Wednesday: Popular American Culture and Politics

Met Gala PUNK Fail

Come on, New York.  You can do better than that.

The Met Gala happened.  The quintessential annual marriage of the legends of art and the legends of fashion happened.  Two nights ago.

It’s the mecca of beauty-in-the-pursuit-of-beauty-for-the-sake-of-beauty, the sort of event that jettisons Kantians down the front steps and leaves Cartesians shaking their heads.

And that plush red carpet rolled out like the salivating tongue of the masses of underprivileged “normal” people who don’t stand a chance in hell of ever prancing about in Tom Ford for the benefit of Claude Monet, waiting for the savviest stars to embrace the theme of the night.

By and large, they failed. 

Wrap that red carpet up.  If this was my party, you’d all be sent away wanting.  “Come back when you’ve stumbled upon some imagination,” I’d yell.  

The evening was to benefit the Met’s spring exhibition, “PUNK: Chaos to Couture.”  What a juicy, studded-leather, Ramone-blasting, hairspray-abusing, fabulous theme.  And what a poor showing.

Seriously, you stars.  There are plenty of red carpet events that are not dedicated to a bastion of ideas like culture-causes-expression, society-makes-art, what-is-too-cutting-edge-becomes-timeless.  There are plenty of galas that celebrate wealth and careful fashion choices.  But this is an event intended entirely to benefit a museum – THE museum – the guarding grounds of the shifting matrix of expression, the very locus of culture cultivation on a grander scope than Hollywood, or even Anna Wintour, ever dreams of touching.  They gave you a theme as free-wielding and interpretive as “Punk: Chaos to Couture” and this is the best you have to show for yourselves!?  

Yes, gentlemen, you looked dapper.  And that “Black Tie” script at the bottom of your invite frees you up from guilt.  But ladies?  Seriously?  Most of you lived through the 1980s, or at least the 1980s revisitation that happened in the early 2000s.  You should know that “80’s” does not equal “Punk”. (Beyonce, Honorary Chair of the event, I’m looking at you and those Janet Jackson boots you were donning.  Not.  Punk.)  You should have at least Googled “Punk” before dressing.  Or selected your accoutrements while playing The Clash.  Loudly.

SJP, you darling, you.  Thank you for judiciously matching a gorgeous frock with a ode-to-punk mohawk headpiece.  Perfection.  No one ever doubted you.  And Madonna, despite the fact that your music during the punk rock heyday was never to be mistaken for the Sex Pistols, you nailed the theme as well.  Anne Hathaway, well, your look was more Bowie than Buzzcocks, but you did fine.

The rest of you, for shame.  Some of you look beautiful (Emma Watson).  Some of you looked horrible (Kristen Stewart).  Some of you should never have dressed up in Aunt Maisy’s cat-infested hand-me-down box of costume clothing (Olsen Twins).  I hope while you were inside that culture-defining edifice, you educated yourselves on what Punk fashion really is.

Do better next time.  Seriously.



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