Words by the MYSHUBOX Editorial Team
Contrary to popular belief the 2019 MET gala theme, ‘Camp’ has nothing to do with tents and sleeping outdoors… it is in fact inspired by an essay written by Susan Sontag “Notes on Camp”.
The concept of “camp” is an often misunderstood sensibility hat views art through ideas of irony, overemphasis, and stylisation. Sontag argued in her writings that camp is the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration . . . style at the expense of content . . . the triumph of the epicene style.” The 2018 Met Gala theme looked at how artefacts of religious significance have influenced fashion, this years exhibition explores a theme of what is described as greater contemporary relevance.
“We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as empty frivolity but can be actually a very sophisticated and powerful political tool, especially for marginalized cultures,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curator-in-charge Andrew Bolton told The New York Times. “Whether it’s pop camp, queer camp, high camp, or political camp — Trump is a very camp figure — I think it’s very timely.”
‘Camp’ is an accurate reflection of what is happening in the wider world we live in today, especially in relation to politics and fashion. Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Donald Trump, the exaggerated androgynous looks of Lady Gaga, gender neutrality and a recent fresh influence of pop art in fashion have accentuated the prominence of camp in today’s culture. However, it is important to note that ‘Camp’ is not a new concept. Influences date back to the 19th century, when the term was coined by Lord Arthur Clinton on a letter to his lover “Frederik Park”, who was a cross-dresser most popularly known as “Fanny”. Louis XIV’s brother Philippe I, duc d’Orléans, who Bolton has referred to as a “paradigm of camp”, was famously known for his obsession with jewellery, clothing and effeminate manner. Older representations of camp as pointed out by Sontag were found in “Busby Berkeley movies, the he-man actor Victor Mature, Mae West and General de Gaulle, Swan Lake, Flash Gordon comics, Caravaggio, Chinoiserie, and the entirety of the Art Nouveau movement” and of course Andy Warhol.
What can we expect?
Exaggeration, androgyny, and borrowing Bolton’s words; “failed seriousness (…), a bow that’s too big, too many feathers [and] too many sequins.” We predict that there will be pieces showcased from Iconic designers such as; Charles James, Cristobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Franco Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jeremy Scott and Thom Browne. Alongside pieces from new-generation designers such as Off-White.
What we hope to see?
We foresee celebrity costumes on display from Elton John, Liberace, Bowie and Cher but are secretly hoping to see iconic pieces from Grace Jones, Prince , Jimmy Hendrix and RuPaul on display!
We speculate that Virgil Abloh, close personal friend of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will be dressing the pair in creatively customised Off-White looks for this years Met Gala, although she has been seen in a number of Couture pieces from Mugler. Abloh has also collaborated with Nike to create pieces for Serena Williams, it is highly likely that she will wear an on theme ensemble from the Off-White Creative Director. Our prediction for Lady Gaga is that we should expect absolutely anything & EVERYTHING from her this year… think back to Gaga circa 2010 and the infamous ‘meat dress’ pops to mind… expect the unexpected!
Whilst some celebrities in attendance will partner with designers who they have relationships with we are always rooting for the New Guard and would love to see more collaborations with emerging designers. Think Ariana in Area, Rihanna in Richard Quinn, Adwoa Aboah in another Halpern appearance or Yara Shahidi in pieces from South African designer Rich Mnisi all would make a refreshing change to the usual roll call of designers featured on the red carpet.
Let us not forget the accessories!
Accessories should continue the theme of exaggeration and opulence! Although we believe that most attendees will reach for Vetements, Balenciaga, Balmain, Nicholas, Kirkwood, Sophia Webster or Alexandre Vauthier, we’d love to see shoes from our favourite new footwear designers. Our predictions are that styles from luxury shoe brand of the moment, ‘Amina Muaddi’ will make their Met Gala debut, Rihanna and Rosie Huntington-Whitely are already loyal fans of the young Jordanian-Romanian designer.
Shoe styles from Brother Vellies, Dorateymur, Malone Souliers, Rosbalet, Attico and Unravel Project would also fit the theme perfectly!