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If you want to buy Manic Panic hair dye, a CBGB T-shirt, or razor blade earrings, you don't have to go to St. Marks Place to do to. Just head over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's special exhibition gift shop. Yes, thanks to the Costume Institute's Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit, shopping at the Met is now kind of like going to Trash & Vaudeville. Kind of.
At previous Costume Institute exhibits, the merchandise has been somewhat limited, but this time around (partially thanks to exhibition sponsor Moda Operandi) you'll find a much more interesting assortment. Of course they have the standards of any museum show: the official book for $45, a calendar that includes pictures of Richard Hell and Patti Smith, for $16.95, refrigerator magnets for $5.95 and postcards for $1.50 each.
Then we start getting more into East Village territory. There are bottles of Manic Panic temporary hair color—in the classic shades of pink, blue, silver and green, for $9.95 each. They're also selling a skateboard deck covered in graffiti for $74.95. Soon, the gift shop will be stocking books, including John Savage's definitive history of British punk, England's Dreaming.
Next comes the clothing. Here's where Moda Operandi helps the East Village collide with Madison Avenue. An assortment of CBGB tees are available for $35 each—but it costs more if you want to get your shirt custom ripped or safety pinned by someone who works for the museum. (Yes, we're serious). There are also a lot of designer punk shirts that don't require any customization, but those don't come cheap—they include a couple of Dolce & Gabbana patterned tops for $650 and $750, a Moschino T-shirt for $350, and a Rodarte hoodie for $150.
But we confess, our favorite merchandise in the gift shop is the witty jewelry, all of which stylishly screams "wealthy punk poseur" even louder than the customized CBGB shirts. Much of it is by designer Tom Binns. There are razor blade earrings for $175 and a matching bracelet for $215, a giant safety pin pendant for $250 and a large, striking necklace made of safety pins and pearls for $775. But the most amusing item at the sale—for all those aging punks out there whose memory is starting to go—is a gold necklace which spells out "punk," just in case they forget who they are. It's $200.
· The Met Goes Punk: Inside The Costume Institute Exhibit [Racked NY]