Big proportions, breaking gender roles, ugly but make it fashion, ostentatious and more are all aspects of camp. The Met Gala’s 2019 theme was camp which was hit or miss with many celebrities.
Camp was originated by drag queens, especially Black drag queens, when it was illegal and even more dangerous to be openly gay. Camp is, in many ways, a form of feminine expression, flamboyance and at times political with elements of irony and criticism of authority/society. Camp is many things but above all is usually over the top and exaggerated.
One of the most prestigious and fashionable events of the year, the Met Gala had many shining stars who followed the theme. Co-chairs for the event included Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and Anna Wintour.
One look worn by screenwriter Lena Waithe was a suit with lyrics of popular drag songs in small print to look like stripes while the back said “Black Drag Queen Invented Camp.” This suit had a big message that was enhanced by the, at first glance, simple look.
History was made when, for the first time ever, drag queens attended the Met Gala.
Unfortunately, they did not do the camp theme any justice.
Aquaria, season 10 winner of popular tv show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was the first official drag queen to hit the pink carpet. Her black ribbon dress and white structured wig left more to be desired with a lack of big proportion or shocking color. Aquaria faded into the background and looked like she had on a simple black dress.
Fashion icon and Season 7 winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Violet Chachki, did not fare much better. She actually did have on a simple velvet dress but had somewhat more camp with a giant hand at the end of her gown’s train.
Even camp and drag pioneer RuPaul Charles himself did not do the camp theme justice. Arriving out of drag and with a somewhat simple (for him) colored suit, much more could have been done by all of these drag queens to truly encompass and honor the camp theme.
Semi boring, debatably camp, black suits also littered the Met Gala pink carpet including those by singer Shawn Mendes, actor Michael B Jordan, actor Rami Malik and many more.
Meanwhile others fit the camp theme perfectly with outfits over the top and amazing. Singer Janelle Monae was one of the top looks of the night with an amazing picasso inspired look by Christian Siriano where one breast was an eye, another eye was a bag attached to her hand, four hats were stacked on top of her head and the bottom of the gown was wide proportioned hips with one half containing a mouth.
Katy Perry also showed up in a larger than life blinding display of a human chandelier that captured the fun and large proportions so essential to the camp theme. More big proportion highlights included singer Cardi B’s giant red quilted and feathered dress that had a train so big and long that it required ten men to hold it behind her.
Two outfits that weren’t the best looks but had amazing camp performances to bring them over the top were singer and Met Gala co-chair Lady Gaga and actress Zendaya. Gaga had an astonishing four outfits total with three outfit changes right on the pink carpet. While only the first outfit was the most camp for its proportions, her following outfits were all mildly disappointing considering her early career outfits were way more camp, such as her meat dress. Gaga delivered it with larger than life accessories though including: long gold and spiky lashes, dances and mannerisms on the carpet.
Zendaya had a drab grey blue dress on that was pretty big but the true magic happened when her stylist waved a wand on the carpet and her dress slowly lit up from the bottom to top. Clearly channelling Cinderella with the dress, hair, and horse drawn carriage purse, Zendaya committed to the role by leaving a glass slipper halfway down the pink carpet.
Other more subtler, modest versions of camp were also seen. While being called the “king of camp” by Vogue, Met Gala co-chair and singer Harry Styles wore a fairly simple lace long sleeve top with extreme high waisted slacks, accompanied with one large earring. The balance of feminine and masculine elements of his look served a more lowkey style of camp.
Actor Ezra Miller was another more toned down look with a striped suit. Miller played it up with makeup that included mirrored eyes, a large white stoned cape that matched the stoned structured corset worn over the suit and a plain male mask to reveal the elaborate makeup hidden underneath.
Overall, many people failed to deliver but the few shining stars stood out even more.
Victoria Ivie is the Features Editor at the Courier. She is majoring in Photojournalism and hopes to work as a Photojournalist in a major publication where she is able to travel for work. Her photography work can be found in the Courier as well as on instagram at vi.photos.