One of the most exciting events of the year in popular culture occurs on the first Monday of May in New York City. This spectacular event is known as the Met Ball. Flocked with A-listers accompanied by the fashion industry’s most influential designers, the fundraiser is one of the most grandiose and exclusive meetings of art and fashion in the world. The gala generates massive funds to support the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art each year.
This year the theme of the gala was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Camp is an aesthetic branch of fashion and art known for its flamboyant and ironic expression of style many would label as being in ‘poor taste.’ The theme was inspired by the essay by Susan Sontag written in 1964 titled “Notes on ‘Camp.’” Sontag’s essay mainstreamed “camp” aesthetic and set it forth as a cultural phenomenon.
Camp embodies the notion that some things are so bad that they’re good. Over the top, audacious and fantastically tacky, the “Camp” theme took this year’s Met Gala by storm.
The artifice of the outfits worn to the gala well suited the artifacts inside the exhibition; pop-art colors and feathers were loudly shown both on the red carpet and in displayed cases. Sontag’s essay was influential in establishing the social and cultural influence of the pastiche and artificial elements of camp art, and social fashion events such as the Met Gala and Comme des Garcons Paris runway show are furthering the conversation. The outfits paraded on Monday offered a commentary not only on “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” but societal subversion from the ‘norm.’ Pop Art forged a movement for a new form of expression of self, culture and social issues using artificial aesthetic and colors in artwork. Camp is a pivotal element in the fabric of pop art and in a culture increasingly growing louder, more expressive and immediate, camp is the perfect theme for this years Met Gala.