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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.


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.

Freshman Year

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.


#MetGala wearing custom #TomFord inspired by #ElizabethTaylor in #Boom

A post shared by Gemma Chan (@gemma_chan) on



The stunning @constancewu at tonight’s Met Gala. #marchesa #metgala #constancewu

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Honor Students

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.



I love this woman so much!!! #janellemonae #metgala #metball #camp ????????????

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Cultural Appropriation

“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.



MET 2019 @darrencriss attends the #METGALA in a #BALMAIN custom-made look. #BALMAINARMY #METCAMP

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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 .”


Happy campers #metgala ??: @lexieblacklock . . . . #wwdfashion #metgala #joancollins #pierpaolopiccioli

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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.

Lead photos via @voguemagazine and @metmuseum