Call it the Metropolitan Museum of Kitsch: The 2019 Met Gala theme will be “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
The annual event takes place on opening night of a new Costume Institute exhibition — always on the first Monday in May — and its theme revolves around the new fashion exhibit on display at the iconic Manhattan museum. This year’s Met Ball, inspired by the Costume Institute’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” brought in a winged Katy Perry, Rihanna à la Pope, and Ariana Grande wrapped in The Last Judgment. The utterly divine exhibit closed this week after attracting over 1 million visitors, shattering the record for a Met fashion exhibit set by 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass.”
The 2019 gala theme is inspired by Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay “Notes on Camp,” which deconstructs camp as an aesthetic sensibility. “The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,” Sontag wrote. “The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance.”
Who better to co-chair this deliciously excessive style event than Lady Gaga? The singer and (newly minted movie star) has displayed that spirit in her fashion since she first implored us to “Just Dance.” Joining her as the gala’s other co-chairs will be Harry Styles, Serena Williams, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
“I felt it would have a lot of cultural resonance,” Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton told Vogue of the exhibition theme, which encompasses “irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, excess, extravagance, nostalgia, and exaggeration.”
“Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary,” Sontag wrote in 1964. Mark your calendars, then, for May 6, 2019. It’s not going to be just an ordinary Monday.