The fashion world is in a bit of a pickle: How do the most glamorously dressed people in the world dress up for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institue gala honoring the museum's new "Punk Fashion" exhibit without looking like total poseurs?
Guests for next Monday's gala are supposed to hew to the theme of the annual exhibition for the gala without turning Anna Wintour's big night into a costume party. For instance, when the Met examined superhero fashion in 2008 many stars opted for bold lines and bright colors, not capes. But gold and spandex aren't unfamiliar to the luminaries who will fill the Met's Temple of Dendur for one of the biggest fashion events of the year. Punk, however, is causing a collective sartorial headache since celebs don't want to get too grunge-y and everyone can't wear Vivienne Westwood.
In the New York Times's Thursday Style section today, Eric Wilson elaborates on this conundrum, talking to Cameron Silver, the owner of vintage boutique Decades in Los Angeles: "We keep running into the same problem, which is that rich women don’t want to look punk, or grunge," Silver says. "Not that many women want to look like Nancy Spungen." Silver, according to the Times, has been "fielding pleas for hard-edged-but-will-land-me-in-Vogue fashion since" the announcement of the exhibit in September. Silver has also been spreading this theory to the New York Post: "Punk is the antithesis of quintessential glamour. It has influenced runways, but I don’t know if rich people want to look poor, especially when you’re buying a table for a quarter of a million dollars."
The solution, according to both the Times and the Post, seems to be for stylists to recommend safety pins: safety pin accessories, even safety pin dresses à la Elizabeth Hurley's famous safety pin gown by Versace.
It's not just the celebrities getting worked up over the punky red carpet, though — some of the punk movement's actual style icons aren't too happy about the Met's glam-punk moment either. Legs McNeil, founder of Punk magazine, told Melena Ryzik of the Times that the show is a "masturbatory fantasy for Anna Wintour and Vogue." Except, well, is that really the case if the Vogue guests are feeling just as awkward about the whole thing as the Legs McNeils of the world?
Of course, not all original punks are so upset about the highfalutin festivities. Fashionista.com talked to Jimmy Webb of Trash and Vaudeville, the St. Mark's Place bastion of punk fashion. Webb implied to the site that some honored guests are coming to him for help:
He assured us he has nothing against whatVogue and the Met are trying to do. In fact, he’s been working with them on preparations for the big event. While he couldn’t give us too many details, we get the sense the store is helping to dress some of the guests and may have some pieces featured in the exhibition.
Webb added: "Tommy Hilfiger was in here the other day, and he’s always come in here on and off and he’s always given us our props. I happen to know who he’s taking to the gala ‘cause they’re good friends of mine, and good customers here at the store and I don’t even know if I should say that." Wilson reports that Debbie Harry and Nicki Minaj are going along with Hilfiger.
We're pretty sure Harry's got this down. We just want to know if Honorary Chair Beyoncé is going to take inspiration from Iggy Pop.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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