9 posts tagged "Punk: Chaos to Couture"
Eschewing pins, plaids, and pugnaciousness, a few of last night’s Met Gala attendees opted for a different sort of ornamentation: all things baroque. Curious, you might think, since gilt and whorls don’t exactly fit with punk’s middle-fingers-up grittiness. But with parallel underlying airs of metallurgy and commoditized Gothicism, we’d say these ladies picked up on a bloodline between the zeitgeists.
Beyoncé’s hellfire custom-made Givenchy gown evoked monarchal muscle and flamboyant architectural tones. Katy Perry arrived in head-to-toe Dolce & Gabbana—florid gold-leafed crown included. Dolce & Gabbana also dressed Giovanna Battaglia and Tabitha Simmons. The former wore the label’s Alta Moda couture line, and both looks recalled a seaside Palermo church awash in halcyon daylight. Hilary Rhoda also walked the line between rococo and rebellion; her Wes Gordon top featured fine-lined Aurelian patterning on diaphanous black sheer—but her cropped leather pants were 100 percent King’s Road.
By now, you’ve no doubt already heard about—or even seen—the facsimile of CBGB’s bathroom that Andrew Bolton included in the opening gallery of the Met’s Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition, which opens to the public on Thursday, following tonight’s red-carpet festivities. “CBGB was the heart of punk in New York,” said Bolton at a preview this morning. “Punk was all about shock and provocation, and so to start off an exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a toilet—well, I thought was the ultimate punk statement,” the curator told Style.com.
The exhibition juxtaposes original (and contemporary) punk wares by Vivienne Westwood against luxury and haute couture looks from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana (who are featured in the Graffiti room, above), Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano, and Gianni Versace (yes, the 1994 safety-pin dress is on display). One might be hard-pressed to differentiate between Vivienne Westwood’s destroyed seventies sweaters and Rodarte’s Fall 2008 knit dress, which are on display side by side. The same gallery boasts Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s lewd T-shirts (for instance, her famed “Tits” top hangs against a black PVC curtain). “I love that we start off with T-shirts with very obscene political and sexual slogans,” said Bolton. “They’re still shocking thirty-seven years later—in a way, more shocking, because of our political correctness.” Beyond the T-shirts lies a reproduction of McLaren and Westwood’s infamous—and iconic—shop, Seditionaries, which stood at 430 King’s Road. The remainder of the show was divided into DIY categories, like Hardware, Graffiti and Agitprop, Bricolage, and Destroy—and each room was punctuated by a film by Nick Knight.
“No other subcultural movement has a greater or more enduring influence on how we dress today,” Bolton noted in his opening remarks. Consider, as evidence, the fact that there is a slew of Fall 2013 looks in the show, from such houses as Viktor & Rolf, Saint Laurent, and Gareth Pugh—whose Fall 2013 trash-bag dresses are arranged into a veritable mob in the center of the Bricolage installation.
Bolton made sure to steer away from clichés—for instance, he noted that hairstylist Guido Paulo, who created the spiky Technicolor mops that topped each mannequin’s head, avoided Mohawks, and instead pulled inspiration from Richard Hell’s signature ’do.
“I wanted to present punk in a respectful, and even reverential, manner,” said Bolton. That’s already earning the show some mixed reviews. And of course, there are those who protest discussing punk in a high-fashion context—or, for that matter, paying couture prices for a punk-tinged look. “I think that’s completely punk,” said Bolton in response. “People seem to forget that punk really was a commercial movement. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, in a way, created what we know as the punk look. And they commodified it,” he explained.
As for why consumers and designers, from Karl Lagerfeld to Met Ball host Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, are still drawn to the seventies subculture, Bolton offers, “Punk endures today because it reflects our longing for a time when originality and creativity were celebrated, a time when fashion was provocative and confrontational. And, above all, a time when fashion championed the individual and self-expression.”
Punk: Chaos to Couture opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Thursday, May 9.
Between the Met’s upcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition and the rebellion-infused Fall ’13 runways, it’s no secret that punk is having a major moment. Resurrection New York—the Nolita vintage store known for its highly edited collection of sixties Pucci and seventies Halston—decided to celebrate the revival with What Are You Looking At, an in-store installation featuring pieces from Resurrection’s enviable archive. “The Met has their way—they feature certain things and have a lot of the high-fashion derivatives of punk rock and fashion—but we have our own approach [to punk] that’s really special,” explained Resurrection archivist and manager Maria Ayala. “We thought, This is all happening. Let’s show people where this actually came from.”
The pieces on view range from iconic King’s Road staples (polka-dot mini-crinis, Seditionaries’ Sid Vicious Chaos tees) to rare personal items like a pair of shredded bondage pants that Gaye Advert gave owner Katy Rodriguez in London. A selection of wares are for purchase—a pastel camo Stephen Sprouse blazer, for example—while others, like a Westwood x Keith Haring knit skirt and some original, and very ribald, Boy London T-shirts, are for ogling only. “We actually have a top like that, as well,” commented Ayala in reference to the Haring skirt. “But today, M.I.A. came in and rented it because she’s doing promo pictures for her album. Maybe we’ll see it on her album cover, maybe not. But that’s pretty exciting.”
What Are You Looking At is on view through May 8 at Resurrection New York, 217 Mott Street, New York, NY; (212) 625-1374.
Known for her candy-hued 1960s aesthetic, Lisa Perry is not a “punk” chick. So the theme of next week’s Met Ball—Punk: Chaos to Couture—posed a bit of a problem. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh no, what am I possibly going to do for punk? It’s so not my thing. I am so not a spikes girl,’” Perry told Style.com. The answer, she explained, revealed itself during a serendipitous trip to Brooklyn. “I was driving along, and I saw some graffiti, and I thought, I’m going to spray-paint a dress!” The lightbulb moment not only inspired the creation of her daughter’s Met frock (Perry herself opted for a black column gown with leather accents) but also a five-piece capsule collection (below) and window installation that will arrive at her Madison Avenue boutique on May 6.
“Graffiti ties back to my love of art,” said Perry, whose past collections have nodded to Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons. “It just connects everything.” Perry invited Style.com to witness the birth of her pop-meets-punk experiment. On the roof of her Sutton Place apartment, the designer was armed with a drop cloth and no fewer than two dozen cans of spray paint. She stepped gamely out of her Manolo pumps and, with a real DIY spirit, got to work. The resulting party frock is a brightly colored tribute to street art, with a few rebellious, albeit playful, undertones.
Perry also served up some veteran’s advice to first-time Met Ball attendees. “The frightening part is getting through the red carpet! Once you get to the top, it’s the most incredible spectacle. You don’t know where to look first. It’s just a magical, magical event.”
Lisa Perry is located at 988 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075; (212) 431-7467.
“It was important for me to really open up,” said conceptual fashion designer Miguel Adrover at yesterday’s screening of Call It a Balance in the Unbalance—a documentary about the uncompromising talent’s meteoric rise and fall. The film—which made its U.S. premiere at the Pratt Institute last night—follows the career of the Majorcan-born talent, highlighting his now-legendary Lower East Side debut in 1999 and the conception of the many memorable pieces that followed (his infamous Burberry trench-turned-dress, a town coat hand-stitched from materials drawn from Quentin Crisp’s discarded mattress, and a pair of drooped trousers made from Adrover’s grandfather’s wardrobe all make cameos). “When you see a documentary of Marc Jacobs or Valentino [you never see them] wash their clothes,” Adrover told Style.com. “You saw my house. You saw my mom, my dad, my bathroom…you saw me pulling the clothes out of the washing machine,” he added.
The film details Adrover’s post-9/11 commercial descent and subsequent return to Majorca, and the designer’s friends and supporters, like Suzy Menkes and stylist Eric Daman, spoke candidly in on-screen interviews about his uncensored vision. Not surprisingly, so did Adrover. “I don’t give a shit about [money]; I don’t believe in Chanel; I don’t believe in Karl Lagerfeld; I don’t believe in Yves Saint Laurent; but I do believe you can change society,” he professed during a Q&A.
The screening comes on the heels of Adrover’s departure from organic German label Hessnatur after eight years as its creative director. What’s next for the outspoken rebel? “I have three shows already prepared,” said Adrover, whose designs will be featured in the Met’s upcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition. “Anytime. You give me the money, I will make it happen. I don’t need a big stadium or a lot of lighting or things. I can do it right here.”