MET Gala 2019

I know this is a little late but I had to do a post about this year’s MET Gala.

Every year the beautiful and the rich get together in an extravagant display of excess and wealth for…some reason. They choose a theme, people prepare, they make a scene, and stop for lots and lots of pictures.

This year’s theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion”. “Camp” in terms of fashion and style (not the row of tents) is defined as

something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, or self-consciously artificial and extravagant.

“Camp” (the being or the labeling) is a very subjective thing; it greatly depends on your personal taste or style especially in our current fashion and cultural state where everyone is an individual so everything goes. It is a far broader topic than that of recent years which included “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”, “China: Through the Looking Glass”, and “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” that are abstract but have a much clearer definition.

This confusion in the interpretation of the theme was clear as the celebs hit the stairs aka the runway. Many showed up just looking pretty, ya know, just nice, in well tailored and glamourous dresses like these 2023 long homecoming dresses and suits that may be sequined, or have piping, or in a cool pattern. It was more like they were going to the Oscars than putting on a show. And that what this Gala is, that is why it is such a spectacle, it is about putting on a show, making a statement, just letting go. It is the Costume Institute after all.

But every year there are the people who come out to slay, they bring the look, the attitude, and definately the flare, and this year was no different.

Looks of note include Jenelle Monet, Priyanka Chopra, Michael Urie (half and half), Danai Gurira, Lady gaga (theatrics), Kacey Musgraves cuz barbie, Hailee Steinfeld, Maluma that guy in that suit who I don’t know who it is.

Janelle Monae as an abstract work. It is fun and colourful and she looks great.

Priyanka Chopra. I just like how weird this look is.

Michael Urie made a direct reference to a specific type of drag show but with a little twist. If you hadn’t noticed the makeup is on the “man” side and the scruff is on the “woman” side.

Danai Gurira. Despite this look not being so out there it is a great take on the woman wearing a suit look and she kills it.

I don’t actually know who or why I should know who
Kacey Musgraves is but she went as Barbie. How do I know this? Because I follow Barbie on Insta where they showed the gown created by Moschino and then they showed her in it. Its a lot but it works.

Hailee Steinfeld’s look is just juvenile, dramatic, and fun. I just enjoy it.

I don’t know who Maluma is but this suit. That is all I have to say.

Lady Gaga gets a mention simply because of the theatrics of the whole thing (check out the video) but really the outfit breaks down into a big coat, 2 boring dresses, and some underwear. Meh.

And before I get into my top 5, I wanna make an honourable mention of Lena Waithe.

Despite her look not being the most outrageous it was definitely eye catching making a statement on the use of and celebration of “Camp” as a style. It is a style or way of life that is closely identified with Gay/Drag culture. Though being in the limelight right now people who lived the “camp” life used to (and in some cases still are) persecuted for living that lifestyle. And that culture all started with Black Drag Queens. She is right to bring light to that as it shows another cultural appropriation that black people where persecuted for that is suddenly acceptable as long as a “white” person is doing it.

5. RuPaul

Speaking of Drag Queens, RuPaul showed up NOT in drag even though you would think it would be the perfect place for that. But when you think about it, if dressing in drag is his every day then being out of drag would be his dressing up. And I think it works. He brought the right about of flare with this brightly coloured zebra striped, sequined, double-breasted suite finished with a big bowtie. Also did you notice what’s on his left shoulder? Its a harnessed zebra head who’s big black mane runs down his arm. It is just fabulous.

4. Zendaya

Disney has always been camp. The characters are flamboyant donned in ridiculously colourful outfits. It is the over-the-top-ness of the world and managing to add additional flare to the Cinderella look that makes this work. Yes it is pretty but it is also big, neon, and the right amount of theatrics.

3. Billy Porter

Now talking about theatrics I can’t not put Billy Porter in my top 5. I mean he is gilded from head to toe, with gold wings and a crown. He arrived reclined like he is Olympia upon an open litter, being carried by greased up shirtless dudes. Glorious!

2. Cardi B

I am not a fan of Cardi B, the music or the person, so I begrudgingly have to admit that this look is just breathtaking. It is lush, rich, and extravagant. It is a master use of a single colour utilizing differing materials, textures, and intricate detailing to emphasize form and create drama. When you look at the pieces it really shouldn’t work. It has a crystal encrusted headpiece, feathered shoulders, a sequined bodice that has nipples, and a skirt that flows into a massive train that is pretty much a quilted blanket edged in more feathers. All of that sounds absolutely ridiculous but it works. That IS camp.

1. Ezra Miller

For a long time Ezra Miller creeped me out. I was first introduced to him in the 2011 film We Need To Talk About Kevin where he was purposefully… unpleasant and he was just too good at it. But now that his star is rising and I am getting more exposure to him, not just as his characters but in interviews and appearances, he has really grown on me. He is weird in some of the most delightful ways. And it shows with his look. It layers elements of masculinity and femininity with some WTF thrown on it creating a what-am-I-looking-at statement that doesn’t alienate you but draws you in. The beautifully tailored pinstripe suite with the long train (that is also a cape!) is encased in a the bedazzled boning of a corset finished with a pair of classic black and white brogue shoes are campy in itself but almost pale in comparison to artistry of the optical illusion that is his make-up. It is dizzying and fantastic in both the classical and modern sense. And lets not forget the mask. It is his face on a stick. WHAT?! It is just awesome.


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