentation. This Spring, New York will show the world how a talented group of designers took their inspiration from a time when anarchy was real. It wasn’t something to read about on Wikipedia.

Words by: Portia Pettersen Copyright Artlyst 2012

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