IN PICTURES | A-listers go over -the-top with their 'Camp' Met Gala outfits

Lady Gaga stripped her way through four costume changes on the pink carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.
Lady Gaga stripped her way through four costume changes on the pink carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage/Getty Images

Lady Gaga stunned on Monday at New York's Met Gala, embodying the extravaganza's "camp" theme as she peeled back look after garish look at the fete thrown by the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art that sees Hollywood and fashion collide.

The 2019 carpet - pink, for the occasion - into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose yearly bash welcomes over-the-top looks that skew to a theme, was even more of an eye-popping doozy than usual thanks to this year's concept.

Gold, trains, fringe, fur, blonde wigs and inspirations from drag as well as camp legends Cher and David Bowie were trending on the pink carpet celebrating fashion so bad it's good.

Superstar Gaga set a high bar, bringing a shape-shifting look sure to spawn a thousand memes.

The pop diva played Russian doll as her entourage unzipped three different looks in hot pink and black, until she sported nothing but glittering black lingerie, fishnets, vertiginous platform boots and wildly long spiky gold false eyelashes.

Lady Gaga stunned Monday at New York's Met Gala, embodying the extravaganza's 'camp' theme as she peeled back look after garish look at the fete thrown by the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lady Gaga stunned Monday at New York's Met Gala, embodying the extravaganza's 'camp' theme as she peeled back look after garish look at the fete thrown by the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image: Angela Weiss / AFP

Singer Katy Perry was literally glowing: the superstar dressed as a candelabra chandelier dripping with crystals, a clear reference to the Lumiere character from Beauty and the Beast.

Pop futurist Janelle Monae had jaws dropping with an elaborate black, white and pink number that recalled a cubist painting - complete with a Cleopatra-style eye covering one breast whose lavishly long eyelashes blinked and a tower of hats that would inspire envy in the Madhatter himself.

Janelle Monáe at the 2019 Met Gala.
Janelle Monáe at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Katy Perry at the 2019 Met Gala.
Katy Perry at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Rap star Cardi B brought her own red carpet, donning a curve-hugging oxblood Thom Browne gown embellished with feathers that radiated out to form a lengthy circular train, a look she capped with a bugle-bead headpiece.

Cardi B at the 2019 Met Gala.
Cardi B at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

BARBIE GIRL

The gala kicks off the Met's annual major fashion exhibition, with seats going for $35k (about R506k) a piece.

Attendance is by invitation only, and word has it that Vogue editor extraordinaire Anna Wintour has the final say over each person on the guest list.

Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, British singer Harry Styles and tennis superstar Serena Williams joined Wintour and Gaga to co-chair the event, which raises money for its Costume Institute.

Harry Styles (left) and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele at the 2019 Met Gala.
Harry Styles (left) and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Vogue's Anna Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala.
Vogue's Anna Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Serena Williams at the 2019 Met Gala.
Serena Williams at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Country superstar Kacey Musgraves rolled up in a bright pink Barbie corvette and was dressed as the iconic doll to boot, sporting a skin-tight Moschino pink zippered dress, with matching cat-eye sunglasses and a feather boa.

Lupita Nyong'o meanwhile embodied the theme donning a gown topped off with a rainbow-coloured plume, matching fluffy fan and gold Afro picks in her Marie Antoinette-style beehive updo.

Lupita Nyong'o at the 2019 Met Gala.
Lupita Nyong'o at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Kacey Musgraves at the 2019 Met Gala.
Kacey Musgraves at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Karwai Tang/WireImage

A coterie of men also ran with the concept, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who wore an all-white suit with an ascot tie and glittering green brooch.

Billy Porter, meanwhile, had his mic-drop moment with a fabulous entrance that saw the performer arrive on a gold litter hoisted by six shirtless men, before he got down to show off his sparkling set of wings.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter at the 2019 Met Gala.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Billy Porter made a grand entrance at the 2019 Met Gala.
Billy Porter made a grand entrance at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue/Getty Images

'SUBVERSIVE'

So what exactly is "camp?"

The museum's exhibition is based on Notes on Camp, an essay written in 1964 by American author Susan Sontag.

"Camp is by nature subversive... confronting and challenging the status quo," the Costume Institute's head curator Andrew Bolton said at a press event ahead of the gala.

"In the end, the purpose of camp is to put a smile on our faces and a warm glow in our hearts."

Some of the items in the exhibition might best explain the theme: the "swan dress" worn by Bjork to the Oscars, a glittering costume worn by flamboyant US singer Liberace, a shower head necklace designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe in the 1980s.

Actor Ezra Miller at the 2019 Met Gala.
Actor Ezra Miller at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Actor Jared Leto at the 2019 Met Gala.
Actor Jared Leto at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Model Cara Delevingne at the 2019 Met Gala.
Model Cara Delevingne at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Singer Zendaya at the 2019 Met Gala.
Singer Zendaya at the 2019 Met Gala.
Image: Karwai Tang/WireImage

"We're experiencing a resurgence of camp - not just in fashion, but in culture in general," said Bolton.

"Camp tends to come to the fore in moments of social and political instability. The 1960s was one such moment, as were the 1980s."

The exhibition Camp: Notes on Fashion - a play on the title of Sontag's essay - opens to the public at the Met on Thursday and runs through September 8.


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