Men at 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City.
The new exhibition is a reminder that fashion is best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
A lot of people are still confused about what “camp,” the theme of this year’s Met Gala, actually means. But as soon as you set foot in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new costume exhibit, all becomes clear: Camp has nothing to do with tie-dying t-shirts at summer camp. It has everything to do with basking in the fabulousness, irony, and humor of being extra.
From Balenciaga’s towering platform Crocs to Björk’s infamous swan dress and the Mugler oyster shell gown Cardi B wore to the Grammys, the “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibit is an exploration of how over-the-top fashion (or more accurately, FASHUN) has been used as both a form of expression and escapism throughout history. The concept was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay that defines camp as “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.”
Why is that, exactly? Well, what better way to process times of chaos and instability than through extreme fashion that serves as a fun form of escapism? It can be theatrical, it can be ironic, it can even be humorous, but no matter what, camp is a crucial way of capturing and expressing the zeitgeist of any time period in culture.
In an age of toxic masculinity in Trump’s America, it’s now more important than ever to hold onto and highlight camp’s original roots: the LGBTQ community.
The first part of the exhibit looks back to queer subcultures of Europe and America that largely defined and explored homosexuality through camp in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are portraits of nude male bodies by photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe and Thomas Eakins, as well as a statue of the Greek God Antinous, Hadrian’s lover, which Bolton refers to as the “archetypical camp pose.” Today’s camp movement can be largely defined by drag culture.
“Camp: Notes on Fashion” explores the origins of camp’s exuberant aesthetic and how the sensibility evolved from a place of marginality to become an important influence on mainstream culture.
Tom Ford and Gemma Chan attend the 2019 Met Gala both wearing TOM FORD.
Best Menswear at MET Gala
Actor Ezra Miller attends this year’s MET Gala in custom Burberry, designed by Riccardo Tisci. He wears a black pinstriped wool English-fit suit, reimagined with an exaggerated cape detail and a crystal-studded cage corset. Worn with personalised cufflinks and crystal-embroidered brogues.
Harry Styles was tasked with bringing his fashion A-game on the red carpet—and tonight the singer certainly did not disappoint. Dressing for the camp theme, he wore a design by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, a designer who has dressed Styles in his fabulously flamboyant suits many times before. Styles walked the pink carpet with the designer, and took the evening as an opportunity to jam-pack three risky menswear trends into one ensemble. (Gucci, after all, loves to push boundaries.)
A replica of his head in his hand, Jared Leto captured at the MET Gala in a Gucci hammered matte satin tunic with padded shoulders, front ruffle and body accessory with crystals, lamé trousers, tulle gloves with crystal embroidery and bracelets with aged palladium finish and crystals.
Visual and special effects by creative factory @makinariumsfxvfx.
Billy Porter shut down the Met Gala red carpet when he arrived on a litter—carried by six shirtless men!—in a theatrical nod to Ancient Egypt. The Pose star’s custom “Sun God” ensemble, by The Blonds, included a bejeweled catsuit outfitted with 10-foot wings, a 24-karat gold headpiece, as well as custom gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and fine jewels by Andreoli and Oscar Heyman. The mic-drop served as half fashion moment, half performance art—perfectly executed on an evening when stars were asked to unleash their utmost creativity. Director & Stylist Sam Ratelle.