This year’s Costume Institute Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is devoted to all things punk.
Punk began in the late 1970s as an anti-establishment backlash against prefabricated plastic pop music and extended throughout the 1980s to other creative disciplines, including fashion, until eventually it in its turn became establishment.
Andrew Bolton, the exhibition’s curator said: “Punk was all about celebrating the individual. Celebrating creativity and not being afraid to be brave in your self-presentation. And to be brave in your fashion statements. Punk was all about challenging the status quo and challenging what we mean by beauty. And I think all those elements have very much impacted fashion.”
Raw seams, deliberate tearing and slicing, safety pins, razor blades, and outrageous hair colours were some of the hallmarks of punk.
British designer Zandra Rhodes was one of those who embraced this new freedom within design. She said: “Why shouldn’t a tear and a safety pin and chain be as fabulous as using sequins and colour? So it was for me an adventure, into black into chains and safety pins. Of course, I can’t say that it was a great seller from my end of the couture market. But they’re now collector’s pieces.”
The exhibition fills seven galleries and includes homages to New York punk club CBGB as well as to London’s contribution to the scene – especially Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood.
Punk: Chaos to Couture, runs until 14th August
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