What You Need To Know Before The 2019 Met Gala

When it comes to celebrity high fashion, the Met Gala is the event of the year. It’s a night where you’re expected to dress in the most extravagant, bizarre and outlandish way possible. Every spring, all the biggest names in pop culture show up to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, turning heads left and right. The Gala is held on the first Monday of May each year. This year, it falls on May 6.

What is the Met Gala?

VogueThe Met Gala is a fundraising event parading as a fashion show. It celebrates the opening of the Costume Institute’s new fashion exhibition each year. The first Costume Institute Benefit was held in 1948 and cost only $50 to enter. The event has since evolved into a much larger, more dramatic display of the best fashion has to offer. Each year, a new theme and dress code is encouraged to tie in with the exhibition. Last year’s “Heavenly Bodies” theme led to some gorgeous, ethereal outfits. This year, the theme is “Camp.” I look forward to seeing how stylists deliver on producing the over-the-top ensembles this theme demands.

So… What Is Camp?

Camp, in this context, doesn’t mean the summer camp you might have went to as a kid with your friends, or the family camping trip where you had to survive a million mosquitoes at night. This year’s exhibition theme is inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp'”. She describes camp as the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration”. The exhibition will explore how irony, humor and theatricality work with fashion. Camp is ridiculous, fun and playful. So, we can expect some crazy, extra as hell outfits to come out of this theme.

Andrew Bolton is the curator in charge of the Costume Institute. He explains:

“We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as empty frivolity but can be actually a very sophisticated and powerful political tool, especially for marginalised cultures.”

Bolton argues that camp has an effect on all parts of life, whether it’s art or politics. He aims to, through the Costume Institute, make camp relevant again.

Who’s Hosting?

The 2019 Met Gala will be hosted by two fashion icons: Harry Styles and Lady Gaga. Styles’ fondness for patterned, sparkly suits and Lady Gaga’s history of controversial outfits—remember the meat dress?—make them the most appropriate hosts for this year’s camp theme. The gala will also be sponsored by Gucci. Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, and tennis star Serena Williams will also be co-chairs of the gala.

The Exhibition

The Met’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition will display roughly 200 pieces of fashion from the 17th century to today. The exhibition will explore the history of camp and the LGBT community, from Versailles to Stonewall, before delving into camp in contemporary designers. Some of the featured designers include Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, Virgil Abloh, and more.

The 2019 Met Gala should be a beautiful occasion. Hopefully, we can all take some inspiration from the display of camp fashion, and learn how to add a little spice into our day-to-day outfits. It's what Harry Styles would want!