A-list celebrities dress in their ‘campy’ best

The 71st annual Met Gala, planned by Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, as a way to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, was held Monday night (May 6, 2019) in New York. The event – as always – proved that some of the biggest stars on the planet weren’t afraid to take some severe fashion risks.

“Come the first Monday of May every year, the pressure’s heightened as those invited to the exclusive Costume Institute Gala take to the historic Met steps to be judged on their clothing choices for the night, not only on their aesthetic appeal but also in its alignment with the year’s theme,” noted Variety.

The annual event, which is all about the fashion it inspires, centers around the latest exhibit’s theme. Previous themes have included ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ in which attendees made sartorial allusions to religion, and ‘Manus x Machina’ that drew inspiration from evolving technology.

This year’s theme, ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’, is in reference to Susan Sontag’s essay, ‘Notes on Camp’.

But what does camp truly mean? And how does one interpret something that isn’t really supposed to be deliberate? Susan Sontag defines camp as: “A sensibility that revels in artifice, stylization, theatricalization, irony, playfulness, and exaggeration rather than content.”

Explaining what it ‘Camp’ means to him, Broadway and Pose star Billy Porter told Variety, “Camp means irreverence. Camp means as hugely over-the-top and grand and what some may feel is ridiculous and silly, and embracing all of those creative impulses inside us that very often are squelched.”

According to fashion critic Tom Fitzgerald of website Tom + Lorenzo, in its purest form, camp is inadvertent. “I subscribe mostly to what Sontag said about camp. It is not deliberate — it’s how the audience receives something. It’s not how the person puts something out,” he said.

And most celebrities who attended the charity dinner interpreted the theme broadly and explored ‘how irony, humour, theatricality and exaggeration are expressed in fashion’.

Lady Gaga had four wardrobe changes on the red carpet. One also witnessed Jared Leto holding his own prosthetic severed head, while Billy Porter was seen sprouting golden wings. Moreover, Katy Perry chose to wear a chandelier dress (literally) and Zendaya donned a Cinderella dress that glowed in the dark. And the list goes on.

– With information from Variety

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