From Chaos to Couture: The Influence of Punk on Fashion

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Every Spring, the Metropolitan Museum of Art pays tribute to fashion with its Costume Institute Exhibition. The Met’s spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, examined the punk movement’s impact on high fashion from its inception in the early 1970’s through its continuing influence today. The exhibition, which closes on Wednesday, features approximately 100 designs for men and women that include original punk garments and recent fashions to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

2Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913) Vogue, March 2011
Photograph by David Sims / art partner 

Seven galleries are organized around the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” with each room displaying the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anarchic style of the anti-establishment movement.

Below is a photo of a recreated bathroom at CBGB, the world renowned and now shuttered music club where many famous musicians got their start.

Facsimile of CBGB Bathroom New York

Facsimile of CBGB bathroom, New York, 1975
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Themes include New York and London, which tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by Clothes for Heroes and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic: HardwareBricolageGraffiti and Agitprop and Destroy.

Clothes for Heroes

Clothes for Heroes
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

DIY Hardware

D.I.Y.: Hardware
Gianni Versace (Italian, 1946-1997), Dress, spring/summer 1994,
Courtesy of Gianni Versace
Gianni Versace (Italian, 1946-1997), Dress, spring/summer 1994,
Courtesy of Gianni Versace
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

MartinMargiela_Sp2011

Maison Martin Margiela (founded 1988), spring/summer 2011
Photograph © Nathalie Sanchez for Maison Martin Margiela

If you live in or near New York City, I highly recommend that you check out this exhibit before it closes on August 14, 2013 or consider purchasing a copy of the exhibition catalogue, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, by Andrew Bolton. It is a fun exhibit that fashion and music lovers alike will enjoy.

 

 

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