An Exploration of Camp: Next Year's Met Gala Theme Explained

An Exploration of Camp: Next Year's Met Gala Theme Explained


cr fashion book logo.png

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that 2019's Costume Institute exhibition would be about Camp, you might've thought about roasted marshmallows and pitched tents. But, the Spring unveiling has more to do with our current cultural climate than campfire songs.

Inspired by an essay written by Susan Sontag titled Notes on "Camp," 58 definitions were penned in 1964 to explain just what Andrew Bolton, the museum's curator in charge of the Costume Institute, has chosen as the most relevant fashion movement of the year.

The exhibition will be launched with fashion's largest celebration at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Monday, May 6th, marking the event's 71st anniversary. This year, the Gala co-chairs will be Lady Gaga, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, and Serena Williams. As with previous years, there will be a dinner, performances, and a tour of the exhibit for the guests.

Beginning with the ostentatious King Louis XIV in the French courts (think lavish Versailles and royal ballets to represent opulence) and culminating on the runway in current collections, Camp has officially trickled into modern fashion. To get a better understanding of Camp, look no further than Sontag's notes: 

5. Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others. Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual décor, for instance, make up a large part of Camp.
7. All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. Nothing in nature can be campy . . . Rural Camp is still man-made, and most campy objects are urban.
10. Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a "lamp"; not a woman, but a "woman."
19. The pure examples of Camp are unintentional; they are dead serious.
24. When something is just bad (rather than Camp), it's often because it is too mediocre in its ambition. The artist hasn't attempted to do anything really outlandish.
25. The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.
54. The experiences of Camp are based on the great discovery that the sensibility of high culture has no monopoly upon refinement.

Read the full article on CR Fashion Book here.