The Met Gala’s punk theme is posing a particularly difficult sartorial challenge for some habitual attendees. Here, they share their dress inspirations, memories of punk, and reflect on youthful rebellion.
I think I’m going with the “pretty punk.” I’m wearing a Paco Rabanne metal-mesh dress (top left). And then the shoes are black leather Louboutins with silver spikes. They also double as a weapon, in case of necessity.
What does punk mean to you?
I remember as a kid going to London and seeing Dr. Martens and lots of piercings and my mother just looking at me and saying, “Please don’t do that to yourself.”
I don’t know what I’m wearing. And I’m really stressed out about it! A friend says he has a Zandra Rhodes dress, but I still have yet to see it.
What if that doesn’t pan out?
I have a McQueen thing from his last collection. I’m playing with the idea of some kind of Mohawk, like with feathers or fur. But then I would need a much simpler dress. I had a great Balmain dress that’s leather and all crystal-studded (center). But I already wore it to the Met.
I’ve got a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda floral dress (right) that is beautiful and handmade. In a way there’s something sort of do-it-yourself about it that I think is just conceptually punk. You won’t see me with a Mohawk. I can promise you that.
Did you used to dress rebelliously?
I think my act of rebellion was wearing my dog’s choke collar around my neck at one point.
What kind of dog was it?
It was a Yorkie!
International Editor at Large, Vogue
Did you ever have a punk phase?
I was horrified by punk! I was living a nice life in the Kentish countryside, and I couldn’t relate. And I was young enough to be very much impressed by the sensationalist news coverage. I remember the Sex Pistols on the BBC defacing images of the queen. And we had to swear allegiance to the queen each morning!
What made you come around?
Zandra Rhodes punk couture. Her shop had been filled with romantic printed chiffon dresses—and then suddenly it was all safety pins and ball-link chains. And of course Deborah Harry—she was absorbing the sartorial element but perhaps not the angst behind it all. That I could relate to.
Who in fashion is truly punk?
Lee [Alexander] McQueen had a genuine punk streak to him, there was a rage and something very visceral about his response even when it was romantic. There’s a little vein of that in Riccardo [Tisci]. But we live in a different world. Margaret Thatcher closing the mines, the constant threat of the IRA: It was a sort of raw moment, and you can’t simulate that. Designers now are looking to punk, but it can’t ever be that visceral and potent. It’s only going to be nostalgia for the imagery of the moment, which of course is very potent itself.
*This article originally appeared in the April 29, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.
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