August 30 2014

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1 posts tagged "Patti Smith"

Punk-Rock Beauty Rewind


In anticipation of tonight’s Met Ball, many an editorial page has been devoted to the dissemination of the event’s theme: punk. What is it? What did it mean in the late seventies, when it first hit the cultural lexicon as a way to describe the loud and fast sound simultaneously surfacing in London and New York? And what does it mean today, when it’s an adjective that gets attached to pretty much everything—from eye shadow and celebrities to top-forty tunes and anything with studs, safety pins, or bondage-style accoutrements? At a base level, the word—whether applied to music, style, or general life philosophy—is rooted in the bucking of convention, of being brash, defiant, untethered and gloriously in-your-face. That said, punk’s most basic definition runs counter to conventional beauty norms. Yet the women who came to define the subculture left their mark both sonically and visually, boasting beauty signatures that we’ve taken the liberty of recounting for you below. There’s no telling whether we’ll see an homage to their tried-and-true techniques on the red carpet tonight, but here’s hoping.

Debbie Harry
The Beauty Mark: Skunked tips and powder-blue lids
Required Listening: Blondie’s “X-Offender”
If punk had a premier babe, it would be Debbie Harry. With her razor-sharp cheekbones, bleach-blonde, ink-dipped crop, killer style (the high-waisted jean and one-shoulder dress have never had a better model), and tough-girl attitude, she cut a unique figure in CBGB-era New York. And so did Blondie’s upbeat sound, which, while rooted in punk, also borrowed elements of disco, reggae, and new wave.

Kim Gordon
The Beauty Mark: Icy blonde locks
Required Listening: Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing”
A colonizer of punk experimentation, Gordon remains as influential and prolific today as she was when she first emerged on the scene with Sonic Youth, in New York, in 1981. The band’s landmark cacophonous, feedback-laced sound seemed to create a new genre in itself: art rock. Besides being Sonic Youth’s platinum-blonde, bass-playing bombshell par excellence, Gordon has also dabbled in the worlds of art, fashion design, producing, directing (she is partially responsible for The Breeders’ “Cannonball” video), and modeling; she stars as one of Hedi Slimane’s muses in the designer’s recent Saint Laurent Music Project series.

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