All images from metmuseum.org
Punk once worn by the subculture of society has now reached its fashion peak and is being celebrated by New York Met museum in an exhibition named ‘Chaos to Couture,’ it is examining punks impact on high fashion from the movements birth in the 1970s through to its continuing influence today. What’s new about this exhibition is that Punk has never been celebrated in a museum setting before for its relevance to high fashion, punk was started as a reaction against high fashion in wanting to be unique and cause a stir against the establishment by dressing in a way to provoke a reaction, it was an attitude rather than just clothing that created the punk aesthetic. Therefore I’m not sure if the original 70s punk subculture would appreciate being linked to high fashion, renowned fashion journalist Suze Menkes who attended the exhibition agrees she said, ‘it was a terrific and energetic movement, and I don’t think you get that from the exhibition.’However the curator Andrew Bolton who also curated the Alexander McQueen retrospective which has been worldwide celebrated said, ‘the main thing I hope to engage is the idea that fashion is a very powerful tool and can be used to upset the zeitgeist, to be challenging and reflect key concepts sometimes.’
The exhibition contains some exciting originals such as Elizabeth Hurley Versace safety pin dress, Patti Smith and Sid Vicious stage costumes and a room dedicated to Malcolm McClaren and Westwood Seditonaires boutique 430 Kings Road, London. I would have liked to see how the boutique was represented as in the 70s it was a shop dedicated to shocking the public with its bondage wear, dark interior and punk music blaring.From what I can gather the exhibition is separated into different sections, hardware with Versace, Givenchy and Balecinga garments it means clothes that are made from zips, studs, chains things that could be found in hardware shop. Bricolage with Margiela, Gareth Pugh and McQueen garments, it is designers which incorporate fund objects into their clothing such as a McQueen razor clam dress. Destroy with Japenese designers such as Issy Miyake, Margiela and Comme Des Garcons who use process of deconstruction to create a new aesthetic which challenges the norm similar to a punk aesthetic of being visually challenging.
The opening of the exhibition was celebrated by the annual Met Ball fundraiser which had a punk theme it was co-chaired by Anna Wintour and Ricardo Tisci whose couture for Givenchy has links to Punk by its melancholy and sombre attire. Here is a selection of the most noteworthy looks worn, Madonna went for a ridiculous 70s dress up with fishnets and chains it was Givenchy haute couture by Ricardo Tisci which just shows couture is at the extreme end of fashion. I loved Cara Delevinge and Sienna Miller nod to punk with Cara in a studded bodice and Sienna with a punk leather jacket both wore Burberry. Sarah Jessica Parker was in a Giles Deacon dress which had all the drama of punk with its wide brimmed opening revealing her knickers, also her Mohawk was an added punk flair which I thought suited the dress. Miley Cyrus was in a netted Marc Jacobs dress which I thought looked quite elegant and could be easily copied on the high street just make sure wear slip underneath. Ricardo Tisci also dressed Florence Welch but unlike Madonna who went for dress up she capsulated the drama of the punk aesthetic with a sheer bat winged gown.
The influence of punk has already started to hit the high street with cropped tops, ripped denim shorts, netted tops and cycling shorts all about. I like the DIY aspect of punk how it is easily encapsulated you can acid wash your jeans to make them more punk, festivals this year will be streaming with punk influenced clothes such as studded bras, heavily buckled boots which can be seen in Topshop at the moment and the Rhianna line for River Island has a punk aesthetic. However for a more elegant night time look go for leather shorts with a manly blazer and worn with an embellished crop top, it is just a nod to punk but team with animal print shoes it is enough of a punk aesthetic without looking costumey.