June 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Flipping through the imposing art book that accompanies the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, which explores punk rock’s influence on fashion, is like hearing your favorite Screamers song played in a mall. First, you feel bad—it’s more proof that everything gets sold out. Then you suspect that it’s some kind of dada trick. How else to explain sentences like this: “In punk’s spirit of revolution, Moda Operandi is the first online luxury retailer to offer unprecedented access to runway collections from the world’s top designers.” In punk’s spirit of revolution, my first instinct was to set the book on fire.
But arson isn’t the most fun you can have with the fashion world’s latest depredation of counterculture. Curator Andrew Bolton captured the spirit of the show in a video interview: “Even though [Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld] is playing with the idea of the aesthetic of poverty,” he says, fingering a Chanel jacket riddled with carefully hemmed holes, “it’s still very much about luxury.” Deterioration has never looked so good. He says that punk’s defining trait, DIY, “is almost beyond couture,” because when you customize your leather jacket, it’s one of a kind. With this plaudit, Bolton neatly dissolves DIY’s political aim of anticorporate self-reliance and reframes it as high fashion’s favorite titillation: rarity. read more
PHOTOGRAPH: Gleb Garanich