Punk Lives

Tonight, May 6, is the Met Gala in New York celebrating Costume International’s exihibition Punk: Chaos to Couture.

It’s funny how things tend to be cyclical; how ideas and fashion that seem so radical at their onset tend to eventually become what they were rebelling against in the first place—The Mainstream! Just look at fashion’s recent fascination with studs, or some of fall’s edgy hair and makeup looks. They all look pretty punk to me.


The month before my first day of high school saw the release of Rock and Roll High School featuring The Ramones, and my baptism into punk rock. Within a short period of time, I was sporting black Converse high tops, ripped clothes with safety pins, and a lot of rebellion. Punk was about rejecting the values of the mainstream, and expressing discontent through music, literature, fashion, and visual arts.

Punk fashion was all about non-conformity. The idea of do-it-yourself deconstructed secondhand clothing was partially a statement about anti consumerism. Ironically, punk has had an influence on fashion that continues to this day with designer’s filtching some of the iconic aesthetic of the movement and selling some very expensive pieces. Truth be told, I do own some beautiful studded flats!

Unlike some of my peers, I am eager to see the show at the Met and must admit I am quite a bit mellower than I should be as a former self-proclaimed punk. And so it is that as we age we accept and appreciate many things. Maybe we didn’t totally change the world, but we did leave an indelible mark.

Costume Institute Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum In New York City of Punk: Chaos to Couture runs from May 9–August 14.

There is a book to accompany the Exhibition, also titled 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).

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