Fashion’s biggest fundraising event returned recently, bringing with it a host of over-the-top
red carpet looks. The Costume Institute Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met Gala in short, saw jaw-dropping outfits befitting this year’s theme – Camp: Notes In Fashion.
The word Camp can be traced to the reign of the French King Louis XIV, and the Met Gala and the accompanying exhibition takes inspiration from Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp, which — although published 50 years ago — predicted today’s modern camp aesthetic, which can be referred to as a certain
flamboyance, and theatricality.
Sontag believed that Camp was neither gender or sexuality specific, but subversive. “The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance,” she wrote. The cultural trope pushes the boundaries of gender and androgyny, and must, at all cost, be “playful and anti-serious.”
See the most striking on-theme looks for both men and women in the gallery below:
All eyes were on Ezra Miller. The actor’s dizzying makeup look by Mimi Choi comprised of five painted eyes. He came decked in a Burberry black pinstriped wool suit overlaid with a crystal corset and a train, Miller finished the eye-popping look by carrying a face mask on a stick. Photo: Dia Dipasupil via FilmMagic
Jared Leto proved that two heads are certainly better than one. Wearing a crystal-studded red satin high-necked Gucci tunic, he carried a replica of his decapitated head as a clutch. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Making his debut at the Met Gala was Harry Styles. Dressed in a custom-made Gucci black sheer organza shirt and high-waisted black wool mohair trousers, a single pearl earring and multiple rings, Styles’ gender-subversive look was a subtle yet stylish way of taking on the Camp theme. Photo: John Shearer via Getty Images for THR
As Sontag said, Camp refers to “going against the grain of one’s sex”. Continuing the series of gender-bending looks, Michael Urie wore a Victor/Victoria-eqsue Christian Siriano creation that combined half a ballgown with half a pinstriped suit. The look was completed with his makeup, which was half fully made up, and half bare-faced with scruffy facial hair. Photo: Christian Siriano via Instagram
Billy Porter made his royal debut at the Met Gala on the backs of six, shirtless men. Bedecked in a “Sun God” ensemble made up of a bejewelled catsuit with a 24-karat gold headpiece by The Blonds, he later spread his arms to reveal the 10-foot gilded wings attached to his suit. Photo: Theo Wargo/ Getty Images via Billy Porter on Instagram
Camp is a word we always associate with Lady Gaga, and the singer-actress lived up to her reputation by bringing not one, not two but four looks by Brandon Maxwell to the red carpet, flaunted via a performance and with the help of an entourage of suited-up men. Photo: Kevin Tachman via Getty Images
Singer Janelle Monae came to the Met Gala in a high tech ensemble — her balloon-hipped Christian Siriano dress features a motorised blinking eye. A nod to Picasso’s African period, the dress resembles a fragmented portrait of a face. Photo: Christian Siriano via Instagram
Hate her or love her, you can’t stop the Cardi B train, especially one of this length with feather accents. The rapper wore a Thom Browne dress complete with a bejewelled headpiece, and nipple accents, which are 44-carat rubies by designer Stefere Jewelry. The dress took 35 people and 3,000 hours to create. Photo: Cardi B via Instagram
Some are calling it a Claire Danes moment, but we’ll give props where it’s due. Zendaya turned up to the Met Gala in a Cinderella dress by Tommy Hilfiger complete with glass slippers, and a fairy godbrother (her stylist Law Roach) in tow. With the flick of his wand, Roach changed her dress from grey to blue, leaving bystanders awed. Photo: Tommy Hilfiger via Instagram
Celine Dion may have admitted that she didn’t quite understand the Met Gala’s theme, but she still nailed it anyway. The singer wore a floor-length fringe bodysuit by Oscar De La Renta that reportedly took over 3,000 hours to create, and weighs almost 10kg — a small sacrifice from the new Queen of Couture who believes that “the day you start thinking about comfort, you’re getting old”. She finished the look with an elaborate headpiece and chandelier earrings. Photo: Celine Dion via Instagram