Just when you thought the Met Gala red carpet couldn’t get any crazier, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute announced today the theme of its upcoming fashion exhibition: camp, as in all things campy in fashion. Sponsoring the show will be none other than Gucci, the luxury brand that designer Alexander Michele has taken to outrageous heights with the help of such collaborators as Elton John and Dapper Dan, by putting human heads, balaclavas, Paramount Pictures logos, Mets team jerseys and more on his costumey runways.
Titled “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” the exhibition will run May 9 through Sept. 8, 2019, and is inspired by cultural critic Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp,” which posited different ways the concept can be construed, according to the announcement published on Vogue.com. Sontag argued that camp is the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration…style at the expense of content…the triumph of the epicene style,” explains the exhibition’s curator Andrew Bolton.
It’s a concept that certainly has been resonating in society lately, whether you are looking at the political ascendance of reality show star-turned-president Donald Trump (due to be visited by Kanye West in the White House today, natch), the rise of social media “stars” vying to out peacock each other on all platforms, or the success of fashion brands like Gucci and Balenciaga, which thrive on exaggeration to the point that runway show goers sometimes wonder if they are being punked.
For Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele, Sontag’s essay “perfectly expresses what camp truly means to me: the unique ability of combining high art and pop culture.”
I can’t wait to see how Hollywood and fashion guests to the first-Monday-in-May gala top last year’s red carpet, where they came dressed as saints, sinners, angels, even a female Pope. Co-chairs of the May 6 event will be Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, Gucci’s Michele and Vogue’s Anna Wintour. Let the camp trip begin.
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