Anarchy at the Met: Quotes, Contradictions, and Criticisms From Last Night’s Gala


Anarchy at the Met: Quotes, Contradictions, and Criticisms From Last Night’s Gala


“All anyone has been talking about in the office for the last month is The Great Gatsby and punk,” slurred the displaced staff writer drunk on my living room floor, “it’s sooo boring.” 

“We are interested in punk as an aesthetic, not an ethic,” stated Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Met, at the February 2013 advanced press preview. #NYFW

“STAY UPDATED ON OUR EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION AND BE THE FIRST TO SHOP THE RED CARPET ON MAY 7,” flashed Moda Operandi, a two year-old luxury e-commerce startup and sponsor to “Punk: Chaos to Couture”. #MetGala #punkfashion @voguemagazine

“The enduring appeal of Punk’s avant garde ideology is that it inspires designers across the spectrum of design sensibility. Each designer has created pieces for this capsule collection that expresses their unique vision of punk’s rebellious spirit,” explained socialite, former Vogue editor, and co-founder of Moda Operandi, Lauren Santo Domingo, of Moda Operandi’s capsule #punkfashion collection.

“…staid simulacrum of an authentic moment in cultural history,” overhead at the #Met.

“N.B. Anti-fashion is still fashion,” she once wrote. “It’s not not caring, it’s caring so much you are pressed to create alternatives, to publicly declare your disaffiliation from the norm.”

“Punk is about being daring and doing your own thing,” commented top model Karlie Kloss, wearing Louis Vuitton, on the red carpet at the #MetGala.

“It seems like people, I hope it’s wrong, but it seems like the young generation are so scared, I don’t understand why. I think today, for me, punk is an attitude and today people are so scared to be punk because there is so much money involved in society, there is so much selfishness. In the last two decades it is all about business,” said Riccardo Tisci, Gala sponsor Givenchy’s Creative Director, co-chair to the Gala, and research assistant to curator Andrew Bolton.

“The Internet is punk!” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in so many words).

“Punk is bourgeois,” wrote someone on Tumblr.

“Getting these high-fashion designers, what does that have to do with punk?” whined Punk magazine founder Legs McNeil to the New York Times, “So rich people could go slumming? Come on, give me a break… [it’s a] masturbatory fantasy for Anna Wintour and Vogue. They always go and try to co-opt what they can’t own. They try to co-opt authenticity and turn it into something boring.”

“While high fashion’s co-option of punk inevitably sanitizes its anarchic rebelliousness, it also draws attention to its original potency and singular capacity to engage and excite the imagination,” reads the writing on the wall of the Metropolitan Museum.

“‘The color of punk is pink.’  #MetGala #punkfashion,” tweeted @voguemagazine.

“Studded leather jackets with ladylike skirts, ripped t-shirts with demure shoes—pretty up your punk:  #SocialShopper,” tweeted @voguemagazine.

“The Paint Splatter Pedicure? How very punk rock.  #SundaySpill #punkfashion @nailsinc #MetGala,” tweeted @voguemagazine.

“We’re going ‘punk Gatsby’ with @GatsbyMovie’s Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. #TheGreatGatsby #MetGala Watch live:,” tweeted @voguemagazine. 

“PUNK WAS YESTERDAY. DON’T BUY INTO ANYTHING TODAY,” replied Not Vogue’s Steve Oklyn, when asked for a comment on #PunkMet.

“In an idea-deprived fashion world, punk has become just the latest way station in an infinite retro-regression,” wrote art and design critic Blake Gopnik. “It feels to me as though the appeal of punk-inspired couture to today’s 1 percent (to the one tenth of 1 percent) is built around a desire to empty punk’s original gesture of meaning and threat.”

“But let’s not forget that the punk  aesthetic became standardized quickly: goods based, reproducible. Its anti-conformity spawned a saleable conformist uniform. True punk is a myth, or, at best, it was a flash in the pan, and it’s been cooked juiceless and made indigestible ever since 1979,” she said, not entirely believing it.

“My favorite punks are Patti Smith and Sid Viscous [sic],” said Madonna, wearing Givenchy Haute Couture, on the red carpet, as tweeted by @voguemagazine.

“How could Andrew Bolton, the brilliant and cerebral museum curator, whose blockbuster shows have included the Alexander McQueen retrospective and last year’s fusion of Elsa Schiaparelli with Miuccia Prada, have made punk seem so dull?” lambasts Suzy Menkes in the New York Times. “The true punks — those who lived and survived that moment — should find an exquisite irony in the idea that their no-future kick at a dead-end society should, 40 years on, have moved from a defiant statement from society’s impoverished and self-proclaimed social outcasts to a display of clothes for global celebrities and the super-rich having a ball.”

“Punks would have been appalled, but proud to be the focus of a fashion exhibition. They are nothing if not contrary,” read Andrew Bolton from his script at the #PunkMet’s morning press conference.

“Would it be punk to burn this motherfucker down?” she wondered to herself, “Yes, yes, I think so. But is it punk to talk about burning it down? No. Well, maybe. God, I’m hungover.”

Our thanks go to Condé Nast and Anna Wintour, Andrew Bolton and the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Riccardo Tisci and Givenchy, Lauren Santo Domingo and Mode Operandi, Richard Hell, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Grimes, John Galliano, and Sid Viscous [sic] for making this fabulous event happen.