CAMP GLAM: Notes On A Night of Inanity, Insanity And Everything Else In Between
Diana Vreeland, who started the Met Ball, had no problem with bad taste. She once said, “A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” So she probably would have had a ball at this year’s gala. Certainly classic “good taste” was thrown out the window and fashion’s players went to town on the pink carpet.
They say that making an entrance is key, and where is that more true than at the #MetGala? But, on the first Monday in May, grand entrances aren’t just for the guests. Thanks to @raulavilainc, the event’s designer, the @metmuseum’s Great Hall and its stairs transform annually into a floral-filled wonderworld. Tonight, after celebrities ascend the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they will gaze upon a bow-legged water fowl, standing 25 feet tall and comprised of 30,000 flowers. Above, watch as this year's grand entrance for #MetCamp comes to life. Tap the link in our bio for more stunning centerpieces from #MetGalas past.
But when does bad taste become ridiculous? And on such a night, with camp as a theme, is there ever such a thing as too much? Is there such a thing as bad taste done well?
In a word, yes. When wit and irony and a little bit of humor (or maybe, in this case, more than a little ) come into play, outrageous can become a balancing act of stylish proportions.
MAGA: Make Appearance Gaga Again
Out was the elegant and pristine Gaga of the Oscars—the Lady came to play. With her 16-minute Russian doll-like reveal and cavorting on the carpet, the Academy Award winner made the Met Gala her personal installation art piece. As a co-host of the evening, Gaga and her friend and stylist Brandon Maxwell designed a four-in-one gown that started as a voluminous coat that became a strapless ball gown that then became a high waisted bikini. Complete with a platoon of men in black who held black umbrellas over her, it was over the top, it was fun, it was Gaga.
Anna Wintour likes to include pop culture pioneers and newsmakers on the Met Gala list and since Crazy Rich Asians was a buzzword movie last year, Gemma Chan and Constance Wu, couture-clad Astrid and clueless Rachel, made their Met Gala debuts. Gemma was pristine and perfect in a caper Tom Ford that was molded on her body and a floral head dress. Constance went 1920’s, in classic overachiever Asian mode, as Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp (on which this year’s exhibit was based ) wrote a whole list of 1920s elements that are part of the camp canon: feathers, flapper dresses and beads, beads, beads. Gemma and Constance May not signal the sea change of representation that Asians crave, but they certainly made a splash in this year’s ball.
But the camp championship awards must go to Janelle Monae and Ezra Miller, who created winking nods to Surrealism, the duality of theater and gender fluidity. The exaggeration and artifice of camp have long been associated with crossing gender lines and these two style savants certainly ran away with the innate showmanship and mind blowing potential of not giving a f___k.
Actor #EzraMiller attends this year’s #MetGala in custom #Burberry, designed by #RiccardoTisci. 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. . The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 06.05.19 . #MetCamp
“Say goodbye to toxic masculinity" went a lot of tweets, citing Darren Criss and co-host Harry Styles as paragons of style freedom. The preponderance of Disney and Barbie references and ethereal fairies also called to mind a longing for a lost childhood, a return to innocence that may or may need have truly been there. With all the contentiousness of #MeToo and the chaos of politics becoming truly burdensome, the idea that we are actually becoming more tolerant and more compassionate is actually quite a comfort.
Costume Institute Benefit Co-Chairs @alessandro_michele and @harrystyles on their way to the #MetGala. Sponsored by #Gucci, the @metcostumeinstitute’s spring 2019 exhibition explores the origins of camp's exuberant aesthetic. Photo by @bradelterman. #MetCamp #AlessandroMichele #CostumeInstitute
All hail the queen
Perhaps the only moment that could outdo Lady Gaga was Dame Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter of 80s camp bible Dynasty as Marie Antoinette. Decked out in Valentino and a diamond tiara, Joan showed all the young ones out there: “Too much is never enough .”
Until next year’s Super Bowl of Fashion, revel in the crazy. Fashion exists to reflect the times and define them and as another camp diva once said: It’s going to be a bumpy ride.