Just for the record, no one missed the death sentence for aging Plaid Forevers that the Metropolitan’s museumization of their youth represents.
Jaded Punk misses the point entirely, however, in lambasting Anna Wintour’s guests for being sellouts. Srsly, Wintour asked uber punk Kanye West to entertain. He brought his baby mama Kim Kardashian, who was dressed in Givenchy maternity wear as the Duchess of Devonshire’s sofa. We were not amused in 1981 by punks’ puerile performance of purity and lack of selling out. And nor are we now.
Here is baby mama Kardashian at the Met Gala. Actually the Duchess’ sofa Kim wore is more punk than the plaid flannel shirt Leonard DeCaprio wore to the black tie event.
The thing is, punk was always performance wear, and couture designers of the aging Plaid Forevers generation have always alluded to it. That’s what the museumization — the show at the Met — is about. I’m not sure if it actually makes the point that performance wear kind of museumizes (in the full Foucaultian sense of the word) itself the minute a Ramone shreds his jeans, and it is little different from the most exquisitely confected couture evening dress, or, punkest of all, Andre Leon Talley’s vast evening coat which looks like a vast suzani-appliqued kimono. Talley, who represents everything that is punk and actual wear, and Kardashian, who represents everything that is performance wear/fashion troll, looked more alike than either of them knew.
I want to salute the girls at Go Fug Yourself for carrying on a long existential dialogue on performance wear versus actual wear. These are two parallel discourses in fashion little explored elsewhere. You can get publicity in this paparazzi world by trolling fashion — wearing performance wear rather than actual clothes.
There was no real coverage of this event except deep in the Times Style section last Thursday. There was a long story inside about the East Village (aka center of the universe) shop, Trash and Vaudeville, where the Ramones actually got their black jeans, from which punk fashion took over the U.S. universe. Its longtime proprieter, Ray Goodman, points out there were two kinds of punk. The Ramones kind of street fashion he helped establish, and the “more theatrical” British invasion kind established later on. Actual wear vs. performance wear.
The manager of Trash and Vaudeville is an old school heroin addict — an upstate boy who came to the East Village in the ’70s lured by a Lou Reed song. He bottomed out, went back upstate, then returned to the East Village of his youth. Spiked and wrinkled, now, both, manager Jimmy Webb makes explicit what not selling out is.
He says, “We are true mom-and-pop, the bodega of rock ’n’ roll clothing. It’s here because of truth and spirit, just like Iggy Pop giving it his best every night and going all the way until everything in your body is broken except your soul and rock ’n’ roll. We can move it to Mars and still live.”