Basing the theme off of the 1964 essay by Susan Sontag, Notes on ‘Camp’, the Met Gala’s guestlist featured a kaleidoscope of colours and silhouettes on the red carpet from the wide array of celebrities and pop-culture heads attending this year’s gala.
Marking the opening of the Costume Institute’s fashion exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its doors on the first Monday in May to celebrate the proud history of exhibitions in a night of themed costumes and entertainment. The Gala, spear-headed by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, is one of the largest fundraisers for the Costume Institute, with tickets costing $30,000 US Dollars and an exclusive guestlist overseen by Wintour. This year, the Gala was co-chaired by Serena Williams, Harry Styles, Alessandro Michele and Lady Gaga, and saw performances from Cher.
While everyone showcased their interpretation (or lack thereof) of the theme, there was little room for disagreement over the most memorable costume: a golden, Ancient Egyptian goddess ensemble; which donned the shoulders of Tony Award winner and Pose star, Billy Porter. Porter arrived at the Gala, in true theatrical fashion, atop a chaise lounge, carried by six Broadway actors, a node to film star legend Elizabeth Taylor. The full gold body suit and robe were designed for Porter by designers The Blonds, which paid homage to Diana Ross’ character in Mahogany.
Actor and trans rights activist, Laverne Cox, showed that black is the new camp, with her Disney villain themed gown made by Christian Siriano. Coupled with striking turquoise hair and matching eye makeup by stylists Kiyah Wright and Deja Smith, Cox and Siriano designed a dress with exaggerated ruffles, inspired by 50s Balenciaga and John Galliano. Despite many being criticised for their lack of imagination and lack of colour (looking at you Frack Ocean), Cox showed that she can walk the line between high fashion and camp.
On the opposite side of the Disney coin, Zendaya delivered a full Cinderella fantasy, complete her own fairy godparent, stylist Law Roach. Roach, in the cartoon cloak, transformed the Tommy Hilfiger grey ballgown into the iconic Disney princess design. Zendaya didn’t stop there with her time on the pink carpet, pulling out all the stops, by leaving behind her own glass slipper as she climbed the steps to the Met. Whether or not you believe she copied Claire Danes’ outfit from the 2016 Met Gala, Zendaya showed that camp is about the delivery as much as it is about the dress.
Never one to shy away from pushing the envelope with costumes, all eyes were on Ezra Miller in anticipation for the Gala’s pink carpet. Miller embodied both camp and androgyny by wearing an asymmetrical Burberry pinstripe suit and corset, designed by Riccardo Tisci. The true jewel in Miller’s look was the mesmerising eye-makeup by artist Mimi Cho, which was concealed behind a face mask until the reveal on the carpet. With his recent history of photoshoots that blur the line between gendered clothing, we wait with bated breath to see what Miller will come up with next for future red carpet affairs.
Where Miller blurred the lines, Michael Urie drew a fine line between classic tuxedo and prom queen dress for his Met Gala appearance. The Ugly Betty star committed to the theme with a Christian Siriano design of half pink tulle ballgown and half pinstripe suit, giving tribute to Victor/Victoria. Adding some finishing touches of half elegant makeup and half unshaven beard, Urie delivered one of the most memorable looks of the evening.
Irish actor Saoirse Ronan had fans gushing over her stunningly-detailed sequin Gucci dress at the Gala, noting the Game of Thrones shout out. The golden jewellery perfectly complemented the bold dragons woven into Ronan’s shoulders, contrasting the metallic shine from the silver and green sequins. Ronan chose to let her dress do the talking, and opted for understated golden eye-shadow.
With pop-culture heavily referenced in this year’s Met Gala, it will be interesting to see where Anna Wintour and Vogue decide to take the annual soirée next year. Previous years have seen individual designers such as Versace, McQueen and Balenciaga at the centre of the theme; are we to expect the another designer to be featured next year or will Wintour decide on a general theme for guests to interpret themselves?
Met Gala standouts: Lupita Nyong’o, Gemma Chan, Hamish Bowles and Janelle Monae.
Met Gala disappointments: Harry Styles, Rupaul, Frank Ocean and Shawn Mendes.