The Met Gala: Behind the theme and best dressed listAuthor: Isabella Guerrero

 

The first Monday of every May marks the annual Met Gala, a fundraising event that draws celebrities, moguls, and socialites to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art for the opening of the year’s latest fashion exhibit. Every year the theme of the exhibit, and thus the theme of the Gala changes. This year the theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion. But what is camp? If you’re confused you’re not alone, many people were unsure of the meaning of the theme this year, especially when last year’s theme was so widely known. But so few people understanding what the theme means speaks to the nature of the theme itself.

 

The definition of “camp” has morphed over time. According to the Met’s video about the theme, it originally included an air of “theatricality, impersonation, and masquerade.” It then went on to be associated with a queer subculture. It was mainly used as an adjective to describe men who impersonated women and would go on to famously be used by the iconic queer author Oscar Wilde. In an essay titled “Notes on Camp,” it was finally associated with androgyny, or the fluidity between genders, and with exaggeration. It was intended to remain an underground term known only to the subculture, but after the publication of her essay,  camp went mainstream. Now it is constantly being redefined, but to me, camp is the embodiment of extravagance and flamboyance.

 

Now that we all properly understand the theme, I will now share what I believe to be the 5 very best looks of the Met Gala. I judged every photo I found on Getty Images based on adherence to the theme, wow factor, overall execution, originality, and craftsmanship of the garment on a scale of 1 to 10. These were the pieces that had the highest marks of all these criterion.

 

Ezra Miller

(Photo via Instagram)

 

Designer: Burberry

-Theme: 10

-Wow Factor: 10

-Originality: 10

-Craftsmanship: 10

-Overall Execution: 10

 

My Comments: Along with Janelle Monae, Ezra Miller is my second favorite ensemble of the night. From top to bottom this look told a story. It was a lovely reference to 1920’s tramps, specifically Charlie Chaplin. I was also reminded of 20’s magicians and ring masters due to the imaginativeness and mysterious feel of the makeup. The details made this outfit beautiful, alone, the pinstripe suit would have been rather plain for the occasion and the theme. But the crystal corset, white, lightly bedazzled cape, the handheld mask of his own face, and the customized jeweled brogues made this a gorgeously whimsical look that I will remember for years.

 

Violet Chachki

 

(Photo via Instagram)

 

Designer: Moschino

-Theme: 10

-Wow Factor: 10

-Originality: 10

-Craftsmanship: 9

-Overall Execution: 9.5

 

My Comments: This look was nearly perfect. The idea was truly original and iconic, I loved the whole “a dress that fits like a glove” motif. The classic silhouette was perfect for Violet, it accentuated her tiny waist and her Roaring 20’s era beauty. The only thing that I wasn’t sold by was the fabric choice. I completely understand that the material is meant to be the exact kind that would be used for a real glove, but I think that a velvet gown contrasted by the glove of the original material would have been a nice juxtaposition of textures.

 

Lily Collins

(Photo via Instagram)

 

Designer: Giambattista Valli (gown) and Cartier (jewelry)

-Theme: 10

-Wow Factor: 8

-Originality: 10

-Craftsmanship: 10

-Overall Execution: 9

 

My Comments: I absolutely loved the 60’s theme of the whole look, every detail fit it, from the silhouette of the silk dress, to the high teased hairstyle, right down to the pastel makeup. The Cartier emeralds were the obvious star of the show, and they definitely did shine. Unfortunately, I think the outshined the dress a bit too much, and made it look a bit more plain in comparison. Had the gown been a complementary color to the emerald green, I think this look would have had a bigger wow factor.

 

Janelle Monae

(Photo via Instagram)

 

Designer: Christian Siriano (gown), Sarah Sokol Millinery (hat), and Judith Leiber (clutch)

-Theme: 10

-Wow Factor: 10

-Originality: 10

-Craftsmanship: 10

-Overall Execution: 10

 

My Comments: As evident by the scores Janelle Monae received from me, this was one of my two favorite looks of the night. The reference to Picasso was beautifully and tastefully done. She successfully combined three different designers’ works into one cohesive look. Her look was fantastical but not too over the top. The animatronics of the blinking eye bralette were an amazing detail. I had never seen an ensemble. like this and was absolutely floored when I saw it.

 

Winnie Harlow

(Photo via Instagram)

 

Designer: Tommy Hilfiger (gown) and House of Malakai (headpiece)

-Theme: 8

-Wow Factor: 10

-Originality: 8

-Craftsmanship: 9

-Overall Execution: 9

 

My Comments: While Winnie Harlow looked absolutely stunning, she did not take the theme as far as other attendees did, and the overall silhouette and cut of the piece is something I have seen done in a similar fashion, but still not exactly like this. However, the addition of the black feathers was a reference to a very classic camp element, which I thoroughly appreciated. Her Carnival twist on the theme did make it more interesting, and the jewels of the garment and the gold headpiece made the overall look a top pick for me.

 

Final Thoughts

Just as a disclaimer, I know I am by no means a fashion expert, simply an enthusiast. I wrote my review from my dorm room in Riverside, while wearing a pair of chubbies and a Tahoe hoodie. These are simply my opinions, and I know every attendee and designer worked extremely hard on their ensembles.