2019 Met Gala in New York. Met Gala Theme:"Camp" written by: Silent Rob
Updated: May 16, 2019
In1992 RuPaul released his game changing hit single "Supermodel" and the world was introduced to the familiar refrain of "You Better WORK, Bitch". At the 2019 Met Gala that command was on full display, both in front of the camera, and behind. The theme behind this year's extravaganza was "Camp: Notes on Fashion" and it provided an opportunity for celebrities, and provocateurs alike to dazzle and amaze the press, and gathered onlookers. Often billed as "the jewel in NYC's social crown" the annual event was originally presented as a very staid and low-key soiree with the intention of acting as a fundraiser for the newly established Costume Institute. For more than two decades the gala was mostly attended by high society figures in, and around Manhattan.
Beginning in 1972 that all began to change thanks to the introduction of Diana Vreeland as consultant to the Costume Institute. During her tenure the gala shifted away from locations such as The Waldorf - Astoria and Central Park, and settled into its current home under the lights of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. From 1972 onward the fashion event would become
famous for attracting well known luminaries as well as preeminent members of the horse and pony
set. The inclusion of annual themes to set the tone for the night's festivities served as a masterstroke of publicity and self promotion for the event. In an almost complete departure from the "Fashion Plate" theme of 1972 this year's event would play up the draw of "Camp", an aesthetic
sensibility made famous by drag queens, and faux queens. With the stage set, and photographers
in position, it was time for 2019's Met Gala attendees to begin one-upping each other with their eye-popping gowns and accessories!
The unspoken trend this year seemed to be feathers. Lots, and LOTS of feathers. Feathers on
shoulders. Feathers on hems. Feathered cuffs, and cascading trains adorned with a menagerie
of plumage. Seemingly everywhere you looked there were feathers on display. It began with a subdued pink Chanel ensemble worn by the artistic director for Conde Nast, the venerable Anna Wintour. That's pretty much where the understated fashionista approach ended, for the night was all about extravagance, and the long list of attendees came to slay. In a style indicative of the night's overall theme Cardi B arrived sporting a jaw dropping gown designed by Thom Browne. The blood red gown required the help of 10 assistants to manage the train, which appeared to be dripping with 30,000 dyed coque feathers as it flowed downward from a snood, hugging and accentuating every curve along her frame. In a show of wicked excess, the gown was topped off with 2 44-carat Stefere rubies, each totaling $500,000. On any other night of the year Cardi's gown would be the unforgettable showstopper, but you must remember that this is the red carpet of the Met Gala, and everyone is aiming for unforgettable status.
Nowhere was this aim more obvious than in the appearance of Billy Porter who arrived astride a litter, born on the shoulders of 6 shirtless men in striking gold pants. In a display reminiscent of Cleopatra's introduction to Julius Ceasar, he arose from his perch atop the litter-bearers, and unfurled 10-foot wings that had been moments earlier covering bejeweled catsuit beneath a 24-carat gold headpiece designed by The Blonds. At times high fashion can be looked at as a contact sport, and Billy Porter arrived throwing haymakers. Elsewhere on the red carpet there were other celebrities who took the opportunity to showcase their own creativity, and while not quite rising to the level of mic-drop achieved by Cardi and Billy, they were still noteworthy. Lady Gaga made sure that her Brandon Maxwell costume would also be unforgettable what with her multiple costume changes throughout the night. With the addition of 7,200 Swarovski crystals fashioned across her outerwear it was near impossible not to remember her look. Co-host Harry Styles, while accompanied by Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, chose jet black lace as the centerpiece of
his costume wear. Accessories being equally as important as the main dress, many celebrities chose quirky additions as a means to leave an indelible mark. Jared Leto found a way to make meta a fashion statement by arriving clutching onto a seemingly decapitated head bearing his exact likeness.On the other side of the red carpet Ezra Miller included a handheld mask, removing it to unveil a bevy of intricately drawn eyes covering a large portion of his face. Fellow attendee Jordan Roth utilized a cape to add drama to his look. In the case of Zoe Kravitz "less-is-more" was her accessory. Her dress featured a large heart shaped cutout exposing a good deal of her chest, and midriff. After attending previous galas in imaginative theme inspired dress Zendaya took it up a notch this year by showing up in a literal Cinderella inspired, light up gown, complete with "glass" slippers to add to the Tommy Hilfiger designed gown.
Returning to the subject of feathers, celebrities including Amber Valleta, Yara Shahi, Lizzo, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner received custom designs by Saint Laurent, Prada, Marc Jacobs, and
Versace, respectively. While others chose somewhat conventional accessories to add to their look, a handful of celebrities came adorned with powerful statements, chief amongst them Lena Wathe's
comment on the subject of race and homosexuality. In a move that surprised no one her fashion
statement proved to be one of the most talked about of the night. Realizing the draw of such a
star studded event many press members and paparazzi gather around in order to get a glimpse
of the night's festivities, and deliver a look behind the scenes to their readers, and subscribers.
According to Vanessa Friedman, fashion critic for the New York Times, "the met has turned party dressing into a competitive event". That assertion may also apply to those behind the cameras, who oftentimes are in a struggle to gain an advantageous spot to shoot from. It's the reason why our best photographer was able to capture such a varying mix of behind the scenes footage. Stay tuned for next year's Met Gala extravaganza, where our photographers will bring you close access to the display from the inside.
Official Video by: The Met
Photos taken by: Jason Turner of YSYM FILMS
Article written by: Silent Rob