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“Punk: Chaos to Couture”

The punk movement might seem a counterintuitive theme for an institution as hallowed as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, but leave it to fashion to weave that cross-cultural, cross-contextual fabric. “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” (on view at the Met’s Costume Institute from May 9 through August 14) examines the influence of punk on high fashion from the movement’s genesis in the 1970s till today. Featuring some 100 designs for men and women, the exhibition pairs the sartorial provocations of the original rebels (e.g., Sid Vicious, Debbie Harry, Johnny Rotten) with top designers’ fanciful interpretations (e.g., Ann Demeulemeester, Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada). Herein lies the paradox that punk-style progenitor Richard Hell outlines in his intro to the exhibit catalogue: “Anything associated with a desired state gets appropriated by profiteers. That’s just nature. Part of the challenge is to stay a step ahead of them.” Which has been the very point of street fashion ever since. At 1000 Fifth Ave.; metmuseum.org.

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