The world’s largest fashion gala rolled out the pink carpet for celebrity invitees who donned couture costumes for the event’s theme, Camp. The invitation-only guest list for the Met Gala is curated and then approved by Anna Wintour. This year’s theme, Camp, Wintour noted in pre-event interviews, was one of the most confusing to date. Inspired by the 1964 essay “Notes on Camp” by Susan Sontag, the core significance of camp is specifically described: love of the unnatural, of artifice and exaggeration. While outside of the fashion world, the association with camp may be tents and marshmallows, the great designers of fashion houses went straight to work with their sketches and designs to give us this year’s memorable Met Gala theme.
Camp, as demonstrated by designers and gala attendees, is doing the most one can to be noticed. It is being as extra as one can be - to garner attention. A perfect understanding of camp is that camp is fashion and fashion is camp. It is extravaganza, exaggeration, boldness and eccentricity. It is about pushing the envelope of fashion – like pop personalities and icons Prince, Cher, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and RuPaul. The subjects of the LGBTQ+ documentary, “Paris Is Burning,” are vibrant and loud representations of this theme. Co-chairing the event this year with Anna Wintour were Harry Styles and Lady Gaga, who both truly represented camp. Gaga wore Brandon Maxwell, arrived with a choreographed entourage and changed three times on the pink carpet. Many considered her arrival as the clear winner of the night. Harry, ever faithful to Gucci with his androgynous ensemble of a black sheer corsage and pants, painted nails and a single white pearl earring, nailed the theme. Other highlights included Janelle Monae who wore a Christian Siriano gown in black, pink and white with a winking eye and a tower of hats balanced on her head. Alessandro Michele wore a Gucci pantsuit and red nail polish. Cardi B donned in a wine-hued Thom Browne design reminiscent of Rihanna’s exaggerated yellow caped gown back in 2015. Ezra Miller painted eyes all over his face. Jared Leto carried his own head, the Jenner sisters looked smoking in orange and lavender Versace. Billy Porter served us Egyptian pharaoh realness, carried in on a dais by six shirtless men in a gold winged outfit by The Blondes. Darren Criss, Priyanka Chopra and Laverne Cox were also among the many celebrities who created dazzling pink carpet looks. Lena Waithe donned a look by Pyer Moss with “Black Drag Queens Inventend (sic) Camp” scrawled across the black. Even Kanye West and Frank Ocean with their boring black outfits were on theme based on the fact that camp is also about wearing something unexpected. Camp is a clear reference to the outcast, the weird and the bizarre and mostly, that’s how fashion is seen. Camp may go down in history as the most appropriate theme ever for the Met Gala.