By the time you read this, punk memes—chains, piercings, destroyed seams—will be splashed across fashion magazines as lavishly as Smirnoff at a Sex Pistols show. Here’s why: A Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Punk: Chaos to Couture (May 9–Aug. 14) will showcase the “eff you!” subculture’s influence on fashion, from Versace’s Elizabeth Hurley–era safety pin dresses to Comme des Garçons’ slashed sweaters.
Fall runways are already pogo-ing to the punk thump—see, for example, Fendi’s fox-fur “faux hawks” and Versace’s CBGB-ready eyeliner. Ardency Inn, a cosmetics range “deeply rooted in the downtown New York music scene” and developed by former LVMH exec Giles Kortzagadarian (of Make Up For Ever et al.), launches at Sephora this fall. The opening act, Punker World’s Baddest Eyeliner, $22, a plump magic marker for Siouxsie Sioux–style lid drawing, is in stores now. Essence’s new I Heart Punk Jumbo Eyeliner pen, $3, is another chubby stick promising less wobbly application.
But not everyone is buying. “This is a fad,” says makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, who works with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Japan. She should know. The former Vancouverite was the lead singer of the ’70s band Insex, brushing (ahem) shoulders with Iggy Pop, Brian Ferry and Nick Cave when in town to play at the Commodore Ballroom. Swift showered in Guinness to give her Bride of Frankenstein hair volume, back-combed it like crazy, then sprayed in sugar water for after-hours hold.
Swift punked-out friends’ faces using fake-out safety pins and cake eyeliner. “One of the big requests was Soo Catwoman,” she recalls. The British punk icon wore sweeping black arcs in never-before ways, slamming the ’60s cat eye on its head. Her orange-black hair peaked at the sides like feline ears.
“In those days we wanted to make ourselves look kind of ugly,” says Swift, who created RMS organic cosmetics three decades later. “It was a statement.” For flattering punk eyes, she recommends light-reflecting cream shadows in kinder blacks with brown, silver or purple undertones, such as her line’s coffee-esque Cream Eye Shadow in Carma, $32. Thank to vitamin E, you can get your anti-aging antioxidants on while rocking out at Montreal’s Pouzza Fest (May 17–19).
A “fragile darkness” was in the air at Chanel spring couture. Peter Philips, global creative director of Chanel makeup, used Stylo Eyeshadow in Black Stream, $36 (in stores mid-May)—a wet-effect silver noir crayon—before applying tulle and muslin leaves custom-created by the house’s fine lace atelier Maison Lemarié.
Canada’s punkette pioneers, circa ’78: