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Polish up your safety pins. Rip your jeans. Dust off your black leather jacket. And start downloading the Sex Pistols to your iPod.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is going totally punk for the 2013 exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture” to run from May 9 to Aug. 11.
The exciting new exhibit will focus on how the punk movement changed from its London birthplace, where it was spawned by political and social issues, to New York, where it became part of the downtown garage music scene. Eventually, the punk aesthetic impacted mainstream fashion, high fashion designers, international runways and red carpets.
Some insiders feel the 2013 exhibit has a good chance of meeting and pehaps topping the record-breaking attendance of the 2011 “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit.
Fittingly, the annual gala on May 6th will be co-chaired by Rooney Mara, who transformed herself to play the punk heroine Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Other co-chairs include Moda Operandi Creator and CEO Lauren Santo Domingo, Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci and Vogue editrix Anna Wintor.
“History is one of the greatest sources of inspiration in fashion and we are especially excited for this exhibition because of punkâ•?s long-lasting impact on fashion,” explains Santo Domingo.
Moda Operandi, which launched in February 2011, is underwriting the show and recently raised $36 million from fashion firms including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and IMG.
Visitors will see iconic punk ensembles from Sid Vicious‘s self-made rage rags to The Ramones’ black leather jackets and skinny jeans to Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood couture pieces. No punk influence retrospective would be complete without Gianni Versace’s infamous safety pin gown worn by then little-known actress Elizabeth Hurley, a frock still referred to in the British media as “That Dress.”
Designs by Azzedine Alaïa, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Rodarte, Alexander Wang and Haider Ackermann will also be featured in themed galleries such as “Rebel Heroes,” “The Couturiers Situationists,” “Pavilions of Anarchy and Elegance,” “Punk Couture,” “DIY Style” and “La Mode Destroy.”
The exhibit will also include members of the mid-’90s group known as the Antwerp Eight, including deconstructionists Martin Margiella and Ann Demeulemeester, who continued to play with punk elements, ripped seams, exposed linings and raw edges.
Margiella staged his first 1988 Paris fashion show in a bottle-strewn vacant lot on the outskirts of the city with stone-faced models walking in ripped and shredded designs — rock music blasting the neighborhood. Hangers, plastic and bottle caps were fashioned into clothing. A later collection featured clothing with printed images of fur coats and sweaters. He even took broken dishes and old car seats and turned them into dresses.
All this fashion experimentation and creativity, including the late designer Stephen Sprouse‘s acid-hued and graffitti-splattered mid-80s collections, owe a nod to Punk. In Fall 2006 and 2008, Jacobs used Sprouse’s 1987 grafitti leopard prints for Louis Vuitton bags, shoes and scarves, which were instantly sell-out collectibles.
“Punk broke all the rules when it came to fashion,” Andrew Bolton, Costume Institute curator explained to WWD, adding “The biggest legacy is DIY [do-it-yourself] and deconstruction. Punk has had one of the biggest influences on fashion over the last 30 years, and sometimes people wear punk without even realizing it.”
The only remaining member of the Sex Pistols — Johnny Rotten aka Johnny Lydon — caused quite a stir with his reportedly oafish behavior at “AngloMania,” the Costume Institute’s 2006 exhibit that featured the Sex Pistols’ late ‘70s Seditionaries collection by Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. According to the New York Times, he called artist/director Julian Schnabel “Julian Snob” and handed his jacket to Anna Wintour, who politely took it and fobbed it off to a museum attendant.
Will Mr. Rotten be back this year? Bolton, somewhat evasively, takes the high road about this to WWD: “He was so inventive in terms of his self-presentation, he will definitely be in the presentation.”
Anyone else think he should be the guest of honor?
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