Like the hippies before them, members of the punk movement were making a statement against fashion ~ but their influence has been felt inside its culture-sensitive halls ever since. Both were about an attitude of rebellion, about reshaping the world via the most common tools we use to move through it: our clothes.Punk started to take seed in the early 1970s, quickly blossoming into a vibrant subculture with swirling epicenters in New York and London. Its aesthetic leaned heavily on a Do-It-Yourself ethos, walking a fine line between fragility and vulgarity. It’s a dichotomy that is delicately explored by this summer’s Costume Institute exhibit at The Met, where correlations between punk’s DIY execution and couture’s ‘made-to-measure’ regulations find myriad, arresting parallels. Punks rejected fashion, but fashion has wholeheartedly embraced their visual symbols ever since. I believe that Internet culture has revived this spirit of individualization in style: fashion these days is whatever you or I want it to be. Social media is its own revolution! But nothing is meaningful without context, and fashion history especially is a well of cultural clues. I’m a hungry sponge for information, I read and see everything I can. It’s how I stay inspired and evolving ~ so I begged, bribed, and pleaded with The Met to let us in to shoot this special exhibition. However far away you may live, I knew you had to see it too! Though the punks may not have intended it, their effect on couturiers has created some of the most memorable moments of late-20th and early-21st century fashion legacy ~ from Elizabeth Hurley’s safety-pin Versace gown (above left), to half of Ricardo Tisci’s oeuvre at Givenchy. |ABOVE| couture beading inspired by safety pins |ABOVE + BELOW| Vivienne Westwood’s crude take on a culture she helped to create |ABOVE| self-inflicted Sharpie-style scribbles take on a couture twist, in delicate beading |ABOVE + BELOW| ‘trash’ couture |ABOVE + BELOW| go out and make your own art today ~ out of something, anything! If you’re going to be in New York between now and August 14th, I highly encourage you to escape the heat and pay a visit to The Metropolitan Museum, to slide down this dark little rabbit hole of twisted inspirations. |PHOTOS| by Austin Phelps
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