How excited is everyone for the Met Gala this evening? It’s a fete for the opening of exhibit Punk: Chaos to Couture, open May 9th – August 14th. Hosted by Rooney Mara, Lauren Santo Domingo, Riccardo Tisci and Anna Wintour. The exhibit is showing how influential punk was on high fashion and the direction of ready to wear. For curator Andrew Bolton, who also curated the exhibit, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, it’s personal.
Bolton gave an interview with Flare magazine journalist Emily Ramshaw. Right away you know what to expect of the exhibit: “with homages to Debbie Harry and Johnny Rotten, the original Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood collabo and ‘punk’ labels such as Rodarte and Givenchy, already has us revising the safety pin.”
In only 9 months, Bolton brought the exhibit to life. When asked why punk, Bolton is quick to reflect on a time when fashion was political and challenging expectations of gender, sexuality, and even race. “I haven’t seen anything like that for years actually: that brave, heroic stance many people had through fashion.” The way Bolton talks about the confident courage that radiated through the clothes punks wore makes me instantly want to go buy a leather jacket and tear it apart. Bolton says he was too young to experience it, but would read about it in magazines and see it on television. “Punk was very empowering for women as well. The Slits, Poly Styrene, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith – all these extraordinarily creative women were given a platform.”
When Bolton begins to describe the atmosphere of the exhibit, it’s a high-low mix that I can get behind: “The show is looking at punk’s legacy in high fashion, so I wanted to locate it in a couture atelier. When you walk through the exhibition, it’s as if you’re walking through the ateliers at Givenchy or Dior-18th-century rooms with boiserie panelling, which a lot of the couture houses have in Paris. But we’ve clad them all in DIY Styrofoam or graffiti.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? Such elegant, infamous houses decorated like the grungy clubs the punks would go to after hours.
The best part of the article is near the end though and that’s when Ramshaw asks Bolton about his favourite pieces in the exhibition to which he replies: “All the early Westwood pieces are really interesting because they’re still potent now. When you look at some of the images on the T-shirts, such as the two naked cowboys or upside-down crucifix with the swastika on it, it’s still shocking. Also, the pieces by Rei Kawakubo, the heavily deconstructed ones – they are so beautiful – you really get to see the intricacy.”
Doesn’t it sound divine? And thanks to Vogue, you can watch the red carpet live tomorrow night by visiting Samsung, Moda Operandi or the Metropolitan Museum of Art websites as all three will be streaming the ball simultaneously.