Fashion’s favourite night of year is here. On the first Monday of each May, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (AKA the Met) welcomes a frenzy of the industry’s most influential to an intimate gathering at the gallery.
Unlike the typical red carpets, the Met Gala has an annual theme that coincides with a fashion-centric exhibition and A-list attendees on the hyper-strict guestlist are encouraged to dress accordingly. Often, stars make headlines for the less risks they take at the Met Gala. Imagine!
This year’s theme, Camp: Notes on Fashion, initially caused some head-scratching, not only from us regular folk, but from the stars and their stylists, too. Anna Wintour admitted as much in an interview on Vogue.com earlier this month where she answered some burning questions about this year’s party, saying “To be honest, this theme’s exhibition has created a little bit of confusion.” Luckily, we’re here to help.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) May 6, 2019
The theme, ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’, comes from a 1964 essay by American writer Susan Sontag, and, no, it’s not an ode to a summer spent tenting under the stars. Though it would be amusing to see celebs take on a literal camping theme; imagine Beyoncé in a down-filled sleeping bag that’s been transformed into a cinched-at-the-waist gown by McQueen? She would pull it off, obviously.
In Sontag’s essay, which is really a numbered list with point-form thoughts of what is and isn’t camp, she does her best to give real-life examples. The ornate subway entrances to the Paris Metro with cast-iron orchids arching above them are camp. “A woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers,” she writes, is also camp.
Essentially, this year’s camp theme is meant to be a quirky display of boundary-pushing and over-the-top awesomeness. Camp is extra. You know when something is so bad it’s good? That’s camp. But it’s not about being grotesque or gluttonous.
“The fantastic level and the realistic level are the two levels upon which we live”~from “Night of the Iguana” by Tennessee Williams pic.twitter.com/MgdVQkB9u7
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) May 4, 2019
The camp theme was basically made for Lady Gaga, who along with Wintour, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles and Serena Williams are this year’s co-chairs, not to mention likely attendee RuPaul and Met Gala all-star, Rihanna.
Either way, it’s a departure from last year’s Heavenly Bodies theme, which took inspiration from the Catholic church and gave us Pope Rihanna, and the 2017 theme, which focused on influential and bold designer Rei Kawakubo and her label Comme des Garçons, which provided some wild looks that would be at home on this year’s red carpet.
While the guestlist is going to be as strict as ever (there are a handful of celebs who’ve been blacklisted for bad-mouthing the event, including Rachel Zoe, Tina Fey and others, like Zayn Malik who’ve openly declined their invite), those who plan on attending the $30,000-a-head gala will be bringing their A-game to the red carpet as they offer their interpretation of this year’s OTT theme.
Follow along tonight on @etalkctv as we live-tweet the red carpet arrivals and unpack all of the campy looks!