Photos: Kathryn McGrath
This year’s Met Gala gave us a stylish and kooky taste of exactly what Camp means in the world of fashion. As always the yearly ball was followed by a breathtaking exhibit based on the theme. From frothy statement gowns by Viktor & Rolf to paper doll like designs by Moschino, this exhibit definitely does not disappoint.
Having a best friend that lives in the Big Apple comes in handy at times like these. While I personally haven’t had the pleasure of attending the exhibit, Kathryn was more than happy to once again take a stroll through the museum and document some of the most memorable pieces (like Bjork’s Academy Awards swan dress and Cardi B’s ‘Venus’ Mugler moment) the fashion world has to offer. Below she shares her campy experience to go along with her beautiful photographs found in the gallery above.
Photo: The Met
Camp is a vision, it is the love of the exaggerated, it’s the idea of life as theater.
The exhibit (based on Susan Sontag’s Notes on “Camp” published in 1964) begins with the history of camp beginning in the 17th century, then moves on to the word camp as a verb, adjective, and as a noun.
Specifics of the camp culture include the trademark gesture known as the teapot or camp pose, as well as the idea of posturing or flaunting. The exhibit showcases Oscar Wilde and his dandy style, and how it translations into today’s world of fashion. These origins are further analyzed as more objects, artists, and articles continue to explore Susan Sontag’s ideas from her essays and notes on camp. Ideas of high camp versus low camp as well as naive camp versus deliberate camp are displayed side by side.
Strains of Judy Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” filter in as you move through the galleries. Throughout this exhibit one is constantly reminded how camp was used to question often conventional ideas about taste, gender, race, and sexuality. The main gallery showcases an overwhelming number of gowns, suits, and accessories on two different levels while quotes on camp play overhead.
Color, ruffles, glitter, sparkle, exaggerated EVERYTHING are displayed all around the final gallery. This is where much time can be spent examining every outfit, every accessory, every quote and every idea around camp. One rotation around this room is just not enough to see everything. Many gowns are best seen from across the room and from different angles. This is an exhibit that could be viewed several times to get the full impact of these amazing looks by designers such as Balenciaga, House of Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and many more.