Must-see looks from fashion’s biggest night out.
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Images: Getty Images
(The idea of) authenticity is having a cultural moment. Whether accessed through ‘experiences’ or connoted by the diverse faces of carefully curated influencers, everyone seems to be chasing the pot of realness at the end of the Insta-filter rainbow. It’s a bold move then for Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Andrew Bolton, to open his latest exhibition “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
The concept of camp couldn’t be further from the aforementioned authenticity. As detailed in the seminal essay by writer and activist Susan Sontag after which the exhibition is named, camp’s main ingredients include artifice, excess, extravagance, irony, and nostalgia. As is tradition, the Met Gala on the first Monday in May tasks every major celebrity you know to walk the red carpet dressed in tune with the exhibition’s theme.
If there was ever a time to be extra, this is it. Perhaps the most important component of camp is its self-awareness: it revels knowingly in its unapologetic extravagance. That, one might argue, is its own notable brand of authenticity.
The co-chair wore and was accompanied by designer Brandon Maxwell. She served a four-part fashion story, starting with a giant topcoat and stripping down to a lingerie moment that recalled her Bad Romance days. The reveal is worth a YouTube search.
Always one you can count on for a Met Ball red carpet statement, this year Katy Perry shone in a chandelier by Moschino. The ultimate Gucci ambassador, Jared Leto, referenced the brand’s Fall 2018 show by carrying his own head as accessory.
“Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers,” wrote Sontag. No one (and there were many contenders) wore quite as many feathers as Cardi B in her Thom Browne gown. Looking at the train may spark a flashback to Rihanna’s 2015 Guo Pei gown – the ‘pizza dress’ that launched a million memes. Rihanna, though notably absent this year, has a history of Met best-dressed moments second to none.
In the spirit of multiple faces, the actor Ezra Miller wore a Burberry suit, a shimmering corset piece and an optical illusion beauty look that was dizzying to witness. And speaking of shimmering, of all the showgirls on the red carpet, and there were many, Céline was queen in her Oscar de la Renta fringe-and-feather fantasy.
A reminder that celebrities are nothing without the magic of their fairy godmother stylists, Law Roach lights up Zendaya’s Tommy Hilfiger dress in a Cinderella moment of note.
Channelling Marie Antoinette in her rainbow-shoulder Versace gown, Lupita Nyong'o exudes style star power. Jemima and Lena wore pieces from British designer Christopher Kane’s Fall 2019 fetish collection, instantly triggering a pang of Girls nostalgia.
Céline’s showgirl associates dazzle with Kim in Mugler and Jennifer, Kylie and Kendall in Versace.
Winking at surrealist masters Dali and Picasso, the singer fuses fine art and fashion in a look by Christian Siriano.
The Broadway theatre owner’s Iris van Herpen cape has what appeared to be a closed theatre curtain print, until he spread it out to reveal a full opera house.
Carried in by six subjects, Billy Porter serves Sun God realness in a jumpsuit by The Blonds, accessorised by 3-meter wide wings and a 24-karat gold headpiece. VOGUE dubbed it the most fabulous entrance in Met Gala history. That’s all.