Last year’s fashion week exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, did not fund the success the museum had hoped for. That, combined with the general feel that NYC’s fashion scene has become far too polite and reformed, is what makes the Met’s exhibition this year so surprising and exciting. It’s called Punk: Chaos to Couture, and it speaks for itself.
Andrew Bolton is the museum’s Costume Institute curator and launched the event. He recognized that Punk “prized originality and individuality above all else.” The event will open officially on May 9th, and the Met hopes to see an influx of visitors to the exhibit similar to the 661,509 it saw in 2011. 2012’s more uppity show only brought in 339,838 total, a disappointing comparison.
The exhibition will include over 100 designs that reflect punk from its origins in the 1970s to modern day. All told, it will bring an old favorite back to the forefront of high fashion. Whereas recent fashion has been cultured and polite, this punk exhibition will bring an anti-establishment, anti-privileged feel that is the norm for the Met. But punk culture’s dedication to individuality will connect it with the core principles of fashion today.
“Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to
appropriate punk’s aesthetic forcefulness,” Bolton said. The exhibition will be complete with period music videos, a multimedia experience.
Nick Knight, who was the creative consultant to the exhibition says that “the visceral power of punk is that it is not about people following what other people are doing, it’s about people doing something their own way. If there’s a message then that’s it: don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do.” Knight added, “Of course, we’re bound to see a massive resurgence in the punk look itself, because of this exhibition,” he said.
The exhibition is being made possible by Moda Operandi, which was co-founded by Lauren Santo Domingo and Aslaug Magnusdottir. The main source of funding for the Costume Instutute’s exhibitions, acquisitions, and improvements, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit gala will take place on Monday, May 6th. The benefit will provide a preview of the exhibition and is being co co-chaired by actress Rooney Mara, Moda Operandi’s Lauren Santo Domingo, Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, and Vogue’s Anna Wintour.