*detailed background on Met Gala below. For looks, scroll down*
The first Monday of May is a calendar holiday for celebrities, fashion afficianados and the media – known on social media as #MetMonday. So what is the Met Gala? It’s an annual showcase of fashion and art held at The Metropolitan Museum that acts as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Inside the doors are the pieces that make up the Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit, which follows a new theme each year; #MetMonday is the opening day of the exhibit and a very exclusive social event. Guests are celebrities, fashion experts and others deemed fashionably relevant by Anna Wintour – no +1’s guaranteed, Kim Kardashian didn’t get an invite until she was Kanye’s +1 and seemingly proved her fashion worth for years to come. The invitations include the theme of the exhibit for that year, which guests are recommended to “play along” with in their attire. Like a theme party, except tickets are $35,000.
The steps leading into the exhibit are where much of the magic is seen, at least to our non-celebrity peon eyes. Guests waltz up the carpeted stairs as photographers document their themed attire and bloggers begin their lists for best (or worst) dressed. Some guests get away with attire that is not themed, while others are scrutinized for seemingly misunderstanding the theme.
This years theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion” which provided celebrities the ability to devise a look catered to extravagance but left many normal humans wondering if that meant dressing as a Girl Scouts or in a swimsuit-platform flip flop flashback combo from the early 2000’s. The inspiration for the ‘Camp’ theme came from a 1964 essay by Susan Sontag with excerpts like “the essence of Camp is it’s love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration” and ‘the whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to “the serious.” One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.” After its publication, TIME argued that an essay on camp ruins the fun of camp – but in a piece about the Met Gala’s theme it’s clear that camp was here to stay.
Essentially, camp is a term of frivolity and outlandish-ness that can come in almost any form (except natural) – art, politics, theater, feminism, furniture, nails – and is best when pure or naive, not forced. It can be linked to drag culture – drag is the art of becoming a “woman” but in reality they are not women. Camp is Esquire states that even reality TV can have ‘camp’ tendencies, which is obviously what Sontag meant when writing ‘Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste.’ Camp is the polite form of gaudy. Me getting ready for my birthday is almost camp.
By definition, camp is best when not forced and is intertwined into the form as an appreciation versus the desire to simply be camp. This made for an almost impossible obstacle for guests, as designing these outfits to fit a ‘camp’ theme almost goes against what camp is. Is irony camp?
As you can imagine, given the frivolity and open-ended options for dress, there were a lot of looks that I loved. I’ll start by giving a nod to those who followed theme before going into those that didn’t (but still rocked it). I will note that a recurring theme (on top of the theme) – feathers, fringe, sparkle and….pink – seemed to cover the pink carpet much to my enjoyment.
In no particular order….except…Anna Wintour (in Chanel) was my favorite look of the night. That pink feathered cape/bolero. The embroidery. And a statement necklace? Winner, winner.
Anna Wintour in Chanel
Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell – these are only two of her four looks (that entrance was….camp)
Celine Dion in Oscar de la Renta, custom Chloe Gosselin Shoes and Noel Stewart headpiece. I would wear this to my bachelorette party….. and around my kitchen.
Lana Condor in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture. Pink tulle is never a bad idea.
Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano
Naomi Campbell in Valentino
The Kardashian/Jenner squad – Kendall and Kylie Jenner in Versace, Kim Kardashian killin’ it (but not eating) in Thierry Mugler (first design in 20 years), and Kris’s cape by Tommy Hilfiger (not a fan of the jumpsuit).
Maluma in Moschino by Jeremy Scott
Jennifer Lopez in Versace. You may think sparkles were an easy way out, but homegirl threw those sparkles onto a wig too.
Lucy Boynton in Prada – if my personality was a dress, I think this would be it? Blush, tulle, sparkle….and gray.
Kacey Musgraves in Moschino by Jeremy Scott. Going “full Barbie” has camp written all over it. She just needs the pink party Jeep.
Cardi B in Thom Browne
Gigi Hadid in (custom) Michael Kors Collection – the devil is in the details with this one. Those custom eyelashes absolutely complete the look (and scare me a little).
Laverne Cox in Christian Siriano. It may be a black dress but she brought the a n g l e s (and the ruffles).
Jared Leto in Gucci. He came with his own head as an accessory….you can’t not be on the list.
Billy Porter in The Blonds. Camp entrance. Camp look.
For those that came to a theme party but forgot the theme…
Giselle in a sustainable dress by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Dior. Giselle is rarely on theme at the Met Gala, but knows how to look good on a red carpet. Maybe she’s a model. Love everything about the dress – pleats, shine, blush color. minimal accessories.
Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin, Jawan M. Jackson and James Harkness in Thom Browne. Not your average black tie attire, huh? This might be camp, but compared to the other men I had on the list I felt this is an “honorable mention” camp fit.
Trevor Noah in Off-white c/o Virgil Abloh. I, too, am anti-formality and enjoy a nice graphic tee. In this case, I would’ve gone with the formality though…
Thanks for reading (especially if you’ve made it this far)! Stay tuned for my next post….