The show is the ultimate confirmation that, despite attempts to be as unpalatable as possible, punk was absorbed by the culture around it, not least by blue-chip fashion designers on the prowl for new ideas. At once trashy and sexy, punk provided excellent slumming opportunities, which this exhibition shows to good effect amid wide-screens flashing images of Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and the Clash in performance. But fashion has rarely looked as frivolous, beside the point and 1 percent-ish as here.The Economist: The Legacy Of Punk
Yet for a movement that was largely defined by its music, it feels odd that only one gallery blares the extreme and energetic sounds of The New York Dolls, Richard Hell, The Slits, The Damned and others. This feels like a concession to the typical Met patron, and is a good example of the problem with this exhibition: the anti-establishment story of the punk movement cannot properly be told in the hallowed costume section of the Met. Visitors to this show should expect eye-catching displays, not a coherent narrative. The presentation is vivid and often fun, but anyone hoping for depth will be left with a proper punk sneer.The Smart Set: The Death Instinct - Punk is boredom, desperation, and death. So is fashion.
It is the high-fashion aspect of the Met’s exhibit (curated by Andrew Bolton, who heads the Costume Institute at The Met) that has drawn early criticism. Even if punk began as a fashion, the criticism goes, it was fashion with a purpose. The purpose was to shake things up, to make life uncomfortable for the status quo. Punk can’t be reduced to a fashion statement or an inspiration for expensive sweaters and dresses from the ritziest fashion houses, can it? What about that t-shirt supposedly worn by Richard Hell? It was a white t-shirt with the words “please kill me” scrawled across the front. Doesn’t that t-shirt cross a line? Walking around New York City in the 1970s with that shirt on was an invitation to real danger. That dangerous side of punk was an honest confrontation with meaninglessness, nihilism, despair. Sid Vicious may have been a punk kid who hung around Westwood and McLaren’s store shoplifting and making a nuisance of himself. But he was also the punk kid who shook his fist at the world and drugged himself to an early grave. That is a genuine darkness. It would seem to have nothing to do with Versace or Helmut Lang.Bookforum: Sew It Up And Start Again
Flipping through the imposing art book that accompanies the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, which explores punk rock’s influence on fashion, is like hearing your favorite Screamers song played in a mall. First, you feel bad—it’s more proof that everything gets sold out. Then you suspect that it’s some kind of dada trick. How else to explain sentences like this: “In punk’s spirit of revolution, Moda Operandi is the first online luxury retailer to offer unprecedented access to runway collections from the world’s top designers.” In punk’s spirit of revolution, my first instinct was to set the book on fire.The New Yorker: The Many Failures of the Met's 'Punk: Chaos To Couture"
Of course, there’s much irony to the whole thing — the fashion world’s most exclusive evening with every entitled celebrity on the planet gathered in the name of punk, an anti-fashion, anti-establishment movement of working-class heroes. And Miley, Nicole and Kim trying to mimic the spirit of a DIY-based movement about subversiveness by wearing priceless designer gowns, kooky hairstyles and black eye shadow.
But let’s face it, punk was appropriated by the establishment long ago. That includes the luxury fashion industry, which has been using safety pins and slashes to sell cool for decades.
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