September 12, 2005
If you can't escape the past, you may as well wrap your arms around it. Keanan Duffty clearly experienced a punk epiphany at some point, and he continues to relive it in his collections. With Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood circa '77 for spiritual guides, Duffty announced in his program notes a deconstruction and update of Dumas's Three Musketeers. But it was actually Disney that got it in the neck, with sweaters that gleefully called for the destruction of Mickey Mouse and the company's amusement parks, in the fine old tradition of punk iconoclasm. The mouse's instantly recognizable ears reappeared as an appliqué on combat pants. Equally familiar were leitmotifs from punk's golden era, such as a tattered plaid jacket ("I wannabe the anarchist," it brayed), bondage pants, a bomber sporting a faded Union Jack, and a "Blank Generation" top with fishnet sleeves.
All these items were executed with an unabashedly cartoonish verve that would suggest that Duffty has a sense of humor (the "Wild Thing" leather jacket certainly made one hope so). But, like every conscientious punk, he also had something to say about the co-opting of youth culturehence the green Adidas T-shirt with cropped red trackpants. Then again, elegantly behatted Broadway hoofer Tommy Tune was parked in the front row, loving every single second. Perhaps, in the end, it was really all just show business.