Costume Institute Gala 2013 – PUNK: Chaos to Couture

The big night arrived and passed, leaving a trail of fashion disasters behind… The night every fashion lover was waiting for – the annual Costume Institute Gala, which took place last night in New York – will remain in the collective memory because of a red carpet packed with irrelevant “celebrities” and bad dresses. The theme of the fashion exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture, was a tricky one and yesterday what I had been thinking for a while finally became clear: nobody seems to care for the exhibition, for art, not even Vogue’s editor-in-chief; the only thing which seems to be really important is the buzz and the gossip surrounding the attendees. There’s no point in denying that everyone loves a good (or bad) red carpet to scrutinize, but the event is becoming more and more irrelevant: some celebrities are walking disasters and have no sense of style whatsoever; others just fade into the background; others are plain boring. The result? Nobody – or a very few – nailed the “theme” of the event, but I shouldn’t be surprised, since Anna Wintour herself walked the red carpet wearing a floral dress (“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking”, Miranda Priestly would say).

While Darby Crash and Wendy O. Williams were rolling in their graves (or maybe just drinking another beer or sawing another guitar), some guests gave their own rendition of punk, thus demonstrating they had no idea what punk was/is. I firmly believe punk is a state of mind, not only a lifestyle, so here are the four celebrities who – I think – nailed it.

This is “punk”…

Dree+Hemingway+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+7NTSgGo5onPxTo me, punk has always been a big, huge “fuck you” in the face of society and social conventions. Despite not symbolizing such a strong statement, I think Dree Hemingway embodied the spirit of what I’m referring to. She wore a Stella McCartney dress, with gathered waistline and neckline, pairing it to a black leather biker jacket and black clogs. Side-swept hair, a wood clutch, a big ring and kohl-rimmed eyes completed the look. She didn’t dress up, but just made a simple dress her own.

Vivienne+Westwood+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+14WgwkmaiixxVivienne Westwood, the designer who was largely responsible for bringing punk into the mainstream, should have been the queen of the evening, but the celeb frenzy put her aside and literally shut her up. The way in which she was not given voice was outrageous and showed all the flaws of this event. Westwood, a political activist, attached a laminated photo of the Wikileaks revolutionary Bradley Manning to her taffeta robe. “When I did punk all those years ago, [it was about the same thing]: justice and [trying to] have a better world,” she explained. “I’ve got different methods nowadays,” she explained to Vogue livestream’s Billy Norwich, but her speech were cut down. Draw your own conclusions.

She walked the red carpet with her husband Andreas Kronthaler and with Lily Cole, who wore a custom-made corset dress made of sustainable Amazonian wild rubber. Dame Vivienne wore a stunning taffeta dress with drawstring detail at the waistline and matching robe. So graceful!

Madonna+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+Gala+_hwjp64DxfexOh, Madonna!  Her Givenchy Haute Couture outfit was a mess, but she was the only one who tried to give her own rendition of the theme. She looked like a punk dominatrix and stole the scene to those who were supposed to be the stars of the night. She took fishnet stockings and ripped dress, a studded plaid blazer with safety pin decorations, a collar with monogrammed locket and chains (elements of the stereotyped punk style) and mixed everything together. A pair of hot pink suede Casadei pumps, red lips and a dark wig à la Betty Page completed the look.

Mary+Kate+Olsen+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+NEivqjtxqwQxAnother huge “Who cares?” came from my favourite Olsen sister, Mary-Kate. The dishevelled look is part of her personality and I love her consistency on the red carpet. She wore a Chanel Haute Couture drop-waist dress with front slit and gold decorations, plus an astonishing vintage piece by Balmain – an embroidered silk opera coat with fur trims. She completed the look with barely-there gold strappy sandals by Louis Vuitton, a couple of necklaces and Sidney Garber earrings. This is the only outfit I would have worn myself.

…and this is NOT (but I liked it)

Allison+Williams+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+jkBxq7FINNUxOther celebrities didn’t succeed to nail the exhibition’s theme, but still managed to imbue their outfits with something (remotely) punk. One of the protagonists of Girls, Allison Williams, looked vampy in a custom-made black dress by Joseph Altuzarra, embellished by sheer and lace panels on the bodice and skirt. Let me tell you some bare skin and a heavy cat’s eye are NOT punk, but this was a nice try.

1367899366_carey-mulligan-zoomBare skin and heavy cat’s eyes on Carey Mulligan, too. The British actress looked uber-chic in a Balenciaga black dress from the fall 2013 collection, the first designed by Alexander Wang. The dress is so beautiful, with the round-edged peplum, side cut-outs and metallic element which reminds me of a big safety pin. She completed the look with Balenciaga t-strap/thong pumps, a side-parted updo and Tiffany & Co. jewellery.

Jennifer+Lawrence+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+eVmlsQcGwUVxJennifer Lawrence is a wise girl. Instead of dressing up or playing the “fake rebel” card, she opted for a 1950s look: the result was absolutely flawless. She opted for a Christian Dior strapless dress with full skirt and heavily embellished overlay. She added a satin ribbon belt, Brian Atwood Shina platform sandals (with flower-decorated heels), an adorable birdcage veil by Jennifer Behr, a Christian Dior flat clutch and Rose Dior Bagatelle diamond earrings. A beautiful shade of red lipstick completed her look.

Lena+Dunham+PUNK+Chaos+Couture+Costume+Gala+NleQoCiZ5W8xLast but not least, Lena Dunham wearing a lace tent dress by Erdem, who was her date on the red carpet. What can I say? The dress lacks any shape and the Empire line is clearly a way to hide Lena’s curves, but the polka dot tulle insert on the bodice and the frilled details on the sleeves are cute. Plus, she was the only one who proudly showed her tattoos, an attitude which I love and support. She styled her short hair with a side parting and opted for a smouldering eye make-up.

As usual, there’s a poll! You can vote your best dressed celebrity, then I’ll let you know who the winner is. Cast your vote and share your thoughts in the comments. Do you agree with my list or do you have other best-dressed celebrities in mind? Speak your mind.  xoxo ♥




  1. Sono molto delusa.
    Persino le personalità piú competenti hanno preferito la couture piú glam piuttosto del vero tema della serata…perché?.
    La sfacciata enormità degli abiti di MaryKate é la cosa piú punk del suo look,grande piccola Olsen.

    1. Delusissima anch’io. L’occasione però è servita a dimostrare, se ce ne fosse stato ancora bisogno, che alcune celebrità sono prive di senso del ridicolo e di gusto. Che poveracce!

  2. Vero.
    T consiglio il video del red carpet su,aggiungere gesti e parole ad un personaggio talvolta é illuminante…

  3. Adoro Jennifer Lawrence! Non c’entra niente col punk, ma l’ho trovata elegantissima, con un abito to die for. E mi piace il fatto che cerchi di avere un suo stile (vedi anche agli oscar) piuttosto che buttarsi addosso qualsiasi poratchata solo perchè può permettersela. Splendido anche l’abito di Carey Mulligan, anche se lei la trovo un po’ scialbina. Lena D. stranamente sobria, mi ha stupito ma la amo sempre. Mi sono chiesta anche il perchè di tanti abiti bianchi e neri. Un omaggio alla Juve e allo scudetto? Io li trovo noiosissimi.

    1. A me lei non piace, nel senso che non capisco se mi sia simpatica o se faccia finta di fare la buffona per risultare simpatica; di conseguenza, nel dubbio, mi sta sulle palle. Detto questo, però, è palese come sul red carpet se la sappia giocare sempre al meglio. Da mesi indossa capi Dior ma guai a lamentarsi, visti i risultati. Qui era bellissima e chic, non punk (ovvio) ma nemmeno baraccona, quindi tanto di cappello.
      Mi sono innamorata dell’abito Balenciaga indossato dalla Mulligan: secondo me è minimale nel senso positivo del termine. Lei ultimamente (da quando è rimasta biondo platino) è moscissima, ma poco male.
      Lena Dunham… che dire? Io la adoro anche perché ha la mia stessa struttura corporea (fianchi decisi, culone ma poco seno). Stavolta aveva addosso un sacco di pizzo, ma ha indossato di peggio, quindi bene per lei.
      Tanti capi neri, soprattutto. Mah, questi avranno pensato che i punk si vestono prevalentemente di nero, quindi anche loro! Aspetto l’anno in cui inaugureranno una mostra sul goth…

  4. A me non è piaciuto nessun outfit delle cosiddette colebrità. Ma il MET Gala è sempre un po’ una carnevalata. Stavolta ancora di più, sembrava una festa di Halloween… 😛
    L’unico vestito che forse ho apprezzato è stato quello di Cara Delevingne col corpetto spikes abbinato a ear cuff e treccine nei capelli. Un po’ steampunk per la verità.

    1. Cara era davvero bella, ma lei (come anche Sienna Miller) mi pare abbiano dato una lettura banalotta del punk. Certo, meglio di molte altre…

  5. Mary Kate nailed it, she looked GORGEOUS. Love your Miranda Priestly comment- that’s so right, Anna looked so blah. GREAT ARTICLE- will be awaiting your next posts! xo-STEVIE NICKOLE IMAN

    1. Thanks 🙂
      I’ve loved MK’s style for years and I’m in awe of the fantastic vintage pieces she usually sports at important occasions. I love her consistency, too: she has her style and sticks to that.

    1. Uhm, I don’t know… I really didn’t get her powdered updo. More Marie Antoinette than punk, in my opinion.

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