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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Dressing Camp: Met Gala 2019

The Met Gala 2019 took place last night.

The "Oscars of the fashion industry" took its theme from the current Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Camp: Notes on Fashion. Historically, the theme for the evening has caused problems for guests - in 2014, event chair and Vogue editor Anna Wintour declared Benedict Cumberbatch as the only person who got that year's white tie theme absolutely right.

For this year's iteration and its Camp theme, there was something of a style guide. Susan Sontag's 1964 essay Notes on Camp was touted as the rulebook to follow. But the author herself would probably balk at the suggestion.

The essay cited Camp's essence as "its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration". But she admitted in the second paragraph that camp is "a private code" and, furthermore, that "to talk about Camp is to betray it".

The essay itself, which is worth a read here, lays out 58 points to take into account when considering Camp. The top two make the mark by which many of last night's outfits were judged: that aesthetic is more important that content. To quote Sontag: "Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism" and "To emphasise style is to slight content, or to introduce an attitude which is neutral with respect to content."

The 2014 master of Met style, Benedict Cumberbatch, channelled the master of Camp, Oscar Wilde, for his look, complete with cane, hat and minimal accessories.

The more extravagant menswear looks of the night belonged to Ezra Miller, who came with a mask and three spare set of eyes, and Jared Leto, who brought his own spare head along.

But, in what could be seen as a commentary on the nature of formalwear, there were quite a few takes on extravagant black tie from the men in attendance at last night's event.

Aspiring James Bond (or not, depending who you ask) Idris Elba and his new wife Sabrina Dhowre looked resplendent, but the Luther star has boosted a simple tux look with a statement jacket.

Liam Hemsworth took the black tie look even more directly, with a simple all-black look, which let Miley Cyrus' statement dress do the talking.

But the undoubted master of the Camp black tie was Michael B Jordan, whose sequins and tails look was spectacular in every way.

He even worked his strut for Instagram.

There are spoilsports at every party - and the Met Gala is no different.

You would think a party hosted by Anna Wintour would bring out the best in people's sartorial nature, but apparently not. Kanye West took the 'leave it to your other half' approach far too far with his black bomber jacket look.

And Frank Ocean proclaimed "f*ck a theme" on Instagram as he showed off his highly-paid security guard outfit for the night. If Camp is style over content, I am not sure how one refers to a lack of both. Lazy, perhaps?

The final word on Camp, though, must go to one of the Co-chairs of the event. Every year Wintour selects celebrities to join her in presiding over the festivities; this year, former One Direction singer turned rockstar Harry Styles was among them. You asked for Camp? I give you: The right direction.

#style #opinion

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