The annual Met Ball, hosted each year at the Costume Institute exhibit of New York City’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, is where fashion, power and the powerfully fashionable come to meet – much to the giddy joy of the paparazzi and fashion fans. Featuring a different costume-centric theme each year, the gala event is often the venue where stars and industry insiders find an outlet for their wild, wonderful and sometimes wacky sides. This year, the theme was “Punk: Chaos to Couture” which should have resulted in an exquisite cacophony of haute-couture looks combining the latest in luxury with the dangerous and DIY edge that marked the punk movement. Unfortunately, as numerous fashion blogs have pointed out, many of the Met’s patrons missed the mark by massive margins, preferring mundane outfits, bland colors and perfectly princess-inspired frocks to anything resembling the punk aesthetic. Still, some stars really got into the swing of things – Sarah Jessica Parker went all out in thigh-high tartan boots and a flamboyant Philip Treacy Mohawk headpiece, Anja Rubik brought Blondie-chic in an 80’s inspired red leather mini-dress, Christina Ricci was classic punk in Vivienne Westwood, and Miley Cyrus was youthful, chic and perfectly on point with a fishnet maxi dress from Marc Jacobs and sky-high spiked hair.
Punk rock, a 1970’s extension of late 1960’s garage rock, was a reactionary youth movement (often associated with a pair of iconic bands: The Ramones of New York City’s famed CBGB bar scene, and the anarchic Sex Pistols of England) marked by the disdain and disillusionment of society, social conformity and the peace and love ethos of the 1960’s hippie era. Spawned during a time of economic downturn, the youth movement embraced anti-establishment politics, anti-authoritarianism and a DIY, or do-it-yourself, ethic. From Vivienne Westwood hand-crafting clothing for the punks of London to various bands writing, producing and performing (with varying degrees of skill, or lack thereof) music, the punk movement, at its best, celebrated artistic individuality and modernism. At its worst, punk represented a reckless disregard for society, a glorification of violence and drug use, and a general popular malaise.
As the years passed and the movement was assimilated into the mainstream, time and reality tamed the formerly raucous and, as a result, punk rock motifs began showing up in many aspects of popular culture. The sharp edges of punk softened into something more palatable and the styles were incorporated into everything from music to fashion to, of course, jewelry. Today, punky accessories paired with more classic clothes are a great way to add an avant-garde edge to your look.
Stephen Webster Blue Topaz Ring
This Swiss blue topaz ring by Stephen Webster is a colorful way to go punk. The neon hue of the blue topaz is reminiscent of 1980’s New Wave (a later offshoot of punk rock) and the angular design, complete with plenty of sharp points, brings to mind the metal studs favored by the punk aesthetic.
Vintage Fringe Earrings
Speaking of studs, these 1960’s fringe earrings in yellow gold are a chic vintage way to add spiky style to your look. The chevron shape of the hanging tassels feels sharp with the addition of dagger-like high polish terminals creating a look that is strongly reminiscent of the keen edges favored by 70’s punks – safety pins, razor blades and spikes.
Bochic Diamond Skull Ring
Skull and skeleton themed jewelry has existed for centuries as memento mori, reaching the height of popularity during the Victorian era. Gothic and horror-film inspired styles popped onto the punk scene with popular bands the Misfits and the Damned – including the iconic skull emblem of the Misfits which has appeared on multiple patches, t-shirts and other articles of clothing since the early 1980’s. We love this colored diamond skull ring from high-end designer Bochic for adding a Bohemian spin to this ancient icon, resulting in a perfectly punk accessory for the arty crowd.
The 80’s were a decade of excess in fashion and popular culture and punk was certainly no stranger to the bigger-is-better atmosphere. Bright colors, big hair and bold accessories held the day across various styles and social groups. Dangerously long dangles in sleek white gold with diamond stations revive the accessory-heavy layered look – with a chic modern update.
Whether you like a stronger style or just a hint of an edge, get inspired by this years Met Ball fashions! A unique accessory makes it easy to go pretty with a punk vibe.