This year’s Met Gala is on Monday night, and the theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” inspired by Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp.” One of the co-chairs is Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, and basically his entire oeuvre seems campy as hell to me, so he might not even have to reach very far to hit the target. Vanity Fair wrote a piece that touches on how I feel about it: that it’s both a very easy and very challenging theme to embody. Sontag ascribed a first-rule-of-Fight-Club feeling to it:
“To talk about Camp is therefore to betray it,” Sontag wrote, and later, “Pure Camp is always naïve. Camp which knows itself to be Camp (‘camping’) is usually less satisfying.” All of which makes requiring guests to explicitly dress to this theme at all seem like quite a trap.
Importantly, not everything is camp, Sontag said, but the Costume Institute’s Andrew Bolton told The New York Times last fall, “Since I have been working on the show, I have started to think it is everywhere, and that all fashion is on some level camp.”
So basically everything and nothing is camp; you’re camp if you’re campy by accident, but never knowingly, which would seem to make every single attendee trying to follow the camp theme automatically not campy. Let’s just all wear a sleeping bag and go home.
ANYWAY: The 2009 theme was “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion,” which… I gotta give a shrug to that one, too. Let’s hop into the wayback machine, shall we?