Punk: Chaos to Couture Press Preview by Lauren Santo Domingo

Lauren Santo Domingo posted this Instagram photo of the press preview for “Punk: Chaos to Couture”


Punk was seriously revitalized in 2013, with designers, museums, and musicians paying homage to the iconic counterculture. This article, originally posted on February 13th, 2013, highlighted Punk: From Chaos to Couture, an acclaimed exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.