Punk: Chaos To Couture [MET 2013]

[Photo: Miss Amanda]

I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET had, has and will always have a significant impact on my life, for it is probably one of my favorite places in New York City. Every year, however, I look forward to one particular exhibit in the Spring/Summer which attracts not only Gala guests, but fashion designers, enthusiasts, and street style connoisseurs alike; the Costume Exhibit. 

Known for the noteworthy Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit of 2011, and the recent Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit of 2012, the Costume Exhibition is visited by thousands of New Yorkers and tourists every year. This year, the MET Gala not only celebrated Queen B [Beyoncé] as their honorary guest, but also presented an innovative, and dark collection for the Costume Exhibit of 2013, Punk: Chaos to Couture.

Note: the 'Costume' Exhibit does not necessarily only feature 'costumes' per se, it actually features past [often avant-garde] runway attire pertaining to the theme.

[Taken from the MET]

This exhibit was quite reminiscent to Savage Beauty, for its ora was dark and rebellious. The exhibit consisted of around six rooms, which were primarily either white (some with colored lighting) or black. Many of the mannequins (those who did not have a headpiece, mainly) sported big, thick colored or black "punk" wigs, depending on the shades of the garments. Upon entering, these first two pieces (above), stand across from each other in red ensembles. I particularly loved the red suit (left hand side), for the top was constructed as a straight jacket, already setting an eerie tone. The dress, (right hand side)  heavy and velvet-like, is a nice grounded piece as well and successfully balanced the stature of the mannequin in the lighter red. 

I truly liked the opening pieces they chose, for it already creates a discussion of power, a strong nod to what the "Punk" era was really all about. I believe these pieces created a strong foundation for the rest of the exhibit. 

[Taken from the MET]

The Hardware room had a ton of cool pieces, and introduced this really fascinating idea of deconstruction. A lot of the garments were either ripped or shred toward the bottoms, or held together with staples, safety pins, wires, studs, or spikes (see gowns above). Some of the gowns featured in this room were Viktor & Rolf, John Galliano, and Dolce and Gabbana. 

The Hardware room also had beautiful studded jackets made of either white or black leather. I really adored the geometric cuts and shapes of these jackets and the contrast between the hard edges and soft façades. Viktor & Rolf and Givenchy jackets were mainly featured in this room (see below).

[Photo: Miss Amanda]

Another cool part of this room would have to be the styrofoam walls, (see right), they added a unique and unexpected element, and foreshadowed the graffiti room a bit (which comes later in the exhibition).

[Taken from the MET]

The Bricolage room was another one of my favorites, for every piece in there were garments created with garbage bags and plastic items. A nuance of reconstruction is apparent in this section, for the point is ultimately, reusing old materials. The designs in the center of the room are Gareth Pugh, and I also liked the black, garbage bag-like and avant-garde Alexander McQueen gowns in this room as well (not shown).

[Taken from the MET]

The Graffiti room was full of diverse textiles and prints, which appeared on shirts, jackets, pants, but most loudly- on gowns. Many of these ball gowns and garments (see above) are from various Dolce and Gabbana collections, as well as a few pieces from Vivienne Westwood. 

[Photo: Miss Amanda]

The Graffiti room paid homage to the graphic art of the "Punk" era, and introduced the bold idea that punk is not necessarily black or gothic. I loved the ambience of this room, for it was not only contrastive, but it also expressed a more poetic, gentle, and artistic side to punk.

[Taken from the MET]

My perhaps favorite room of all however, was the last room, titled, Destroy. I really loved the catch 22 of this exhibition, for throughout- there are themes of deconstruction and reconstruction, and at the very end, the viewers see a harmony of those two concepts in garments from Comme des Garçons Autumn/ Winter 2004-2005 Collections (See above- pieces in black and white). What I adored about these garments the most was that they challenged what we know as fashion, dropping the normal concept of a jacket to the waistline, making a sleeve and leg pant connect, and overall, creating a really innovative and out of the box way of thinking about fashion less as clothing, and more as art.

Comme des Garçons Fall 2004- this piece is featured in Punk: Chaos to Couture
[Taken from Vogue.it]

Overall, this exhibition truly hit the mark on what it means to push boundaries in clothing and attitude. I believe it was a proper and honestly rather cool interpretation of the evolution of punk. I also loved the concepts and threads of deconstruction and reconstruction within the garments, for it not only appeared unique aesthetically, but also told a powerful narrative.

Punk: Chaos to Couture closes August 14, so definitely stop by the MET if you haven't seen it yet, it's well worth it.

“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.”
 [Macbeth 1.5]

Cheers! x


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