Thursday, May 9, 2013

Met Ball, Where was the Punk?

Surely I wasn't the only one disappointed with the outfits on show at this years Met ball?

The Met ball is always a huge night for fashion but with so many red carpet events now being televised the red carpet starlets are starting to get a bit bland and predictable so introducing punk as the theme was a genius move to get things all fresh an fun again in fashion.  Or not.

I read an article on-line just before the event that said people were at a bit of a loss as to what to wear as, after paying $25,000 for a ticket no one wanted to show up looking ugly or as if they were dressed for Halloween   The result was that many people seemed to ignore the theme altogether including, rather confusingly, the organiser Anna Wintour...


These are all lovely but nothing to do with punk?

or turn to the clichéd stereotypes of punk which looked awful.

Some got punk confused with goth?

And some thought that adding some spikes and zips to a dress or clutch was enough.

lovely but not punk

A few people did do an ok job...

While a huge number were just dull.

I expected so much more!

or just downright ugly!

I actually quite like the design of this she just looks awful in it.

Seriously, what?

And what happened to the guys.  Does the theme not apply to them?

Why wasn't Mr Darcy dressed as Mr Darcy (thus steampunkish) or the guy from Adam and the Ants?

I guess really we shouldn't be so surprised that punk and couture don't go so well together as this great article in the NYtimes explains
but here is my take on it.

To me many styles are stuck in their time.  Anything Goth has to resemble the gothic architecture and style of that time, same goes for 80's disco and to a lesser extent rock.  But punk wasn't about music (yes there were lots of bands that represent punk but they didn't make punk) it was a social movement.  Masses of young people giving the finger to the future that was being made for them that they didn't want. A movement against what was expected of them from society and a rebellion against both the superficial world of disco (through ripped clothes) and the earthy hippies (mohawks).  This means that punk can easily be moved into a new age and restyled to rebel against the norms of the day.  This is where I though designers would go with the punk theme and this is what everyone seems to of missed.

Here is what I wanted to see more of...

Punk can be achieved and still be pretty.  The dresses above are challenging the ideas of feminine meaning soft and delicate by juxta positioning classic feminine looks with rougher, tougher materials like denim and leather.  The contrast and the "I'm feminine but could still kick your ass" look makes it punk.

Closely related to the hard ass feminine look is the making feminine look ridiculous by following all the rules of what makes something girly but taking it to the extreme through use of make-up, hair and miss matched or exaggerated accessories.  So many of the pretty but not punk dresses I listed at the start of this post would have looked amazing if they had been paired with trainers or big boots, a bobble hat or stripy mittens.  Punk.

Using prints is a great way of making a punk statement be it a print of a revolutionary figure, a protest sign or in Drew's dress above taking a very feminine looking dress and covering it in what looks like giant bug body parts.  Punk.

My favourite "new punk" look however has to be the one that challenges the feminine ideal the most (bonus that it lets me feature my favourite designer Guo Pei) by taking what is supposed to be the perfect feminine body shape and contorting it to ridiculous extremes.  Punk.

I think this will have to go down in Met ball history as the biggest, most disappointing missed opportunity.  Plus where were all the hats!  Hats can be super punk if you follow all the rules listed above.

real butterflies

With so much that could have been brilliant to so much that was boring and bland, surely I'm not the only one feeling disappointed?


  1. Yes you're right, lookslike lots of people just didin't have the confidence to go punk or lacked real awareness of the potential of the punk look.

    I've always thought there's a lot of crossover between punk and goth clothes by the way, certainly when I used to go to goth clubs a few years ago, some people would look quite 'punk'. There were also a lot of updated interpretations of the goth look too

  2. Here in Japan a wee wander through Harajuku will show you the huge cross over between punk and goth. My favourites are the kids that dress all in white and still look crazy goth like.