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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander McQueen’

Isn’t It a Lovely Day

January 17, 2014 | by


From J. A. Sidey’s Alter Ejusdem, 1877, via the British Library.

The day of my thirtieth birthday dawned wet and cool. What started as a determined drizzle had settled, by late morning, into hard rain. This scuttled most of our plans, but my boyfriend and I were determined to fill the day with fun, and set off doggedly for Manhattan.

As any tourist knows, filling a rainy urban day can be a challenge; one generally ends up doing a lot of sitting around in restaurants drying off, drinking more coffee than planned (and this in turn creates new challenges). We did this. Our first umbrella blew out and we had to toss it. We took shelter in the Strand bookstore. Our second umbrella was pinched. We saw both Alexander McQueen’s show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, back downtown, a documentary about Candy Darling. We bought a new umbrella from a bodega. Sometime between McQueen’s S/S ’05 Edwardian collection and Candy becoming the toast of Max’s back room, the rain turned torrential.

I was not distressed about leaving my twenties, and had never been prone to birthday blues, but around three P.M., my spirits began to flag. Our feet were very wet. We were standing under the overhang of the West Fourth Street subway station, and everyone looked miserable, either to be going out into the downpour or else to be leaving the downpour for a train car that would, without question, smell like steaming wet dog. Read More »

Punk Love

May 8, 2013 | by

Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes.

At the age of fourteen, one year removed from the forced tribalism brought on by being a bar mitzvah–age Jewish boy, I decided I wanted to define myself by something besides my recent readmission into the Chosen. Your typical suburban weirdo, I started to use the rudimentary sewing skills passed down by my grandparents to attach silkscreened patches to my L. L. Bean backpack and zip-up hooded sweatshirts. I bleached my hair, and quickly hid my CDs by contemporary “alternative” groups like Third Eye Blind and the Smashing Pumpkins, replacing them with albums by bands like Minor Threat, Bad Religion, and, my favorite, the Descendents.

29. Gallery View_DIY HARDWARE_Gianni VersaceI was punk; at least, I thought I was punk, until an even older punk asked me if I actually knew what punk was, thus sparking a volatile internal dialogue inside my head. This was my first experience with the Talmudic-like discussion that surrounds punk: What did punk actually sound like? Was punk a philosophy? When did punk start? Did it start in America or England? Was Emma Goldman punk? Were the Situationists punks? Was the Velvet Underground punk? Were the hippies in the 1960s actually punks before punk was a thing? Was garage rock the original punk? I meditated on these questions and made very little headway, until one evening when I saw a kid at a punk show wearing a shirt with “Jesus was the first punk” scrawled on it in Magic Marker, and I had to admit the very act of wearing that shirt seemed pretty punk, even though I wasn’t ready to confirm punk’s existence. I also had to admit to myself, as I looked around the Chicago bowling alley-turned-venue, that for the most part, for a bunch of nonconformists, us punks all looked pretty much the same.

Questions of what punk is aside, it’s difficult to deny that, other than the crude beauty of the Ramones, the noisy dirges of bands like Flipper, or the shouts that “Civilization’s Dying” by the Indianapolis band Zero Boys, punk is best explained by its style. It’s hard to say whether somebody thinks like a punk, but if you see somebody with a red Mohawk and a bullet belt, chances are you will make assumptions as to which subculture that person best relates. And while people who might identify as punk will probably tell you they aren’t into high fashion, it is hard to ignore the profoundly impactful relationship between punk and fashion, intertwined since Dame Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren turned their Kings Road boutique into the iconic SEX store in 1974. And now everything that Westwood, McLaren, Johnny Rotten (née Lydon), Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and a host of other punks wore, and everything that followed, is getting the high-art treatment with the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition PUNK: Chaos to Couture. Read More »