A Brief History of Punk in Honor of Vivienne Westwood


This May, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will play host to Dame Vivienne Westwood and her treasure trove of punk fashion. It's certainly going to be a change for the museum which featured Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada last year and Alexander McQueen the year before. But, if the 2006 Anglomania exhibition of British fashion can serve as any indication as to what's in store, this is something you can't miss.

The Dame is legendary for her ability to scour history for her creations and punk was one of her earliest (and most enduring) inspirations. Nowadays, a lot of people will hear punk and think of Avril Lavigne, The Warped Tour and maybe Good Charlotte? They're not entirely incorrect in thinking that, but it goes way back and gets way (way) better. To help you better understand Dame Westwood and her style, here is a brief overview of the Punk movement.

1971: The New York Dolls Form Up

Before regular punk, there was protopunk. One of the most influential bands to emerge from this time were The New York Dolls. Supposedly the band got their name from an old doll repair shop that was across the street from one of their hangouts. At the twilight of their career, Malcom McLaren, then business partner and boyfriend to Dame Westwood managed their affairs before returning home to London.