Posts Tagged ‘Punk’


Patti Smith in 1977 sporting a Giorgio Armani jacket. Image: Lynn Goldsmith

Even as a kid, what I was wearing was always very important to me. I very much identified with my clothing. 

Patti Smith, American musician.

I never thought of Patti Smith as someone who would be interested in fashion. But in this article (Harper’s Bazaar, April 2020) Smith discusses just how much she liked fashion and once she got to NYC she even tried to get onto the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

With a taste for high fashion, but not the budget, she shopped Philadelphia thrift stores where she found treasures by Dior and Balenciaga and donned them in her own way.

I love everything about Smith’s style in this photo. In particular the scarf around her wrist, which is something I do with ribbon, and her rings. She’s wearing one big one with a black stone that might be antique and several bands in front. Stunning in its uniqueness.

Click here and check out her outfit in a live performance of Because the Night. 


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Sid Vicious in 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris.

Sid Vicious in 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris.

If a squatter in present-day south London covers a beat-up jacket with studs, that’s punk, right? But what if Karl Lagerfeld put studs on a $5000 jacket? Is that punk, too?

– Maya Singer, writer and special projects editor at Style.com.

Ms. Singer poses this question in her editorial on the current exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – Punk: From Chaos to Couture.

To answer Ms. Singer’s question I’d say no, Mr. Lagerfeld’s jacket is not Punk.

Punk is, or was, all about intention. People in the 1970s wore torn t-shirts, ripped jeans and studded jackets not for fashion but to express their anger over current society norms and Thatcher/Regan politics, as well as to distinguish themselves from the mainstream. Mr. Lagerfeld is using vintage Punk aesthetics in fashion for commercial gain – the antithesis of the Punk movement.

But the squatter’s jacket is not Punk either. A rebel of 2013 is another generation and has a different point to make. She would find her own look to communicate, not copy what has already been done nearly forty years ago.

Karl Lagerfeld jacket. Photo: David Sims.

Karl Lagerfeld jacket. Photo: David Sims.

Corporate designers can refer to Punk and dissenters can imitate it, but neither can be the real thing. Punk was a look (not a fashion) with a message at very specific time and exists only in history.

Well, that’s my brief two cents.

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