As I study Diana Vreeland, and her contributions to the Metropolitian Museum of Art's Costume Institute, I am constantly consumed with the thought of what it would have been like to have experienced the spectacles she created when in the context of what came before, there were no other exhibitions quite as grandiose as hers. In my fashion, studying history in general is like reading a play. Each era, each decade, each social movement has a story, with men and women as the players (some more dramatic than others), and fashion is what distinguishes on story from the next. Even though historical events are based on factual occurrences in time, our imagination of what it would have been like to have been around then, inspires how we will live today. Fashion IS theater because everyday you are living on this planet is your chance to create your own historical story for future generations to take inspiration from. Would you be part of a story that is worthy of a Met Gala presentation? I think its fascinating to think that we are creating history as we are living, and clothes speak volumes about your role in the play of life.
With that being said, Vogue has taken a look into the Mets' most recent exhibition, 'Punk: Chaos to Couture', and what is the concept behind the presentation the exhibition. Their debut video series, Voguepedia, looked in depth at how the exhibition and gala was constructed. Andrew Bolton, Curator of the exhibition, explains above the four manifestations of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) aesthetic explored in the exhibition, and how designers have incorporated the punk aesthetic in their designs throughout the years:
There is the use of hardware (use of studs, safety pins, zippers) as a symbol of cruelty, anarchy, and chaos. Bricolage, which is how punks would co-op everyday objects, and incorporate them into their clothes as a critique of consumer society, showing how designers today continue to recycle everyday objects and give them new meaning. The use of graffiti is explored and how punks would use it as a vehicle for propaganda to critique on economic stagnation and poverty, using words and statements on clothes to explore political positions. The last manifestation is the concept of destroy, where deconstructionism, ripping and tearing of clothes, was an aesthetic of poverty, and how it has been elevated through the years into high fashion designs.
Here, highly acclaimed make-up artist, Pat McGrath explains how punk essentially means rebellion and that make-up was used as a sort of war paint. Pat McGrath is the most influential make-up artist in fashion, and was in charge of creating 50 unique punk looks for the ushers if the Met Gala. She describes how she "slipped" into the industry, and what were inspirations for the looks of the evening.
Guido Palau is one of the most renowned hair stylist in the world and was responsible for creating head treatments for the exhibition. Guido describes punks in the 70s as "the noble dandies of another era". For him moving from Barmouth, England to London, and buying his first pair of bondage trousers, was a time when he realized that the Punks in the city really represented everything that fashion tries to convey to people. He realizes how every international designer has taken a punk aesthetic and used it.