Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Do you feel lovely, punk?

Punk is the Met Ball’s “theme” this year, just don’t expect anyone to wreck the gaff.

Thu, Apr 25, 2013, 10:19


There’s a really interesting article by Nitsuh Abebe about punk and its current tangle with high fashion. This year’s exhibit at the Met’s shindig has a punk theme, examining the roots of the ‘movement’ (if you can call them that) in sartorial terms, and examining the high fashion response.

For those who project, seek, and interpret a greater meaning on to/from/within punk (of which, of course, there are several), the uncomfortable truth for purists is that punk was an aesthetic before it was anything else, as Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren took cues from the Kings Road and the New York Dolls to create a dialogue of fashion between customer, inspiration and their stock, a collaboration that gave youth culture a brand new image – something that has probably only happened in a similar way once since, with grunge.

For a refresh, revisit the greatest book on punk (in my opinion), Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming.

Meanwhile, back in New York, one of the most un-punk people around, Anna Wintour isn’t exactly piercing a safety pin through society’s cheek with her the limits she’s placed on the Met Ball. She rejected a nude sculpture of Vivienne Westwood for the exhibition.

In a way, projecting a ‘punk theme’ on to the Met Ball’s stuffy image is kind of embarrassing. It evokes a teenager on My Super Sweet Sixteen choosing an ‘edgy’ theme for her suburban palace party, dressing up as Avril Lavigne and having a food fight or something. There is nothing less punk than a bunch of millionaires wearing couture on a red carpet. Anyway, listen to Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibition talking about Chaos to Couture.