The Met Gala’s Theme Explained
Since its inception in 1948, The Met Gala has become an institution hosted by Vogue, dedicated to showcasing fantastical looks you could only dream of. It’s a place where the most stylish go to live out our Cinderella daydreams, if only we had a fairy godmother like Anna Wintour in sunglasses and Valentino. While it is most publicly known for which celebrity wore what on the red carpet, it’s actually a yearly gala to welcome the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newest costume institute exhibition, which this year was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Before this year’s gala, we had little idea what “camp” actually meant or its history.
Camp, in its essence, it difficult to define. “To talk about camp is to betray it” wrote Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay, Notes on Camp. Like Fight Club, of which the first rule is to not to talk about Fight Club. Of course, camp now has entered common vernacular and culture, but in some ways still holds true that to look it directly in the eye spoils the fun a bit.
History is filled with examples of camp. First mentioned with Louis XIV and later Oscar Wilde, both exploring different aspects of the camp aesthetic. Easier to spot in film and pop culture in the 20th century in films like Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975 or Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion in 1997 (which, from experience I can say makes for a great Halloween costume). It has deep roots in drag culture and is often displayed on shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race. In music you can see Cher, Elton John, or Katy Perry exemplifying the genre.
This is the perfect year for camp style to regain its footing with upcoming films like Rocketman, and also across superheroes movie trends (check out the 1966 Batman for some classic camp). It is evident in the masses of people flooding Comic-Con annually to pageant their theatrical and fun-loving costumes dedicated to their favorite characters. Camp is all around us and only sparks more joy with each added feather boa.
Ever hard to define with a flair for the dramatics, we have collected some of our favorite camp-inspired pieces from sustainable designers. While these pieces are great to bring a little camp into your everyday wardrobe, one of the best ways to find unique and dramatic pieces is to thrift for them!
1. Lumiere Dress | Reformation
Bright pink polka dots are fully in the pursuit of lighthearted pleasure. Pairs well with rose and pink flamingos.
Shop | $218
2. Devyani Cotton Kaftan | Fair Trade Winds
Elizabeth Taylor was queen of kaftans and wearing one brings you a little closer to her royalty.
Shop | $56
3. 100% Human Muscle Tank | Everlane
Irony is king when it comes to camp. We are all 100% human, some of us are just more willing to admit than others.
Shop | $22
4. Joy Puffer Coat | Stella McCartney
What’s camp without a little couture and an otherworldly moonscape?
Shop | $2,595
5. Agate Blue Slide + Striped Floral Elsie | Alterre
Stripes and florals, you thought you could never, but Alterre is here to make your dreams a reality.
Shop | $245
I’ll see you all on the couch watching the Met Gala red carpet in my disco ball dress and floor length cape. What have been your favorite Met Gala themes? Share in the comments below!
Sarah Spoljaric is a California girl through and through. She has a BA in World History from one of the top 10 greenest campuses in the world; The University of California, Merced and is a Content Curator for the visual travel app Trepic. She has a background in museum curating, loves reading women’s travel journals and is in search of the perfect IPA. She’s passionate about exploring this beautiful world that ethically-produced goods help to protect. Say hi on Instagram!