- On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that its Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit for spring 2019 will be “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
- The exhibition will be framed around Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp,'” for the Partisan Review.
- The essence of camp is a love of artifice, exaggeration, and the unnatural, Sontag wrote.
- Following tradition, the 2019 Met Gala will feature the same theme.
- The gala will be co-chaired by Anna Wintour, Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, and Alessandro Michele.
On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Vogue that its Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit for spring 2019 will be “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” Following tradition, next year’s Met Gala – the museum’s annual fundraising benefit for the Institute and one of the biggest nights in the fashion world – will feature the same theme.
What is camp?
The exhibition will be framed around Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp,'” for the Partisan Review – a hugely influential piece that arguably introduced camp as a concept to mainstream culture.
In her essay, Sontag identified camp not as a strictly-defined idea but rather a “sensibility” that rejects aesthetic judgment on a scale of good to bad, offering art and life a “supplementary set of standards.” At its essence is a love of artifice, exaggeration, and the unnatural.
“Camp is playful, anti-serious,” Sontag wrote. It celebrates “‘style’ over ‘content,’ ‘aesthetics’ over ‘morality,’ and ‘irony’ over ‘tragedy.'”
Speaking to Vogue, Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute, said that camp, which “has become increasingly more mainstream,” embraces elements such as parody, theatricality, extravagance, and nostalgia.
Its many iterations in culture today include “political camp, queer camp, Pop camp, the conflation of high and low, [and] the idea that there is no such thing as originality,” Bolton added.
According to Bolton, contemporary examples of camp in fashion include Virgil Abloh’s little black dress printed with the words “Little Black Dress” on the side from Off-White’s Pre-Fall 2018 collection; Cristobal Balenciaga’s 1957 Baby Doll dress; and Franco Moschino’s “Too much irony!” shirt from Moschino’s Spring/Summer 1991 collection – to name a few.
The 2019 Met Gala will have five co-chairs
The event will take place on Monday, May 6, 2019. It will be hosted by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour – who has chaired the gala since 1995 – along with Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, and Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele.
Made possible by Gucci, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” will be presented in the Met Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall from May 9 to September 8, 2019.
According to the Met’s website, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” will explore the origins of camp as an aesthetic, its evolution from the margins of society to the mainstream, and its influence in the fashion industry.
There’s already a ton of buzz about next year’s Met Gala co-chairs
After the Met’s announcement, Twitter was flooded with excited reactions from fans of Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, and Harry Styles.
LADY GAGA, HARRY STYLES, AND SERENA WILLIAMS AS CO-CHAIRS OF A CAMP-THEMED MET GALA IS THE GIFT WE NEED AND DESERVE
— Ashley Spencer (@AshleyySpencer) October 9, 2018
i will be thinking about harry styles, lady gaga, and serena williams co-chairing the met gala from now until may.
if u need anything else from me i'm busy.
— Whitney Medworth (@its_whitney) October 9, 2018
i just started convulsing at my desk because the next met gala will be co-chaired by lady gaga and harry styles and the theme is susan sontag's 'notes on camp'!!!!!!
— #BrittanySpanos (@ohheybrittany) October 9, 2018
dont talk to me unless its about harry styles co-hosting a camp themed met gala with lady gaga and serena williams
— bianca robles (@biancaxrobles) October 10, 2018
People also can’t wait to see the camp-themed red carpet looks
If nobody dresses for this camp-themed Met Gala as Mimi Imfurst’s Leigh Bowery-inspired space look, I will lose all faith in fashion.
— Joe Reid (@joereid) October 9, 2018
The theme for the next met gala is camp and I couldn’t be more excited
— sofia (@sofianarkis) October 9, 2018
I literally can't get over Harry co-hosting the met gala and the theme is CAMP. I'm going to scream so loud on that day when I see his outfit.
— Laura ◟̽◞̽ (@LTBuzzin) October 10, 2018
THE TWO BIGGEST ICONS HOSTING THE MET GALA WHEN ITS THEME IS CAMP? I AM NO LONGER ON THIS EARTH I CANNOT WAIT LIKE IMAGINE THE LOOKS THE OUTFITS THE BANTER I AM OBLITERATED
— bri hernandez ❄️ (@ithinkitsbri) October 9, 2018
And some are already joking about Met Gala guests misinterpreting the theme
*at the 2019 met gala*
THEY TOLD ME THE THEME WAS CAMP pic.twitter.com/Yoyl3f7WGP
— gabe brujería-gado (@gabebergado) October 9, 2018
some of yall boo boos about to show up outside the met gala wearing a whole ass girl scout outfit because you took the term ‘camp’ literally
— alina ???? (@idthrowroses) October 9, 2018
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