The entrance of the newest installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was quite the opposite vibe from its neighboring ‘Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity’ exhibit. Booming music, dark lights and punk rock symbols pulled museum-goers into the special exhibit that opened on May 9th— meanwhile, next door consisted of quiet, hushed voices and courteous spectators. It was a contagious, exciting feeling walking into ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture,’ even if you are not a punk rocker by any means. Although she wasn’t the only designer presented, Vivienne Westwood played a major role in the show.
Moving from mannequin to mannequin, admiring each and every provocative style displayed, viewers “Ooh’ed”, pointed, and snickered at some of the bizarre looks. The most represented designer throughout the show was by far Vivienne Westwood. She stood out as the ring-leader of the ‘Punk Movement.’
Westwood not only designed clothes, she also branched out into footwear. Super-elevated platforms in patent leather. Bondage boots. Shoes with multiple tongues. Spikes galore. All were just another part of Westwood’s kitschy themed looks. Her extreme designs got the attention of the world, and not just fashion critics. Her brand began to flourish as she took on the London rebellion scene—inspiring Americans to do the same.
Being such a cult-leader in the punk movement, Westwood was given her respects to being the leader of it all at the ‘Punk’ exhibit. It was exciting, inspiring, and the set-up of the entire show was exhilarating. Each corner I turned I wanted to see more. I didn’t know what to expect—especially since this is not a trend I am into. By the end of the show I was disappointed there wasn’t more to offend me visually—and I wanted to run out and tell spectators to check it all out. An amazingly curated exhibit!
My inner 3rd-grade self has recently resurfaced as the platform sneaker has hit the streets once again. Back in the mid-90’s the Spice Girls were the pop-culture sensation. Every girl my age wanted to be a Spice Girl. Whether you were into being just like Baby Spice or Ginger Spice, all of us have posed in pictures with peace signs in the air—a signature pose that the band used— and we would wear clothing according to whichever Spice Girl we related to the most. Baby Spice fans would fix their hair into pigtails and wear sundresses. Scary Spice fans would wear leopard. Sporty Spice fans would wear sneakers and athletic apparel. Posh Spice fans would act mysterious and pose sexily. The stereotyping went on.
It’s funny to me looking back on it now because at one point I really wanted a pair of platform sneakers; I thought it was the hottest in footwear. I’d stare at them through store windows—and admire them when I saw my girl-band heroes wear them in music videos. I’d pore through Pop magazine and clip out photos of the band and hang them on my bedroom wall. My mom wouldn’t let me buy a pair which caused many tears and arguments. My hero Baby Spice wore them—why couldn’t I?
Today I see why my mom wouldn’t let me.
It isn’t appropriate for a 3rd grader to wear platform shoes.
They’re straight up ugly.
In hindsight as it usually works out, mom was right. My 3rd-grade self was wrong. But how was I supposed to understand? Just like how I didn’t understand the meaning behind the Spice Girl song 2-Become-1 when I was belting out the lyrics while my mom car-pooled me to YMCA cheerleading practice. Now I get it.