"Camp: Notes on Fashion"

Met’s Next Costume Institute Show Invites Us to Get “Campy”

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Camp Notes on Fashion Met Museum Costume Institute

Left: Virgil Abloh (American, b. 1980) for Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh (Italian, founded 2013). Ensemble, pre-fall 2018. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018. Right: Franco Moschino (Italian, 1950–1994) for House of Moschino (Italian, founded 1983). Shirt, spring/summer 1991. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018

Talk about high/low! After the Metropolitan Museum’s heaven-ward “Heavenly Bodies” about the Catholic church’s impact on the fashion imagination, the pendulum is swinging to the playful, ironic and more mainstream “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”

The Costume Institute’s Spring 2019 exhibition will be Camp: Notes on Fashion, running May 9 through September 8, 2019. The much heralded Met Gala will be May 6.

Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on ‘Camp’ provides the framework for the exhibition, examining how fashion designers to engage with camp in compelling, humorous, and sometimes incongruous ways. The show will explore how the camp aesthetic went from the margins to the mainstream.


"Camp: Notes on Fashion"

“Camp: Notes on Fashion” Rothola Dresses, Christian Francis Roth, 1980s

This is going to be one heck of a Met Gala Red Carpet too. Lady Gaga is a co-chair, as is Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, and Anna Wintour. Jeremy Scott, the King of Camp will be a major player for the Met Gala’s Red Carpet, but as the exhibition is underwritten by Gucci, expect lots of Gucci too.

“Camp’s disruptive nature and subversion of modern aesthetic values has often been trivialized, but this exhibition will reveal its profound influence on both high art and popular culture,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “By tracing its evolution and highlighting its defining elements, the show will embody the ironic sensibilities of this audacious style, challenge conventional understandings of beauty and taste, and establish the critical role this important genre has played in the history of art and fashion.”

Exhibition Overview

"Camp: Notes on Fashion"

“Camp: Notes on Fashion” Dress, Franco Moschino, Fall 1989

“Camp” will feature approximately 175 objects, both womenswear and menswear, plus sculptures, paintings, and drawings from the 17th century to today. The largest section explores how fashion expresses irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality and exaggeration.

The show kicks off with Versailles as a “camp Eden” in the royal courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV. It then moves to the dandy, and queer subcultures of Europe and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Designers featured include Gilbert Adrian, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Thom Browne, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, John Galliano (for Martin Margiela, House of Dior, and his own label), Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Guccio Gucci, Demna Gvasalia (for Balenciaga and his own label), Marc Jacobs (for Louis Vuitton and his own label), Charles James, Stephen Jones, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for House of Chanel, Chloe, and his own label), Herbert and Beth Levine, Alessandro Michele (for Gucci), Franco Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Norman Norell, Marjan Pejoski, Paul Poiret, Miuccia Prada, Richard Quinn, Christian Francis Roth, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeremy Scott (for Moschino and his own label), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Anna Sui, Philip Treacy, Walter Van Beirendonck, Donatella Versace (for Versace), Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, and Charles Frederick Worth.

"Camp: Notes on Fashion"

“Camp: Notes on Fashion” Gucci, Fall 2016

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