Monday, May 13, 2013

The Met Goes Punk?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art documents the fashion of the first wave of punk rockers and its influence on high fashion clothing in its new exhibit "Punk: Chaos to Couture." The exhibition includes over 100 garments in seven galleries.   A recreation of the CBGB bathroom, punk music and photographs of iconic punk figures, help set the tone of the show.

The exhibit shows that vogue designers borrowed some extreme punk ideas of fashion as well as the "do it yourself" aspect of punk attire, such as creating holes and adding slogans. Cliches of what punks wore prevail in the exhibit such as dresses made of trash bags (will future generations think women frequently wore trash bag dresses to punk shows?)

Perhaps this take on punk for the Met show is more British than American.  American punks of this era mostly wore a simple outfit of jeans, t-shirt, and high tops. Those with more style were often new wave, and their music was more pop.  A distinction was that the British punk scene was, for the most part, more conscious of their fashion statements. The gallery names of "Hardware Gallery" and "Destroy Gallery" are clearly influenced by the clothing designs and artistic vision of the band manager of the Sex Pistols and owned a sex and leather boutique.

The legacy of punk rock seems more a "look" than politics or philosophy of punk, as this show reflects.   Ironic that the movement that aspired to separate itself from the mainstream became not only legit, but upper crust.  The Met's new show further confirms the stance of punk absorption into accepted society as punk rockers from the bands The Clash, Television, and The Sex Pistols are flashed on gallery the Met.

The Destroy Gallery, At the Met Museum

Recreation of the CBGB bathroom at the Met Museum

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