Style Notes: Met's Punk Exhibit Underwhelms

Marc Jacobs Lorenzo Martone Met Gala - P 2012
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Marc Jacobs Lorenzo Martone Met Gala - P 2012

Four stylish stories to chase those Monday blues away.

As designers and their celebrity dates scramble to polish off their jaw-dropping looks for Monday night's punk-themed Met Ball, the corresponding exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is proving to be less impressive than the red carpet runway that celebrates it. The New York Times’ qualm with “Punk: Chaos to Couture” is that iconic looks are presented free of the scene’s authentic grit or drugs, signature hair elements such as mohawks and spikes, or context of any kind of historical moments, like when designer Katharine Hamnett wore a T-shirt declaring war on nuclear missiles to meet British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Though it highlights punk influences on fashion, such as the black wedding dresses from Zandra Rhodes, the garbage bag collection by Gareth Pugh and unforgettable pieces from Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, the Andrew Bolton-curated exhibit is so free of emotional opinion that it misses the mark altogether, even with a running commentary from Vivienne Westwood, according to NYT. “The true punks — those who lived and survived that moment — should find an exquisite irony in the idea that their no-future kick at a dead-end society should, 40 years on, have moved from a defiant statement from society’s impoverished and self-proclaimed social outcasts to a display of clothes for global celebrities and the super-rich having a ball.” The exhibit opens Thursday and runs until Aug. 14. [NYT]

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Keira Knightley may have committed the ultimate fashion faux pax at her super intimate wedding this past weekend. While exchanging vows with Klaxons rocker James Righton, the singer wore a champagne-colored tulle dress that’s oddly reminiscent of a Rodarte number she wore to a BAFTA party in 2008, which she attended with her beau of the time, Homeland actor Rupert Friend. Thankfully, the ceremony was privy to only eleven guests, in which the actress accessorized the dress with a Chanel jacket, a whimsical floral headpiece and Ray Ban Wayfarer shades. [Telegraph]

Barneys is readying to makeover its Beverly Hills store, adding “gray marble floors, glass, stainless steel frames, gold scrim, and bright-white lighting.” It’s all part of CEO Mark Lee’s vision to reinvigorate the department store, reestablish its authority in niche luxury and appeal to couples who shop together (look for men’s and women’s sections of dual-gender brands to line passageways). And with the closure of the CO-OP chain, the company is focused on touting smaller brands with less than $1 billion in sales rather than the more accessible lines of established designers (sorry, Michael Michael Kors) and is looking to open a new location in downtown Manhattan. [Bloomberg]

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Another set of fashion bloggers is making the jump from computer screen to shelves – this time, it’s Bag Snob founders Tina Craig and Kelly Cook who have signed with Beanstalk Group for a new lifestyle brand called Snob Essentials. A line of leather handbags, retailing in department stores from $250 to $400, is just the beginning of pending offerings that could stretch into denim, footwear, sportswear and home, all with the goal “to eventually offer e-commerce on Snob Essentials, not only of our own brand but multibrands at different price points—anything we deem Snob-worthy—whether it's a $50 top or a $20,000 bag," says Craig. It’s not the duo’s first try at design, since they’ve previously collaborated with DKNY and DL1961. [Racked]