Exposition Fashion French culture abroad Museums/Expos New York

NYC Expo : Punk, From Chaos to Couture

Post by Frank Cierpial

Frank Cierpial

Punk 3Ever since I have started making annual trips to Paris to help make my dream come true, I begin to go through a cycle of emotions. Spring is always the time of enlightenment, and the few weeks before going to Paris always seem to move so slowly. That is why I headed down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to write about a very exciting exhibit for me called “Punk: From Chaos to Couture”. The exhibit was very well planned out, very well displayed, and was exactly how it sounds. The exhibit aims to explain how a rebellious, anti-establishment, and creative style, kind of “do it yourself” fashion, became a large inspiration for some of the biggest designers in Haute Couture like Dolce and Gabbana, La Maison Balmain, and Gianni Versaci.


We start in dimly lit room that explains how punk began and perpetuates the age old question that punk connoisseurs still argue about till this day. “Where did Punk begin?” Some people believe it started in New York and some believe that it started in London. Even though I am a New Yorker, I am also a believer in history, and history dictates that Punk started in London. Sorry New York! We still love you though! And, what is the evidence? The woman who started the punk movement in fashion alongside her boyfriend Malcome Mclaren, Vivienne Westwood shaped the Punk style scene whilst working in his shop in London. She was infatuated by the shock value of punk and contributed heavily to it. Even though punk may not have been born in New York, The Punk Scene in New York was equally as important. In this room also, they had a recreation of the infamous and infamously disgusting CBGB’s bathroom.

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Next, you move into another dimly lit room that had a circular platform set up in the middle and all of these punk outfits in their true form presented on the platform. A lot of the pieces were done by Vivienne Westwood, but they had a few by “La Maison Balmain” and then you walk into a much brighter room and watch the progression of the integration of Punk style into Haute Couture. Designers like Dolce and Gabanna, Gianni Versaci, and Alexander McQueen were all displayed. But, I was floored that there were no Gaultiers after all that Gaultier has contributed on this subject in this expo!

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The last and final room in the exhibit showed the final result of the integration, which was quite amazing, it was a long black and white room with dresses everywhere with some of the most well known designers in the business from Vivienne Westwood to Christian Dior. The progression of fashion has always been something that captivated me, and it was truly an amazing experience to see how a “do it yourself” so looked down upon in its prime, became a major inspiration on some of the most prestigious runways.

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The expo runs until Aug. 14th 2013 at the Metropolitan museum of art in NYC.

1 Comment

  1. This is a wonderfully written article. I remember going to CBGB’s in the 80’s and cannot beleive that such an exhibit would ever exist at the Met Musuem of Art. Great Job Frank Cierpial!

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