You may have heard about the Met Gala. Don’t you? But what about the theme Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton, chief curator of the costume institute, have chosen this year? Camp: Notes on Fashion is the biggest fashion exhibition in 2019 and invite millions of visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art till September 8th.
But much bigger as the exhibition itself is the Gala held always on the first monday of may. All the leading figures in fashion attend. Company’s pay a lot for the tables, the ability to invite their muses from music, film or social media. But even with a big donation, no quest will get in without Anna Wintours approval. Now, some days later it’s time to think about the exhibition, the quests on the red carpet, and the theme itself. Join me!
Susann Sonntag wrote about Camp in 1964. Even if Camp wasn’t invented by Sonntag, her essay is mostly cited to explain Camp. Especially to explain the exhibition and the red carpet looks. And yes, there have some very campy figures. But mostly it was just costume. It’s a big mistake to think that Camp is just a bunch of feathers, some glitter, an oversized wig. Of course, these elements can be, but it starts from the inside. Camp is rooted deeply inside the soul.
„Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others. Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual décor, for instance, make up a large part of Camp…” (Note 5) So it’s not unusual to find Camp in a exhibition about fashion. Andrew Bolton choose obvious examples like Thierry Mugler’s Shell Dress or a dress like a printed paper doll be Jeremy Scott for Moschino. This is obvious Camp, but sometimes it is hidden, it’s a small button in the shape of a circus artist.”Camp taste is a kind of love, love for human nature. It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of “character.” . . . (Note 57)
This absence of love, but also an overdose of it, was shown on the stairs that leads the invited gala quests into the exhibition. There have been dresses with feathers, ruffles, a many sequins that reflected bad taste. There have been pimp’s in embroidered frocks, uncomfortable looking and definitely not that campy. So Camp can be a thousand feathers, but not inevitably. Sometimes they are just feathers. One example of a missed opportunity is J-Lo. She’s trying so hard to be Camp, choose a tight silver dress as always, but forgot the fun part. If you watch er passing by Katy Perry trying to get into a Hamburger dress, you see all she is missing that night. Camp is to wear a Hamburger, unable to use the arms, and enjoy all the fun life is offering.
Katy Perry is a campy figure, Kim Kardashian and Celine Dion too. We don’t have to talk about Lady Gaga and her costume changes. She knows exactly what we are expecting, and she delivers a lot more than that. Camp is a gesture, pure extravaganza for the world and for your self. A couture show with a million feathers on the runway becomes camp, when a woman in the audience starts crying because of the beauty of the dresses. “Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying. People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as “a camp,” they’re enjoying it. Camp is a tender feeling.” Susann Sonntag
By René Schaller: René Schaller was born in a small village in 1981, in Germany. He frequented the university of Philosophy and History. He startet to work in fashion in 2005, at first for the german luxury brand Wunderkind. Later he worked as Store Manager for publisher company TASCHEN and as an adviser for film costumes. Since 2013 he works as Manager, Merchandiser and Buyer for the Wiesbaden based Luxury Store BURRESI with brands like Prada, Gucci, Celine, Saint Laurent etc.
Since 2006, works as a freelancer writer and stylist.