Heavenly bodies, fashion in the age of technology, and China’s historic influence on design; every year the Costume Institute’s beloved exhibition looks to highlight a very distinct intersection in fashion. Highly anticipated and sought-after, the red carpet of the Met Gala has become a high-fashion sartorial playground where icons are born.
Although it’s still months away, the 2019 theme has been unveiled and in expected form, there’s nothing expected about it, or is there? Recently announced, the Metropolitan Museum’s center of focus will be depicted as “Camp: Notes on Fashion” with an approximately 175-piece exhibit overseen by Head Curator Andrew Bolton.
So what exactly is Camp? According to Susan Sontag’s pioneering 1964 essay ‘Notes on Camp’ – which also plays the exhibits inspirational source – there are 58 points as to what Camp envelopes. Though abstract in thought, Sontag describes its essence as the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. And Camp is esoteric — something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques.” To get more familiar, think contemporary Alessandro Michele’s Gucci and the countless cultural references in his collections. This facet of the creative industry has become more prevalent in modern day as fashion playfully pokes fun at a multitude of cultural minutiae.
Perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek, perhaps an in-depth retrospective at the current state of fashion, the theme is not chosen by chance. The two-part exhibit will display an impressive array of art, garments, and historic artifacts giving visitors a history lesson dating further back than they might know or expect (the term was found in the dictionary of Victorian slang in 1909).
Along with the countless celebrities and fashion elite, the merriment set to take place on May 6 will be co-chaired by Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, and Serena Williams.