Words by Nicole Thomsen
May 7th, 2019
Over the years, the Met Gala red carpet has served us a feast of sartorial delights. Dating back to 1948, when the benefit was first held, each passing year has seen the gala grow bigger and more spectacular than the previous. Now one of the most hotly anticipated nights in the fashion calendar, it’s one red carpeted event that never disappoints.
Last year, A-listers looked to Joan of Arc and the Virgin Mary for divine style inspiration which resulted in a chorus of heavenly ensembles; this time around, it was cultural icons such as Cher — who was the performer for the evening — and drag queens who provided style notes for the fittingly pink carpet.
Following the theme of this year’s Costume Institute’s spring exhibit, the dress code last night centred on the notion of ‘camp’, as pondered in Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay, and showcased the exuberant, over-the-top aesthetic associated with the term.
Highlights of the evening came from co-chairs Harry Styles and Lady Gaga, who flaunted no less than four red carpet looks, each one more camp than the next. Further along the carpet, Dakota Johnson perfectly toed the intersection where camp meets couture in a glittering masterpiece by Gucci while Florence Welch embraced the more extreme end of the spectrum in a medieval sheer gown, also by Gucci. It was a night for the bold and theatrical, with not a single sequin spared — a case in point: Emily Blunt’s custom Michael Kors gown which alone comprised 510,000 sequins and exemplifies the concept of ‘go big or go home’, the very nature of which is camp.
Though you may not be able to use any of last night’s looks as a style reference for an upcoming wedding or black tie event, you can appreciate and enjoy them for what they are: joyous celebrations of camp and all that it encompasses. Fashion is meant to be fun, after all. Discover our favourite looks, including those of Saoirse Ronan and Sinéad Burke, who attended for the first time last night, in the slideshow below.
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