A Punk of Our Own
A Punk of Our Own
The buzz word this season in fashion is PUNK. The opulent MET Gala exhibit based around the subject, the weighty spectacles of nouveau punk at Fall 2013 runways, the recent fixation with leather, cut-out and metallic details-spikes and studs- are all conspicuous and obvious indications towards the trajectory leading up to a comeback of Punk. Transcending from the boundaries of fashion, the re-emerging traces of punk point towards a deeper hold of the original thought and movement. Punk in pure terms is an attitude, a rebellion against convention, outdated & austere thought and way of living. What one wants to base this mutiny around is a personal choice. One may generalize the sentiment but not the root cause behind it; although there are those distinctive characteristic traits of the sub-culture that constitute the generic periphery of it. That includes an inclination towards things that are as provocative as they are individualistic; sex, drugs, rock n roll and outrageous ways of dressing. So when we say “Punk is back” a part of it implies the comeback of the thought driving it.
Now when we say punk these days, it merely comes down to dressing like your favorite punk rock star from the original era of punk. This largely involves leather, spikes, dark makeup and such.
Since, drugs are more accessible and more ordinary; the attitude towards sex is more passable -although all of it with considerable oblivion involved- what really makes Punk relevant right now? How and why is it gaining momentum again? And how are our times analogous with the original years of the Punk sub-culture, if at all?
If we try and dig deeper to channel on the punk of our own times what would constitute punk?
Rebellion against convention and the urge to standout and be different is still an imperative of the human nature.
From fashion to social causes to movements, the true spirit of punk goes beyond than just dressing up in a particular way. The times have changed and so should the interpretations although sticking to the basic thought and idea behind it.
So when we talk about contemporary fashion punk sure is having a moment there, why else would Fendi models strut around in electrifying, berry colored Mohawks, silhouetted in ridiculously opulent, yet revoltingly beautiful fur or better even, Louis Vuitton’s Fall winter runway advocating Marc Jacobs’ baffling affinity towards nightwear. This year has been different, designers stumble upon ground breaking inspirations every year but, little did anyone know, that fashion would be consumed by a blast from the past.
It is literally a blast, which unashamedly transcends the enterprising rut of trends, to be radically exploded in oversized contours and bizarre combinations. Punk is Explicit, to the extent of inappropriate; explicitly rebellious, explicitly sexual, explicitly wild. On peeling further, one will always uncover that PUNK is also, explicitly liberal. Ask Donatella Versace, who fed on her inner punk, much like the fetish fashion from the 70’s, in vinyl bodysuits, evoking an instant sexual rush-a celebrated phenomenon of the subculture- brazenly welcoming it. She expressed it through the sharp slashes, the shimmering patents and the lust worthy bodies wearing her clothes.
Today, sex isn’t as forbidden, mention of drugs is not appalling, leather has become a staple wear in fashion and a man flashing black nail paint does not raise many eyebrows.
While a punk aficionado might rubbish the idea of a Jacobs’ silk night pajamas qualifying as Punk, one cannot overlook the playful rebellion waged by it. And why only the pajama, the boxy silhouette against the feminine one, is a strong recollection of non-conformity. A studded leather jacket- symbolic of rock stars and rule breakers back in the day- isn’t punk enough for the world which has come a long way from the thrift shops of New York or London’s dingy alleys. In the wake of studs being replaced by Lanvin’s intriguing insect embellishments, Punk continues to remain what it was, as incepted by the legendary Vivienne Westwood, an attitude, a voice and an expression. The very distinctive and defining moment of Punk for us was when Vivienne Westwood the Original Punk walked in at the Met Gala with a picture of Bradley Manning pinned on her dress in support of his courage to voice out and take a stand in the wiki leaks trials. Or even her collection inspired by the impacts of climatic adversities. That’s precisely what punk entails on us, a cause to endure by means of personal rebellion.
It is to the will of designers and curators around the world, to interpret and mould it, linking it to the vicinity of fashion and simultaneously voicing against conventions.