Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), 1982, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Peter Lindbergh.

Punk Fashion, once Defined by Malcolm McClaren, now by Condé Nast

John Lydon, 1976, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Ray Stevenson/Rex USA.

Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), Vogue, March 2011
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by David Sims.

Rodarte (American, founded 2005), Vogue, July 2008, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by David Sims.

Patti Smith, late 1970s, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Caroline Coon, Camera Press.

Sid Vicious, 1977, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Dennis Morris – all, rights reserved.


Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor
Exhibition Hall, Second Floor
Punk: Chaos to Couture
May 9-August 14, 2013

Punk: Chaos to Couture examines punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the 1970s through its continuing influence today.

“Punk’s signature mixing of references was fueled by artistic developments such as Dada and postmodernism,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “so it makes sense to present this exhibition in a museum that also shows the broader output of those movements. Indeed, that dialogue between art and fashion is what makes The Costume Institute so singular. Projects like this don’t happen without sponsorship, and we greatly appreciate the generosity of Moda Operandi, and its co-founders Aslaug Magnusdottir and Lauren Santo Domingo.”

Celebrating the exhibition opening, the Costume Institute Benefit took place Monday, May 6, 2013. Beyoncé served as Honorary Chair. Co-Chairs were Academy Award-nominated actress Rooney Mara; Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-Founder of Moda Operandi; Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director of Givenchy; and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. This fundraising event is Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

“Since its origins, punk has had an incendiary influence on fashion,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk’s aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness.”

Exhibition Overview The exhibition features 100 designs. Original punk garments from the mid-1970s are contrasteded with recent fashion to show the debt that haute couture and ready-to-wear owe to punk's visual symbols, paillettes replaced with safety pins, feathers with razor blades, and bugle beads with studs. Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of in-your-face and the couture concept of "made-to-measure," the exhibition is organized around materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the in-your-face style. Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes are animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.

Organized thematically, each of seven galleries have designated punk ‘heroes’ embodying core concepts behind fashions on view. The first gallery is devoted to CBGB in New York City, represented by Blondie, Richard Hell, The Ramones, and Patti Smith. Next is a gallery inspired by Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood and their Seditionaries boutique at 430 King’s Road in London. Clothes for Heroes gallery, embodied by Jordan, examines designers extending the visual language of punk, as originally articulated by McLaren and Westwood, merging social realism and artistic expression.

Do-it-yourself, punk’s enduring contribution to high fashion, is explored in the four final galleries: D.I.Y. Hardware, focusing on couture’s use of studs, spikes, chains, zippers, padlocks, safety pins, and razor blades, with Sid Vicious as its icon; D.I.Y. Bricolage, highlighting the impact of punk’s ethos of customization on high fashion, including the use of recycled materials from trash and consumer culture, as epitomized by Wayne County; D.I.Y. Graffiti and Agitprop, exploring punk’s tradition of provocation and confrontation through images and text exemplified by The Clash; and D.I.Y. Destroy, examining the effect of punk’s rip-it-to-shreds spirit, typified by Johnny Rotten, via torn and shredded garments associated with deconstructionism.

Designers in the exhibition will include Miguel Adrover, Thom Browne, Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Hussein Chalayan, Francisco Costa (Calvin Klein), Christophe Decarnin (Balmain), Ann Demeulemeester, Dior, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce and Gabbana), John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga), Katharine Hamnett, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf), Christopher Kane, Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Franco Moschino and Rossella Jardini (Moschino), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Miuccia Prada, Gareth Pugh, Zandra Rhodes, Hedi Slimane (Saint Laurent), Stephen Sprouse, Jun Takahashi (Undercover), Joseph Thimister, Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Gianni Versace, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto, and Vivienne Westwood.

The exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator, in the Met’s Costume Institute. Photographer Nick Knight is the exhibition’s creative consultant working with exhibition design consultant Sam Gainsbury (who was creative director for the Met’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition in 2011) and production designer Gideon Ponte (a set and production designer for photo shoots and feature films including Buffalo 66 and American Psycho). All mannequin head treatments and masks will be designed by Guido Palau, who also created treatments for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and last year’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.

Design for the 2013 Costume Institute gala benefit is created by Nick Knight, Sam Gainsbury, and Gideon Ponte with Raul Avila, who has produced the benefit décor since 2007. Additional funding for the gala benefit will be provided by Givenchy.

A book, Punk: Chaos to Couture, by Andrew Bolton, with an introduction by Jon Savage, and prefaces by Richard Hell and John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), accompanies the exhibition. The publication is illustrated with photographs of vintage punks and high fashion. Published by Metropolitan Museum of Art, the $45 catalogue (hard cover only) is distributed worldwide by Yale University Press.

Hussein Chalayan (British, born Cyprus, 1970), spring/summer 2003, Dazed and Confused, March 2003, Photograph by Eric Nehr.

Richard Hell, late 1970s, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Kate Simon.

Jordan, 1977, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph from Rex USA.

John Lydon, 1976, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Richard Young/Rex USA.


Zandra Rhodes in tattered and torn safety pin dress from 1977, Photo by Clive Arrowsmith. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.