Toilets and urinals aren’t typical fodder for red-carpet conversation, but stall talk dominated on Monday evening as galagoers ascended the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in ensembles that ranged from clownish to sublime. Guests were buzzing about the recreated CBGB bathroom (pictured) that is among the first things visitors encounter in the museum’s “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow. The cave-like space, scrawled with circa-1975 graffiti, is adjacent to monitors playing a looped selection of films and footage–of Blondie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, and Television–selected by Nick Knight and edited by Ruth Hogben.
“We’ve had great [design] moments in punk, but I’ve very excited about the urinal–a urinal at the Met!” said André Leon Talley at Monday’s gala. “According to Patti Smith, punk began in a urinal downtown somewhere that I never went to, so I’m excited to see that.” The Vogue veteran was dressed in an elaborately embroidered cape–think Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat meets MacKenzie-Childs–designed for him by Tom Ford. “I love this coat and I don’t consider it punk. I just consider it appropriate for this occasion,” said Talley with a chuckle. “I said to Anna [Wintour], I didn’t do punk. I skipped punk and went straight to couture.”