It isn’t very often that we get THIS excited about a book here at the very virtual Flamboyant headquarters, not that we don’t get excited by them ( I for one count on dying crushed by the books and magazines I navigate through in my house), but lately a few books have gotten us very excited, and one of those is the catalogue to Punk: Chaos to Couture, the exhibition currently showing at the Met in NY. We’ve already written about the exhibition so I won’t go back to that, and I’m not going to go on in detail about how punk’s influenced current fashion, you can read all that HERE. I’m basically writing this post to urge you to buy this book, order it, borrow it, ( u wanna be a real punk, steal it damn it), but look at it, absorb it, smell it ( it has a curiously chemical smell, not unlike some of Kwakubo’s looniest creations).
The tome in question traces punk’s influence over some seminal designers ( Westwood, Galliano, Kawakubo, Watanabe, Margiela. McQueen), albeit with a few bizarre inclusions (D&G? Really? ) by juxtaposing great period shots and current fashions, images from catwalk shows and editorials. It’s a very visual book, printed on matte, mostly black paper, ( though it does feature a few interesting essays). The sparse layout, with large expanses of black, gives a certain sense of elegant doom that fits perfectly with the theme.The perfect mix of period and recent imagery, smartly divided in stylistic themes, makes the link between past and present self evident. Punk was a brief, but incredibly creative moment in music and subcultural style, and thanks mainly to Westwood & McLaren it had an incredible set of visual codes, so strong and revolutionary that they still resonate today.
‘ When the term punk surfaced it didn’t mean anything. We were doing something and people gave it a name. Maybe it came from America where there was a similar attitude among some of the youths…. the punk ‘look’ evolved in our shop at 430 King’s Road. Malcolm and I changed the name and décor of the shop to suit the clothes as our ideas evolved. I did not see myself as a fashion designer but as someone who wished to confront the rotten status quo through the way I dressed… Eventually this sequence of ideas culminated in punk.’ Vivienne Westwood