The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, opens PUNK: Chaos to Couture this May. Running 9 May until 14 August, the exhibition collates one of the most significant and political forms of fashion as it explores punk’s influence on high fashion. Beginning at the birth of punk in the 1970s, PUNK: Chaos to Couture spans the transformation of the movement, concluding with its resonating impact today.
The opening of the exhibition is celebrated by a Benefit on 6 May, which will be chaired by the Queen of fashion herself, Anna Wintour, with the help of Riccardo Tisci, Rooney Mara and Lauren Santo Domingo. Featuring approximately 100 designs for men and women, the gallery space presents original punk garments from the mid-1970s, contrasted with recent, directional fashion. Lining the two eras up together illustrates how haute couture and ready-to-wear designs have taken on punk’s visual symbols, adopting their safety pins, razor blades and studs.
Also examining the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure”, the clothes are organised around the materials, techniques and embellishments usually associated with anti-establishment style. The showcase will be presented as an immersive, multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.
The seven galleries are organised thematically and each have a dedicated punk hero. The first gallery will be devoted to CBGB in New York City, represented by Richard Hell. 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. As well as looking at the elements of DIY, studs, spikes, chains, zippers, padlocks ect. this section takes a look at some of the musical artists associated with these trends, Sid Vicious, Debbie Harry and The Clash, for example.
The exhibition will also feature a number of modern designers, including Giles Deacon, John Galliano, Dior, Viktor & Rolf, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, plus many more. Embracing the influence of punk over time, PUNK: Chaos to Couture is a comprehensive exhibition that gets to the heart of its lasting significance.
Punk: Chaos to Couture, 9 May – 14 August, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10028-0198
1. Jordan, 1977, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph from Rex USA.