When I think about red carpet fashion, my heart sinks. The same old suits, ties, ill-fitting or downright boring looks traipse down the red carpet, season after season, with the emerging headlines existing as an appreciation of celebrity culture, hidden in the guise of a fashion report.
But when that first Monday in May comes around? That’s worthy of celebration, a happy dance of sorts for fashion writers everywhere.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, more colloquially known as the Met Gala takes place every year as a fundraiser for the Costume Institute and celebrates the Museum’s latest blockbuster exhibition. Following last year’s controversial, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, 2019’s theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion, inspired by 1964 essay by Susan Sontag titled Notes on Camp, work heralded for introducing the concept of camp to the mainstream.
Speaking to the New York Times, Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute said, “We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as frivolity but can actually be very sophisticated and powerful political tool, especially for marginalised cultures.”
So what exactly does camp entail in terms of a dress code? An air of intentional over-the-top-ness for one. For Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and chair of the Met Gala since 1995, it’s simply about “having fun”. As puppetmaster of the event, Wintour wore the last Chanel dress that Karl Lagerfeld designed before he sadly passed away earlier this year. Famously camp celebrities such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga took the theme in their stride, as was eagerly anticipated.
Lady Gaga certainly didn’t disappoint, creating an entire Russian doll performance out of her red carpet appearance. She first took to the carpet in a fuschia dress complete with an enormous train and an entourage of men in suits holding umbrellas. Upon her arrival on the stairs, she began to morph into outfit number two, a black gown that set the stage for her third change into a hot pink column dress. The final strip down revealed her underwear along with intense platform stilettos with her only accessory a bandwagon of champagne.
“We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as frivolity but can actually be a very sophisticated and powerful political tool, especially for marginalised cultures.”
Katy Perry wore a chandelier with a 40 pound headpiece and apparently rolled her eyes when asked how she would sit down, responding with a simple “You don’t sit down at The Met.” True to her word the star was later spotted dancing having transformed into a burger costume.
Other highlights included Celine Dion who donned an Oscar de la Renta gown clearly designed to test the breaking point of the internet. The look consisted of a clingy champagne coloured bodysuit embellished with silver sequins and sleeves draped in 3000 strands of floor length fringe made of micro-cut glass bugle beads, finished off with gold-tinted feather headpiece of singed peacock feathers created by milliner Noel Stewart.
For more highlights and best dressed moments, check out our gallery below.