Punk: Chaos to Couture

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Vivienne Westwood Seditionaries tee

This exhibit, which opened on May 9th, was filled to the brim with designs of Vivienne Westwood, Rodarte, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga, Givenchy… the list goes on.  The designs were either from the punk movement in the seventies and eighties, or new designs inspired by that movement. These clothes were deconstructed and made out of unconventional materials, and, in the case of a few t-shirts and an unlucky Chanel suit, covered in holes from (supposedly) cigarette burns. Accents were plentiful, and mainly consisted of gold and silver zippers, pins, chains and studs. In terms of fabrics, there was everything from leather to knitwear to loose cotton t-shirts.

The clear star of the show was Vivienne Westwood, who was and still is seen as a fashion leader of the punk movement in England. The designer has always stuck to her punk roots, and has a loyal group of followers who believe in her aesthetics. Her tee shirts stood out, and the exhibit showed over 16 of them in the first room. One of them was her well known seditionaries shirt (as seen left).

Rodarte Fall '08
Rodarte Fall '08
There were many other well-known designs showcased at this exhibit, including Gianni Versace’s safety pin dress from 1994. This dress was first worn out by Elizabeth Hurley, and I must say, she wore it very well. The gold safety pins were clearly alluding to the punk movement.  In addition, Rodarte knitwear from their Fall 2008 ready-to-wear collection was shown. These had loose, cobwebby weaves and an overall carefree, I don’t care what you think sort of vibe that was exemplified in the punk movement.

In addition, the punk movement was shown very well through the design and layout of all the rooms.  My favorite part, (shocking, yes) was the mock bathroom from CBGB’s, an old club back during the punk movement. I don’t know what it was about that bathroom, but the dust and dirt and graffiti was just so realistic and captivating. It really did make me wish I could go to CBGB’s, but it is now a John Varvatos store so I guess I can’t.

Overall, it was a stunning exhibit, and I strongly recommend going to anyone who might have lived the punk movement or would be interested in these stunning designs.

 Yours in Fashion,

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