The 2019 Met Gala: An Ode to Creativity
It would have been the most apt “campy” move of the evening, if someone had showed up in
kaki shorts and boots and maybe a whistle around the neck to the 2019 Met Gala themed
“Camp: Notes on Fashion.” That exaggeration and ignorance would have made for a perfect
campy move, except in an alternate universe in which celebrities were still gods who could
get away with anything. Those times are long gone. The backlash would have been massive.
The Met Gala which is organised by the Custom Institute’s theme this year “Camp: Notes on
Fashion” draws its origin from the famous essay by Susan Sontag “Notes on Camp.” In her
essay she tries to explain the phenomenon “camp.”
When I heard that the theme for the Met Gala this year is “Fashion: Notes on Camp” my first
thought was the Capitol in Suzanne Collins book, adapted into a movie of the same name The
Hunger Games; Its excess, all its make-up, all its feathers, all its hair and all its fire. Its flair
for the avant-garde dramatics is indeed what makes it the most vivid expression of camp in
modern day art. What camp demands is excessiveness but not burlesque, not to ridicule but to
amuse. What it does is inhabits the blurred lines of the absurd and the serious.
I was personally interested in what three creatives had to bring to the table. Kerby Jean-
Raymond -the avant-garde, Tom Ford- the perfectionist and Childish Gambino- the creator
(who with a heavy heart I got over his not making the bash this year.)
And so come the first Monday in May, as the perfect plastic barometers of taste all make their
way to the Metropolitan Museum of the Art singing a single ode to Hephaestus himself this
was what it sounded like.
I had guessed with friends that Kerby Jean-Raymond who snagged the CFDA/Vogue Fashion
Fund award last year and creative director of Pyer Moss would have made one of the loudest
statement at the event. He did and it was a bang with actress/filmmaker Lena Weithe (Mater
of None) wearing a lavender suit paying homage to drag queens -with the inscription “Black
drag queens invented camp” splashed on the back- made by him.
I doff my hat to duo Harry Styles and his designer buddy, Gucci’s creative director,
Alessandro Michele, two sons of the new millennium- when as actress Priyanka Chopra puts
it, idea is the currency- changing the world and its perception of fashion. In them is the fine
style protégée willing to lay all to dance at the altar of creativity. Styles in a sheer Gucci
bodysuit and heels both dark as the night and his designer bud Alessandro in pink ruffles and
When Anna Wintour said that celebrities were calling her making unusual entry requests I
had assumed horses and cart should be it but Billy Porter was thinking mummies and
pyramids as he brought with him 300 BC Egypt to the red-carpet. The category is “Camp:
Notes on Fashion” and this guy knows what that means. It took a village to put Porter
together for the evening in his Egyptian royalty themed number. Gold shoes, gold wings,
golds head piece and gold body suit all styled by Sam Ratelle. What else does camp mean?
In the midst of all the excess actor Chadwick Omari and rapper 21 Savage remembers that
retrain can also be campy in their ensembles. Their ode was to the sublime, birthed by the
mystery of subtleness. It wasn’t too much and that was why it was campy. Both wearing
Dapper Dan who also dressed five other celebrities to the Gala. The looked dapper for camp.