With their black leather, studded jackets, ripped jeans, bondage trousers and messages of rebellion and anarchy, punks from the 1970s probably never envisioned that a major museum and stars from around the world would be celebrating their influence on fashion 40 years later.
But the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing just that with a new exhibition, “Punk: Chaos to Couture.”
The exhibition celebrated its opening with a star-studded gala with singer Beyonce, who wore Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci, serving as honorary chair.
Hundreds of punk styles ranging from the mid-70s at Vivienne Westwood’s and Malcolm McLaren’s London boutique and images of The Sex Pistols to examples of punk’s impact on haute couture with clothing by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Miuccia Prada and John Galliano gracing the red carpet.
Model Liu Wen chose McQueen for her punk look.
“For me it was really fun to do that. I love punk fashion but I really didn’t really listen to punk music, but I really like the fashion,” said Liu, who is considered to be China’s first supermodel.
Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson and her granddaughter Daisy Bevan made the night a family affair. The trio all wore rings that once belonged to late actress Natasha Richardson and all prepped for the carpet together.
Richardson said it was her mom’s idea.
“She said look, can you come up to the apartment so we can get ready together. Because it’s just such a one off that the three of us to be in the same city and three generations. We use to come here with Natasha. So this is a homage to Natasha.”
Madonna had fun with the night’s theme in a costume from Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. The singer attended the evening with Tisci and her boyfriend Brahim Zaibat.
Before heading into the event she gave her definition of punk.
“No rules. Just doing what you want. Anti-establishment, going with … not thinking about other people’s approval. Being your own stylist,” said Madonna.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker stood out with a head piece designed by Philip Treacy which she said was light as a feather. Parker said the hat took a few weeks to make and that she had no input on the design.
“One does not mess in his studio, in his salon. He doesn’t need any help, he certainly doesn’t need my help,” she said.
The exhibit, arranged over several themed galleries, focuses on punk’s concept of do-it-yourself and its impact on high fashion and ready-to-wear.
Punk’s influence on Italian designer Gianni Versace is shown in his gowns with silver and gold safety pins and a black knit and leather dress embroidered with gold metal studs.
Other examples include Alexander McQueen’s coatdress made of black synthetic material, imitating trash bags, and a coat of bubble wrap, Helmut Lang’s jacket of silver and blue patent leather with aluminum foil and metal bottle caps and Rei Kawakubo’s blouse and skirt of black polyester and silk satin and taffeta.
The exhibit will run through August 14.