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Which 'Camp'-Themed Met Gala Outfits Are Best for Actual Camping?

We asked a camping expert which outfits would actually survive in nature.

by River Donaghey
May 7 2019, 3:45pm

Images by (from left): Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images, Karwai Tang/Getty Images, Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The Met Gala is apparently a party (?) where famous people dress up in elaborate outfits (??) and go hang out at a museum (???) or something. It happens every year, and every year I ignore it, because I am not famous and I have terrible fashion sense and I only go to museums on the free nights when it is busy and not fun. But when the 2019 Met Gala announced its new theme, "Camp," I immediately jolted to attention.

Who doesn't love to camp? The fresh air, the tents, the charred hot dogs crammed onto dirty sticks? I may have left the Oregon woodland paradise where I grew up and moved to a terrible trash city for the past decade, but I haven't lost that deep, overwhelming urge to sleep outside and periodically touch a tree. Maybe this year's Met Gala finally had something for me.

Unfortunately, it did not. The "camp" that the gala overlords meant was more Rocky Horror, less REI. There were no rain ponchos or SmartWool socks. Instead, Harry Styles dressed up in a mosquito net, Lady Gaga wore three different outfits, and Ru Paul rolled up in a double-breasted, day-glo zebra suit. No one came dressed by Cabela's.

But the whole innocent and definitely real misunderstanding got us here at VICE thinking. So I called up Peter Brown Hoffmeister, author of Let Them Be Eaten by Bears: A Fearless Guide to Taking Our Kids into the Great Outdoors and founder of the Integrated Outdoor Program for teens, to get his take on which 2019 Met Gala outfits would be best for, uh, actual camping.

Cardi B & Nicki Minaj

Both Cardi B and Nicky Minaj showed up to the Met Gala in dresses with truly extravagant trains—Cardi's was so long that she needed ten people to help her down the red carpet. "You could easily craft a lean-to out of the extra fabric either of them are dragging," Hoffmeister tells me. That said, he continues, "Cardi's is quilted and thick like a duvet, meaning it would be great in cold climates, but would immediately fill with water if it got caught in the rain." That's not exactly practical when you're trying to brave the elements outdoors.

But Cardi B wins this round, thanks to her entourage. "In the wilderness, teamwork is your best tool," Hoffmeister says. "Ten people working together could build a town."

Cole Sprouse

This one is so close. Sprouse showed up dressed up like some kind of cross between a Boy Scout and a forgotten member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Sadly, he's missing his Scout sash. "Where are his skill badges?" Hoffmeister says. "It doesn't look like he's proving any abilities in the wilderness."

He may look like a Boy Scout, but don't expect him to be much good in the woods. "He's not even carrying a fixed blade on his belt to whittle some sticks."

Katy Perry

Fire is an integral part of camping, sure, so Perry is spot-on with this outfit—but she forgot one crucial element: You're not supposed to be actually inside the campfire. Those aren't real candles, luckily, but if they were, Perry would be completely screwed.

"All fires require three elements: oxygen, ignition, and fuel," Hoffmeister says. "But the main problem with Perry's outfit is that her fire is running on electric. A primitive firestarter like flint and steel would've been a better choice for Miss Perry."

Like Sprouse, this one took good effort, but poor execution.

Jared Leto

This is an unusual camping choice, since flowing robes aren't exactly what you'd first think of as appropriate camping attire—"the red is bad camouflage," Hoffmeister says—but it's the head that saves the outfit. "Leto is making a great choice with the head. That one is brilliant. He can set up a diversion to catch an animal by setting up the fake Leto while he sneaks up behind his prey."

Besides, if Leto happened to find himself lost in the wilderness alone, as the days turn to weeks and the weeks turn to months, he'd be happy he had that bizarre replica of himself. Think of it like Cast Away, except instead of Tom Hanks and a bloody volleyball, it's Jared Leto talking to Jared Leto. Actually, don't think of that. Let's move on.

Frank Ocean

Ah, here we go. Someone showed up at the Met Gala in actual, honest-to-god, sensible camping attire. Maybe Frank misunderstood the 2019 theme, too? That hooded sweatshirt looks warm and durable, with a decent rain-repellent exterior, and the tie is an added bonus. "I think Frank would be able to keep himself warm," Hoffmeister continues. "Plus, he could strip his tie and use it as a snare. Maybe catch a cottontail."

There you have it. Frank Ocean is easily the best-dressed camper at the 2019 Met Gala, except—wait. Who's that? A new challenger has entered the ring, and their outfit is truly exceptional. Sorry, Frank. There is a clear winner in the 2019 Met Gala camping contest, and it isn't you. It is... Well, just see for yourself:

??????

Behold: the perfect camping attire. Sleek, classic, timeless. Naturally water-repellent feathers, a beak tailor-made for scavenging, talons with enough hold to turn any branch in the forest into a campsite. It is perfect. "Pigeons are the ultimate survivors," Hoffmeister says. "Pigeons are flying rats—they're everywhere. They'll eat anything. They'll sleep on any ledge. They're fine with being overpopulated or underpopulated. They'll forage in a forest or they'll eat the remainder of your Nathan's hot dog. Great choice."

It's unclear who, exactly, came dressed as a pigeon, but who ever you are, you brilliant fashion icon and camping wunderkind, we salute you. You were the greatest camper at the 2019 Met Gala. Congratulations.

Follow Peter Brown Hoffmeister on Twitter and Instagram to learn more valuable wilderness skills and completely unfounded fashion tips.