Sid Vicious definitely would not approve. But on May 6, the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York celebrates the opening of the exhibition “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” Co-chaired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, along with actress Rooney Mara and designers Lauren Santo Domingo and Riccardo Tisci, the gala is considered the haute-est of all fashion events; tickets are more elusive than a heartwarming smile from the icy editor known as “Nuclear Wintour.”
The irony is overwhelming. Punk, both the music and the fashion that sprang from the sound, was wild, shocking and totally anti-establishment. Yet some of the biggest names in fashion, film, music and sports will attend the event in some version of punkified fashion. [Wish you could be there? Do the next best thing by catching the live stream of arrivals at 7 p.m. EST at www.Vogue.com.]
Andrew Bolton, curator of the show and life-long lover of punk everything, has said, “We’re trying to highlight the more intellectual, artistic side of punk.” But that doesn’t exclude exhibiting archival ripped T-shirts (many from the collection of Adam Ant), jackets and pants held together with safety pins, tartan plaids with cigarette burns, and scuffed Doc Marten boots. Also included in the show will be plastic bag dresses by British designer Gareth Pugh and iconic punk designs by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren.
The vintage clothes, dating from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, are so shrunken and narrow in size [best to fit chain-smoking, heroin-shooting musicians] that special male mannequins with 34-inch chests and 28-inch waists had to be ordered for this museum show.
Before the opening of this show, the biggest debate has been whether Wintour would lift her ban on all things involving Kim Kardashian, and let the pregnant personality girl, who is dating rapper and aspiring designer Sean Combs, attend the gala. She did. So, in some small way, anarchy does still reign.