The Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical as I entered this dark and moderately loud exhibit. I had no prior knowledge about the major impact that punk rock music played in fashion and society. This period of angst and rebellion all began in the 1970’s…way back before I was born.
As I traveled through this exhibit I thought, “I wish I could have been around for the peak of this chaos.” I was in awe of the manequins decked out in some of the most unique and oddly beautiful clothing. Ripped knits, graffiti prints and studs were everywhere. It was hard to know where to look. Sky high wigs completed each of the ecclectic looks.
My favorite looks were the pieces created out of recycled products. Products such as garbage bags and paper envelopes were used to create beautiful gowns, examples of the “do it yourself” aspect of the punk generation. The creativity was out of this world, as was the fact that high fashion designers were inspired by the chaos.
Never did I expect names like Prada, Dior, and Alexander McQueento be considered “punk.” My image of these designers was altered as I began to see their dark pieces of clothing held together with safety pins, covered in fish nets and studs. Of course, none of those pieces would have been possible if not for the original iconic influences of designers, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaran.
All of a sudden the chaos stopped. I was no longer under colored flourescent lights. I could no longer hear the head pounding music and the words of the punk rockers. Oddly, I began to feel rather uncool in my red, floral Urban Outfitters dress and Birkenstocks. The Met was suddenly peaceful and the classical art was just an exhibit away.
I have one main reason why The Met is my favorite museum in NYC. In one room I can explore a world of chaos and rebellion and in the next I can stare at a Vincent Van Gogh painting. There is really no place like it.