Bold and grotesque, the red carpet of Met Gala last Monday, with the theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” was a moving exhibit of fashion at its most exuberant. Dubbed as the Oscars of fashion, this year’s gala centered its theme on the 1964 essay of Susan Sontag, Notes on “Camp.” Stars showed their interpretation of what it would like if the words of Sontag were to manifest in wearable form. Taking a cue from the playwright Oscar Wilde, who said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art,” as mentioned in the essay, the red carpet turned into a theatrical rite of passage, a “camp vision.” From colorful ensembles, gender-bending styles, and severed head to the optimum display of textures and unusual fabrication, every look captured the eccentric sensibility of what “camp” meant in art, fashion, film, and pop culture.
(Images sourced from AFP and Getty Images)
Camp doesn’t propose that it is in bad taste to be serious; it doesn’t sneer anyone who succeeds in being seriously dramatic.
Camp taste nourishes itself on the love that has gone into certain objects and personal styles.
Camp proposes a comic vision of the world.
Camp introduces a new standard: artifice as an ideal, theatricality.
The whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious.
Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.
Camp is the paintings of Carlo Crivelli, with their real jewels and trompe-l’oeil insects and cracks in the masonry.
Camp rests on innocence. That means camp discloses innocence, but also, when it can, corrupts it.
Camp is the triumph of the epicene style. (The convertibility of “man” and “woman,” “person” and “thing.”)
To emphasize style is to slight content, or to introduce an attitude, which is neutral with respect to content.
Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon.
Camp taste draws on a mostly unacknowledged truth of taste: the most refined form of sexual attractiveness (as well as the most refined form of sexual pleasure) consists in going against the grain of one’s sex.
The hallmark of camp is the spirit of extravagance.
Camp is the glorification of “character.” The statement is of no importance – except, of course, to the person (Loie Fuller, Gaudí, Cecil B. De Mille, Crivelli, de Gaulle, etc.) who makes it.