For decades now (since 1948, in fact), the first Monday of May every year is a day in fashion that is eagerly anticipated and looked forward to, for months. The annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit (i.e. the Met Gala) took place yesterday, and this year’s event was themed ‘Notes on Camp’. ‘Camp’, in this sense, is a term first joined by Christopher Isherwood in his 1854 novel ‘The World in the Evening’, and later explored by Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay ‘Notes on Camp’. The word ‘camp’ here essentially refers to the celebration and open embracement of artifice, exaggeration, theatrics, and vibrant exploration. And organiser and fashion magazine empire editor Anna Wintour has taken camp and thrust it out to attendees of this year’s gala, with the understanding that their interpretation be wide and their ensembles be extraordinary. In short, the 2019 Met Gala was designed to showcase the current era of fashion culture (i.e. the embracement of individuality and heightened exaggerated style).
The Met Gala is notorious for being a highly exclusive event, to the point that Wintour handpicks each and every guest, and nobody gets into the event without her say-so. However, interestingly, the exclusivity of the fashion world’s biggest annual event was this year levelled – even exceeded – by the inclusivity that the theme (also chosen by Wintour) brought to the red carpet and through the doors. The epitome of this year’s Met Gala is celebrating the outrageous and unique, and to say that attendees took to the event like birds to the sky, would be putting it mildly. Every possible element to fashion was present, from neon feathers, pinstripe suits coupled with daring shoes, and crystal draperies, to pastel tones, literal golden wings, and fairy-tale-inspired glass dresses and slippers. The 2019 Met Gala had it all. It was definitively the single most inclusive, beautiful display of fashion culture mixed with celebrity status in forever – and people the world over are raving about it.
A vibrant celebration in fashion culture, peppered with celebrities draped in the biggest designers and jewellers there are in all the world, the Met Gala this year was a showcase of the changing attitude towards fashion culture. The fashion industry is renowned for being exclusive in everything from its designs to its sizes to its colour pallets, however this is a mindset that has been steadily shifting in recent years. And the Notes on Camp theme of the Met Gala this year was the first time that this exclusive fashion branding became more of an inclusive representation of fashion culture. For the first time, the event highlighted everything that was different and special about fashion – and the people who adorn the differing styles. For the first time, the gap between an exclusive fashion event, and inclusive fashion choices, was effectively closed at this star-studded evening, and the world is celebrating. People have loved the quirky, unapologetically exaggerated takes on the theme the guests took, and they see more of their own style in these celebrities than ever before.
From mastering the proper way to tie a tie, to perfecting the hair and makeup to compliment the outfit, the attendees went all out with their looks this year, embodying the phrase, “life imitates art”. Rather than sticking to the latest high-profile minimalistic fashions – as has been the game play for many celebrities in the past – guests had fun with the theme, embracing and literally embodying the artifice of it all, the exaggerated vibrancy and glamour that brought them all together in the first place. Viewers eagerly anticipate the footage and photographs every year, but is the first year that every single attendee embraced the theme and the way that fashion culture in the eyes of the masses is moving, so wholeheartedly. It is a move that many deemed bold by Wintour, but it was one that has earned herself and the high-profile fashion event of the year, positive acclaim from all angles. Many celebrities were unsure of what Notes on Camp even meant, and that inspired them to take their approach entirely into their own hands – something that many viewers clearly resonate with. The 2019 Met Gala perfectly encapsulated the fashion culture of modern-day: fuelled by individuality and inclusivity…no matter the aesthetics.
The 2019 Met Gala was a stunning showcase in fashion and culture, brought to the helm by the stars, designers, and jewellers who were present at the event, in some way or another. This is an event that is all about exclusivity, and yet this year the theme brought to life the most inclusive display of fashion culture the Met – and, arguably, even the whole fashion world – has ever seen in the high-profile world of celebrity. The world has been positively buzzing since the high-profile event, and considering it only took place yesterday, that says a lot about the way that this year’s gala was received by the masses. This year’s event was the epitome of modern fashion culture, thrown on the backs of celebrities who typically seem to be out of reach with the way everyday people (for lack of a better descriptor) experience fashion. There is one thing for certain, and that is that next year’s Met Gala theme is going to have to work double time to measure up to the shimmering, vibrant storm that 2019 has proven itself to be.