This article originally appeared on i-D
The Met Gala is without doubt one of the highlights of the fashion year, a night where nude strapless dresses are banished in favour of a host of outrageous looks. At least, that’s what we hope for — total and utter ridiculousness with some moments of transcendent chic. Last year’s Catholic theme gave us some memorable moments, including Rihanna as the Pope and Madonna as herself. Catholicism, however, was an easy theme for the assembled celebrities to interpret, and let them run rampant with heavy handed symbolism. This year’s theme, ‘camp,’ is a little harder, as most famous people are inherently camp, with their self seriousness and lurid taste. Key to camp, however, is willingness to poke fun at oneself, which is not something most celebrities are known for (camp icons Cher and Bette Midler aside). Here, i-D tallies our favourite looks and rates them ‘camp’ or simply ‘not camp,’ with nothing in between.
There is nothing more camp than a reveal, which Gaga nailed in deliciously camp fashion. The Academy Award-winning actress ascended the red carpet in a hot pink gown by her friend, the designer Brandon Maxwell, which she then shed in dramatic fashion to reveal a more sedate black gown beneath it, which she modeled with the help of an umbrella. She THEN lost the black gown, revealing another hot pink dress beneath it, this one very tight. She then finally shed the dress, revealing the iconically Gaga outfit of bra, fishnets, and vertiginous heels, which she wore to pull along a little pink wagon reading “House of Gaga.” We smell a beauty line.
Verdict: Hopelessly camp. Hopefully the umbrella is a reference to iconically camp film “Singing in the Rain,” but it was the desperately camp multiple reveals that made this look stand a head and shoulder above the rest, like a tall drag queen doing a show at a gay Bar Mitzvah. Gaga craves attention like we crave a really good album from her. CAMP!
How is she going to eat dinner?
I mean, do I need to explain how camp this is? Billy cemented himself as an icon of camp with his incredible gown at the Oscars, but this has taken it to another level. This is the campest thing we have ever seen. Ancient Egypt is innately camp because of all of those diva-ish Gods and Goddesses and the eye makeup, and being carried by hunky men is EXCEPTIONALLY camp, as is gold. But then revealing that your outfit has wings? As we have already established, a reveal is camp as hell. I am hoarse from screaming.
Verdict: C.A.M.P. That’s all.
Honestly I would have liked to see Harry in Alessandro Michele’s pink look, which is delightful in its excessive ruffled glory. But, gold star for the heels, which are divine, and the pussy bow at the neck of the blouse, which is also divine, as is the high waist line and use of lace cuffs. DIVINE! Actually this is totally camp, he looks like he’s about to light a cigarette in a Berlin cabaret circa the Weimar Republic. Top marks for other Gucci-clad attendees, Ashley Graham and Regina Hall, who looked effortlessly camp in their Dapper Dan outfits, and Dan himself, whose sunglasses were camp.
Verdict: The pearl earring and glamorous date make this extra camp.
Serena was one of the evening’s hosts, which is camp in itself — being the hostess of a party is camp. So is wearing Versace, as Donatella is a practically the high priestess of camp, with her self-aware Instagrams and thoroughly established visual persona. The exaggerated proportions of this dress nudge it into camp territory, but it’s the fact she wore it with Nikes that truly makes it camp — while flat shoes are not usually camp, wearing them on a red carpet definitely is.
Verdict: Quite camp. Serena’s innate poise works against her in the camp stakes.
Honestly this pose is the campest thing ever — Celine is an icon of camp even before she deigns to put on clothes, she just can’t help it. The Queen of Quebec looks like an exploded star, a chandelier that fell to earth, an alien. She is wearing a “bodysuit” and a “headpiece,” both innately camp items of clothing, only to be worn upon the stage. She is also really, really tan. Like she had a nuclear bomb dropped on her. I just love this so much.
Verdict: Camp, from the ends of her toes to the tips of her fingers.
I’m very taken by Aquaria’s bejeweled claws, which paired with her Maison Margiela shredded gown make her look like a particularly camp witch. It’s cunning of the RPDR champion to go in a different direction for the Gala — while we might have expected her to bring high glamor and femininity, instead she’s gone with a high fashion, deconstructed allure. The stiff wig is another joy, linking her to John Galliano’s rich history with hair and makeup. Galliano is an exceptionally camp designer, incorporating the language of camp throughout his long and storied career.
Verdict: Wigs are innately camp.
Pierpaolo Piccilio’s vision of Valentino rarely crosses over into camp because he has such exquisite taste and and understanding of elegance. Joan Collins, however, is one of the campest women ever to mince the streets of Monaco, a towering icon of camp ever since she threw the first slap in Dynasty. This woman oozes camp from every pore, and her teased wig is the crown of thorns of camp, a sacred relic. Not to mention the tiara. Pierpaolo is a genius.
Verdict: This is so camp in heaven even Jackie Collins is screaming.
AAAAAAAAAAAH! Carrying your own head is just so CAMP. Thank you Jared for wearing this truly divine Gucci gown, swathed in crystals, and carrying this lifelike head no doubt inspired by the ones carried in the fall ‘18 collection. I wonder if there’s space inside the head so that it can be used like a clutch? The mind boggles. I think we can all go home now.
Verdict: So camp it has not only snatched my wig, but also my head.
Tessa Thompson and Lupita Nyong'o
OK we can't go home just yet, because of this interstellar hair stories being served by Lupita and Tessa. Lupita has obviously channelled the camp mantra "the higher the hair the closer to God," and crowned her rainbow look with a tower of afro combs. Meanwhile, Tessa has made her hair into a whip, and looks like a particularly camp dominatrix/maid. Oh and she was also carrying an actual whip just in case you didn't get the message. Mistress Tessa will see you now.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.