From bondage vests and statement zippers at Mandy Coon to deconstructed tartan looks at Thom Browne, the Spring 2013 runways continue to include punk-inspired aesthetics, lending elegance an underbelly of edge. For musical fashion connoisseurs, this connection is a treasured and well-tread one, and has been explored increasingly by serious fashion intellectuals and curators. The ultimate proof comes in next year’s exhibition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Costume Institute, which was announced today.
“PUNK: Chaos to Couture,” set to open during May 2013’s Met Ball, has the potential to mark the most dynamic examination of the musical and subcultural movement’s style impact to date. The exhibition will attempt to capture the combustible energy of the genre by juxtaposing couture’s “made-to-measure” ethos and punk’s staunchly D.I.Y. mentality, with “anti-establishment” materials and techniques presented as a rebellious art form that equally complicates and complements high fashion. The exhibit will run through August.
Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, describes punk’s influence on fashion in one key word: “incendiary.” Naturally, the work of pioneering subversive designers Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren – who defined and codified the punk uniform – will play a crucial role (as “Couturier Situationists”) in this exhibit. It will also incorporate the styles, videos and accoutrements of “Rebel Heroes” like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Left-field designers such as Rodarte, Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, Alexander McQueen and Thom Browne will be featured as iconoclasts who have continued to evolving the anti-fashion dialectic.
Academy Award-nominated actress and noir style icon Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) will join Givenchy’s goth-obsessed creative director Riccardo Tisci and Vogue queens Anna Wintour and Lauren Santo Domingo as co-chairs of the Met Ball, while legions of punk icons are bound to show up on the red carpet and stage. Recent Costume Institute exhibitions have been spectacular successes with academics and celebrities alike – recent odes to Alexander McQueen and Miuccia Prada in particular – so May’s upcoming soiree might be the most electrifying union of creative industries yet.