PUNK: Chaos to Couture

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec

Recognized as the “grandest night of the year” since its commencement in 1948, the Costume Institute’s Met gala called attention to PUNK’s impact on high fashion. Drawing the who’s-who of fashion, Hollywood, the arts, athletics and society, this event marks a moment that establishes and confirms the current fashion trends, drawing from the theme of the evening. Ricardo Tisci, the designer of Givenchy and one of the co-chairs of this year’s Met Ball described the legacy of Punk as exuding “sexuality, darkness, rebellion and attitude”. A champion of defiant fashion, Mr. Tisci continues to emphasize a unique representation of high fashion.

During the evening we saw various interpretations of safety pins, rips and tears, chains, leather, and Mohawks. Initially identified as a subculture of the 70’s, Punk culture rejected societal norms in politics, music, fashion and much more. In an attempt to “piss of the establishment” and for shock values, punk fashion adapted DIY ethic.

MetClothing was literally held together with safety pins, layered with articles of trash, and tape. Individually customized with marker and paint, fashion became a representation of identity and dissatisfaction with the present state of society. This culture also marked a period of experimentation, men wearing skirts, kilts and the like. It was an “anything goes” type of expression.

While punk has taken on a new form in today’s light, many things still ring true and have come to be a timeless part of fashion. DIY has and will continue to plat a role in trends as individuals construct their own style and identity. And of course rebellion will always be a product of expression in the form of fashion… where would fashion be without it?


At the end of the day, the Met’s Spring 2013 Punk: Chaos to Culture exhibit is a confirmation of the power fashion has on society. Meant to assault society, punk inevitably became a cardinal thread in the fashion industry forever. However the exhibit successfully create a commotion surrounding the fact that actual toilets were installed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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