As NYC prepares for tomorrow night’s MET Gala in celebration of “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”, it is clear the most sought-after exhibition of the year, which opens this Thursday, is exposing the punk concept and attitude to a whole new audience.
Ever since the likes of Richard Hell, Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten appeared on the music scene in the early 1970s, the punk movement was well under-way. Described by Jon Savage as a ‘bricolage’ of every previous youth culture ‘stuck together with safety pins’ – punk allowed people to adopt a free-spirited attitude and break all the rules. The exhibition, which will feature replicas of the legendary NYC club CBGB’s toilets and Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Kings Road store, Seditionaries, celebrates the heart of punk are how it merged creativity with a strong political voice.
Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Costume Institute at The Met, has stated “(the exhibition) looks at the cross pollination of ideas between two cities, and how Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood codified it to create what became known as a classic sort of punk look” (Tamsin Blanchard, Telegraph Magazine). More than 100 outfits will be on display from designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Maison Martin Margiela, Katherine Hamnett and Comme des Garcons. The collection will include famous safety-pin dresses by Gianni Versace and Zandra Rhodes, as well as Moschino’s 1994 bin-bag ballgown – the decon/recon theme generating a strong ‘make do and mend’ feel!
According to Tasmin Blanchard, over the past year Riccardo Tisci has been assisting Bolton in collecting research for the exhibition. Since being handed the reigns of the Givenchy fashion house in 2006, Tisci has infused the brand with his precision and imagination, whilst still remaining true to the elegance and femininity of the work of the original founder, Hubert de Givenchy. Much like other designers currently at the forefront of the fashion industry, Tisci’s fascination with gothic touches has enabled him to reference punk in his collections. For example, Givenchy’s F/W 2012 collection, which drew on the frivolity of French Photographer Guy Bourdin’s aestetics, featured models wearing satin ribbons tied around their necks. The hinting towards violence and women being objectified as “possessions” brought forward a somewhat religious ecstasy to the collection, whilst also employing strong links to the punk attitude. Other designers that have drawn on the punk mentality in their A/W 2013 collections – which subsequently co-incide with the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition – include Vivienne Westwood, Comme Des Garcons and Louise Gray.
As for The MET Gala, once again the event will be a star-studded extravaganza. With Beyonce serving as Honourary Chair and Co-Chairs including Lauren Santo Domingo, Rooney Mara, Anna Wintour and Riccardo Tisci himself – If only we all had an invite!