Not even Anna should know what to expect…
The first Monday in May marks one of the most iconic nights for fashion. The annual Met Gala celebrates the opening of the yearly Costume Institute exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each year the Gala theme coincides with the exhibit theme for that year. Vogue’s Anna Wintour and British Museum curator Andrew bolton curate the annual exhibit while Wintour hosts the event. Each Gala also features a group of co-chairs. The co-chairs are chosen celebrity figures that serve on the board to help plan the event and exhibit. This year the co-chairs, along with Wintour herself, will be Harry Styles, Lady Gaga and Serena Williams.
Next year the theme for the Met Gala and Costume Institute exhibit is “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” Fans of both Gaga and Harry Styles will instantly know that they’re the perfect fit for this theme. Gaga, who began her career singing in drag bars, bleeds the type of campy glam that will fit the theme perfectly. For those who may not know, “camp” refers to a 1964 essay by Susan Sontag titled “Notes on Camp.” Cue appearances from houses like Moschino, Jeremy Scott and Off White.
The essay highlights camp as an artistic movement characterized by its gaudy nature and overall exaggerated appearance. Warhol, for example, is an example. “The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,” says Sontag in her piece of pop culture theory on the movement. Gaga is not lacking in any of those things, and neither is the fashion industry. This is going to be the gaudiest, sparkliest, most colorful Met Gala yet. In an interview with The New York Times, Andrew Bolton said ““One of my favorite definitions from Susan’s essay is when she talks about the idea of camp as failed seriousness. When it is ‘campy,’ it is more self-conscious, but we are going to look at both.”
To ask where the theme fits into popular culture would be irrelevant. The exaggerated political climate has created ample opportunity for a certain ridiculousness in art. “Whether it’s pop camp, queer camp, high camp or political camp—Trump is a very camp figure—I think it’s very timely,” Bolton said.
The themes for the Met Gala often reflect the relationship that a culture or movement has on the fashion industry. For example China: Through The Looking Glass (2015) looked at how ancient Chinese styles have influenced fashion over centuries. Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016) examined how technology and fashion come together. Examples of this are the 3D printer, which can be used to create clothing or even as simple as the ways in which Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake used pleating machines to create daring, innovative haute couture.