In the minutes, hours, and days following the Met’s Costume Institute Gala on Monday night, there was non stop, never ending coverage: on line, in the newspapers and glossies, and on television (news and entertainment segments). And, of course, there was live video streaming of the red carpet arrivals, courtesy www.vogue.com
, and the www.metmuseum.org
But, let’s face it, there’s coverage and then there’s COVERAGE. I would venture to say that for most “in the know” fashion insiders, it is Bill Cunningham who has the last word. He is respected as a highly influential iconic figure with an unwavering knowledge of fashion history, the social hierarchy, and a well trained eye. His On the Street column, which appeared in today’s Sunday Styles section of The New York Times, was almost one full week after the opening of “Punk: Chaos to Couture” and “hopefully” formally puts an end to any mention of the event until next year.
Yes, we’ve all been barraged by the same images of SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker), J-Lo, Gio (Giovanna Battaglia), Ha-Bo (Hamish Bowles), Ca-Ro (Carine Roitfeld), et. al. But Bill’s editorial pictorial essays are always highly visual and informative, and he always makes sure to give credit where credit is due: singling out those who matter. In this case, he included images of Deborah Harry (who he described as “a voice of the moment”), Vivienne Westwood (“who turned fashion on to punk”), and Zandra Rhodes, (“another fashion punk pioneer”).
And of course, the Queen Bee herself (no, not Beyoncé clad in yet another ridiculously ostentatious gown with never a ending train), but Anna Wintour, who helped raise $11.3 million for the museum and greeted guests at the grand stairway, lined by American and British flags made of roses. Undeniably, her considerable muscle and unfailing passion has helped to make this event one of the most high profile and eagerly anticipated on the calendar.
I loved how Bill superimposed a blown up image of Anna, and symbolically placed it at the very top of the stairs, and at the very top of the column, as if to emphasize her ‘reign’ over the event, (if not over fashion as well) while all the other pictures were of mannequins dressed in the exhibition’s punk designs, or guests having fun with elements of the punk costume (studs, zippers, safety pins, moto jackets, graffiti prints, mohawks, etc),
|Bea Shaffer and Anna Wintour
Anna looked, well, just like Anna. Her hair was in that perfect not-one-hair-out-of-place bob, and her dress just about as conspicuously “un punk” as one can get. She wore an elegant and lovely white Chanel Haute Couture creation covered in flowers. Whether or not her choice was deliberate (duh!), she was definitely making a statement. It was as if she was saying: “You didn’t really think I was going to wear punk do you? Don’t be silly. I can wear whatever I chose. I’m above it all”. And she is.
I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.