Looking Through the Met: Camp

Graphic by Ilsiia Shakirova
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Inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp,’” the 2019 Met Gala theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” with a dress code of “studied triviality.” The night was defined by eccentric, extravagant clothes featuring bold, bright colors and often highlighted by sparkling jewels or fabrics. Definitely one of the most memorable Met Galas of recent years, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” was a fabulous night of striking outfits. 

Of course, we will begin with Met Gala icon Gemma Chan. Chan walked the carpet in a completely crystal-embellished evening gown and cape by Tom Ford and donned a stunning, massive headpiece by Raven Kauffman. Headpieces were common throughout the night and many other attendees elevated their outfits with elaborate, glimmering headwear. Katy Perry wore a chandelier headpiece to match her Moschino chandelier look, while Danai Gurira’s top hat perfectly complemented her feminine-gentleman look which she paired with a cane. Cara Delevingne also shocked the carpet with a headpiece made out of a seemingly random assortment of items including bananas and eyeballs. 

The carpet also saw a plethora of pink looks, many of which were beautifully done. Lana Condor’s Giambattista Valli Haute Couture look of a fluffy, baby pink tulle dress was remarkable, though it may not have been the most on theme. Similarly, Emma Roberts brought out her inner Chanel Oberlin, whose iconic color was pink, in a darker pink tulle gown and complementary flowers in her hair from the same designer as Condor. Lizzo went all pink, with neon pink hair and a feathered pink cape, and even Anna Wintour herself wore a pink dress with floral embellishments. Even with all the great pink looks, one person comes out on top — Kacey Musgraves. Musgraves channeled Barbie with her look, complete with blonde hair and a blow dryer purse to complement her leather bomber jacket and feather boa — all pink, of course. 

When thinking about camp, one of the key factors is irony. Camp is defined as something that is appealing because it is absurd or ironic. Going by this definition, there were some attendees who perfectly nailed the theme. Hailee Steinfeld wore a purple and green ombré dress by Viktor & Rolf with the words “No Photos Please” embroidered on the front — an ironic statement when you are at a highly photographed event. In terms of absurdity, Billy Porter being carried in on a lounger in an all gold look might take first place; however, Jared Leto in a red Gucci gown and crystal harness carrying a replica of his own head is also up there with some of the most absurd looks. 

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The 2019 Met Gala was truly a moment in pop culture history, whether it be because of the looks or the jokes. With Zendaya’s Cinderella look and the related jokes of Kylie and Kendall Jenner looking like the stepsisters from the movie, Karlie Kloss’s post on Twitter saying she was “Looking camp right in the eye,” and everyone’s disappointment when Rihanna did not attend, it was truly an unforgettable night for fashion enthusiasts, fans of celebrities and avid Twitter users.

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