Met Gala 2019: Notes on Camp Defined

*I love the Met Gala so much, so I think I am going to post a series here of my favorite looks and makeup. But I think it is important to dissect what the definition of "camp" is because I must admit I did not know before research. And because many celebrities don't necessarily follow theme and just wear beautiful costumes.*


Notes on Camp is an essay by Susan Sontag. According to BBC:

  • Widespread Definition in 1909: “ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual; pertaining to, characteristic of, homosexuals"

  • This is derived from the fact that Susan Sontag dedicated her essay to Oscar Wilde. I absolutely love Wilde's work, in particular Dorian Grey. So much. It is so poetic and dainty. I would love to be in a room full of Dorian Greys and fragrant flowers.

  • Summarizing Sontag's Definition: "The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance... is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers". It is the "anti-serious".\

  • In this case, I would like to applaud Kendall Jenner. It may be just the tiniest bit literal, but it looks like she understood Sontag's essay in the very least. Billions of feathers. Thumbs up.

Today's Definition: Omnipresent is one way it is defined in the article. That leaves so much room for interpretation. Bold and Brit Designer Zandra Rhodes calls it "something that’s over the top in its concept, that wouldn’t go unnoticed and [that has] a sense of humour about it; but it’s not mainstream, and it’s joyous and out of the ordinary." In sum, the best words I found to describe it's current definition: performance theatricality + excess + outrageously ironic self-display and reinvention.


In this case, I would like to applaud Lady Gaga. But I can always applaud Lady Gaga. She really went full out on performance + drama -even down to the ironic representation of how she used to present herself. Remember Just Dance Lady Gaga vs Joanne Lady Gaga?

And that's not all. There are many many more definitions, which I think are slightly more nuanced. I have learned that "camp" is so so many things, but I wanted to highlight the progression of the term and show a little bit of the range it covers. So I hope this investigation helps some people understand it as much as I now do.