What to expect from the MET Gala and ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’

“Camp: Notes on Fashion”, this year’s theme for the MET Gala and accompanying exhibition, has many people scratching their heads. What does Camp mean? Even Anna Wintour admitted on a Vogue.com video that the theme “has created a little bit of confusion”. If you, too, are not sure what to expect from tonight’s party and the exhibition opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts on Thursday, here’s all you need to know.

The theme

The theme was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp”, a word meaning “the love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration”. Think of Louis XIV, Oscar Wilde or, in Sontag’s words, a “woman walking around in a dress made of 3 million feathers”. To use contemporary examples, most of Bjork’s and Lady Gaga’s outfits at award shows are camp, as is pretty much anything contestants wear on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Tomo Koizumi, the designer who stole the show in the last New York Fashion Week thanks to huge, colorful, carnation-like organza gowns, is another great example of Camp aesthetics. Expect tonight’s outfits to be even more over-the-top than in previous editions, therefore.

According to the exhibit’s organizers, the theme is more current than ever as Camp defies conventions and gender norms, it’s about fantasy and nonconformity, “a refusal to grow up, a question mark that won’t let its line be straightened into an exclamation point”.

The exhibition

Featuring more than 250 objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present, including outfits from Moschino, Schiaparelli, Gucci, Off-White and Jeremy Scott, the exhibition will examine elements of theatricality, irony, humor, and pastiche in fashion. It will run from May 9 to September 8 at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Here are some of the outfits to be seen in the museum:

What to expect from the MET Gala and ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’What to expect from the MET Gala and ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’What to expect from the MET Gala and ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’

Photo credits 1: Jeremy Scott (American, born 1975) for House of Moschino (Italian, founded 1983). Ensemble, spring/summer 2018. Courtesy of Moschino. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019 - Bertrand Guyon (French, born 1965) for House of Schiaparelli (French, founded 1927). Ensemble, fall/winter 2018–19 haute couture. Courtesy of Schiaparelli. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019 - Jeremy Scott (American, born 1975) for House of Moschino (Italian, founded 1983). Dress, spring/summer 2017. Courtesy of Moschino. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019

Photo credits 2: Alessandro Michele (Italian, born 1972) for Gucci (Italian, founded 1921). Ensemble, fall/winter 2016–17. Courtesy of Gucci Historical Archive. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018 - Virgil Abloh (American, born 1980) for Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh (Italian, founded 2013). Ensemble, pre-fall 2018. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Virgil Abloh c/o Off-White™, 2018 (2018.585a–e). Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018 - Alejandro Gómez Palomo (Spanish, born 1992) for Palomo Spain (Spanish, founded 2015). Wedding ensemble, spring/summer 2018. Courtesy of Palomo Spain. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019

Photo credits 3: Jun Takahashi (Japanese, born 1969) for Undercover (Japanese, founded 1990). Ensemble, fall/winter 2017–18. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2017 (2017.399a–d). Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019 - Marjan Pejoski (British, born Macedonia, 1968). Dress, fall/winter 2000–2001. Courtesy of Marjan Pejoski. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019 - Jeremy Scott (American, born 1975). Ensemble, spring/summer 2012 menswear. Courtesy of Jeremy Scott. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019

Photo credits 4: Left: Walter Van Beirendonck (Belgian, born 1957). Ensemble, spring/summer 2009. Courtesy of Walter Van Beirendonck. Right: Vivienne Westwood (British, born 1941). Ensemble, fall/winter 1989–90. Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood Archive. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019 - Franco Moschino (Italian, 1950–1994) for House of Moschino (Italian, founded 1983). Shirt, spring/summer 1991. Courtesy of Moschino. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018 - Thom Browne (American, born 1965). Ensembles, spring/summer 2017. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Thom Browne, 2018 (2018.134.1a–d [left]) (2018.134.2a–f[right]). Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018

 

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