The Met, The Memes, And The Magnificent Men.
If there was any doubt left that this is Lady Gaga’s world and we’re just living in it, her entrance (Interpretive dance? Live-action short film??) to this year’s Met Gala put them to rest.
Delivering no less than *four* custom Brandon Maxwell looks – including a pink wagon carting several Brandon Maxwell handbags each containing a champagne bottle – Lady Gaga reminded us that she’s the best to ever do it. I mean, imagine *not* having six male models to lay at your feet while you ascend the stairs of the Met?????? I could never.
— ً (@lalisasbunz) May 6, 2019
Before we go any further, let me break down the theme for those who have expressed their confusion. “Camp: Notes on Fashion” was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, ‘Notes on Camp’. When you think of camp in the context of fashion, you might think Fran Drescher. Or Jeremy Scott’s work for Moschino. Maybe Marie Antoinette screaming “LET THEM EAT CAKE!” or Ru Paul’s Drag Race. You might think queer culture or the Viktor & Rolf SS19 couture show and it’s supersized tulle gowns emblazoned with slogans like “I”m Not Shy I Just Don’t Like You”. Perhaps you’re thinking Cardi B in vintage Thierry Mugler at The Grammys this year or anything by Molly Goddard. And you’d be right! In fact, the only thing camp isn’t is safe. This undefinable word could have sent celebrities and their PR teams into a psychotic breakdown at the thought of misinterpreting or under-delivering at fashion’s Super Bowl. But if there were any nerves, you couldn’t tell.
Aside from Gaga, other co-chairs of the event including Anna Wintour, Serena Williams and Harry Styles all took the theme in different directions – indirectly acknowledging just how undefinable the word is. Serena arrived in custom neon Versace couture paired with Off-White Nike sneakers, Anna wore a pink crystal-embellished gown with a pink and purple feathered cape that she said was inspired by the Sontag essay, but it was Harry that ultimately served as an indication for what the rest of the carpet had in store for us.
Harry arrived with Gucci designer Alessandro Michele who had dressed him in an elegant, sheer black blouse tied in a bow under his chin, showing off the legions of tattoos on his chest. He opted for men’s heels, black and blue nail polish and a single pearl earring that rivalled those worn by the bloggers littering your Instagram feed. He looked beautiful, relaxed and decidedly feminine. It was surprisingly moving to see other heterosexual men dip their toe in the space between genders: from football player Odell Beckham Jnr in a Thom Browne kilt, Darren Criss in bright blue eyeshadow, musician Anderson Paak in blush pink Gucci, to Nick Jonas in sparkling Christian Louboutin men’s heels, a silver ear cuff and noticeably highlighted cheekbones (Nick J!!!). As journalist Elaine Welteroth pointed out, “It is the first time that the Met has entered queer culture in such a pronounced way.” Yes, the debate rages on as to whether Frank Ocean’s decidedly casual appearance in a classic suit and Prada windbreaker was due to him misinterpreting “camp” as “camping” or whether he deduced his natural born identity as a gay black man to be sufficiently “on theme” – whatever the reason, he looked beautiful and we will Stan forever.
— HSD (@hsdaily) May 6, 2019
— Paper Magazine 🦋 (@papermagazine) May 7, 2019
And then there were our beautiful ladies reclaiming their time! Lily Collins paid homage to Priscilla Presley on her wedding day. Amber Valletta served us vixen-showgirl-realness in a black body suit and neon green feather boa. Katy Perry went as a chandelier (WhyDoesSheAlwaysDoThis). Kendall and Kylie finally dressed to theme. Hailey Bieber wore a pink Alexander Wang g-string. And Diane von Furstenberg went as the Statue of Liberty don’t @ me!!!
So let me just say it: Best. Met. Ever.
There was more tulle than the workroom on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. There was more pink than an Elle Woods convention. And there were more memes than a high schooler’s Tumblr account. It was like going out for dinner with your parents, getting a table with one of those disposable paper tablecloths, the waiter giving you a box of six hundred crayons and being told to go ham: it looked a lot like freedom and it felt a lot like joy.