As usual, the first Monday of May saw Oscar-winning actresses and actors, chart-topping singers and fashion designers hitting the pink carpet on the grand stairs of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, the Met Gala raises money for the museum’s fashion department and marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual blockbuster show. Unofficially, it’s been called “the party of the year” as well as “the Oscars of the East Coast.”
And each year we wait with bated breath to see who wore the costumes that best captured the theme. This year’s theme is Camp: Notes on Fashion, a play on the renowned Susan Sontag essay Notes on Camp, which defines camp as "love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” So it didn’t come as a surprise that our favourite headliners wore dresses and accessories that could only be described with words like over-the-top, theatrical, magnificently eccentric and not for the faint-hearted.
The camp theme came naturally to certain stars, including Lady Gaga. The songstress, who was one of this year’s co-chairs, changed into not less than four different outfits and created a fun routine that included a wagon stacked with champagne, dancers, umbrellas and a tantalising striptease. The A Star is Born actress arrived in voluminous fuchsia gown featuring a doll-like bow; what’s more several men in tuxedos carried the train.
Another showstopper, Cardi B, also had handlers to help her with her burgundy gigantic, dramatic tulle and silk organza feminine-inspired dress, which showcased 30,000 burned and dyed coque feathers and sparkles. The multi-talented star, who seemed to be giving Rihanna a run for her money, topped it off with a matching headpiece. Céline Dion was yet another camp champ in a high-shine gown with all-over fringe accents that was inspired by costumes worn at Broadway’s elaborate Ziegfeld Follies during the early 1930s. In addition to the hand-beaded ensemble that took over 3,000 hours to make, the Québécoise songbird wore a towering and spiky feathered headpiece that could easily steal the show by itself.
Meanwhile, Katy Perry took her trademark campy style to the next level. She was literally “lit” in her candelabra couture dress that was in fact illuminated. Kylie and Kendall Jenner didn’t shy away from the theme either. The sisters were twinning in coordinated bright sparkly and feather embellished dresses. While Kendall, who posted a comparison photo on Instagram Stories of the evil stepsisters from Cinderella, rocked a bright orange number, Kylie chose a lavender dress with a matching wig. Good friend Gigi Hadid arrived solo, wearing a white, gold and silver futuristic sequinned jumpsuit along with a tailored coat with a feathered train. Her sparkle and shine “gay dinner party” look was accessorised with a custom hat and standout lashes.
Others turned to camp icons for inspiration. Model Emily Ratajkowski channelled the ultimate one, Cher, in a bold and daring embellished sheer dress with a large cut-out. The dress connected with her headpiece that had chain details and feathers. Plus, Ciara looked fabulous in a beaded emerald green dress with a cut-out inspired by disco-diva Diana Ross and the days of Studio 54. She wore matching beaded clips on her Afro, which naturally had back-in-the-day Ross-level volume. Then there was country singer Kacey Musgraves, who was the perfect Barbie doll in a hot pink moto-chic gown. She even went as far as arriving in a matching convertible, with wavy platinum hair, a furry shawl, sunglasses and hair dryer-shaped purse.
Even some of the male invitees weren’t afraid to make a grand entrance. Six shirtless men carried actor and pop singer Billy Porter on a black velvet and gold litter. And his opulent outfit, which had him looking like a Sun God from ancient Egypt, was just as theatrical. As well as a gold embellished catsuit, he wore 10-ft wings and a 24-karat gold headpiece. Dressed in a melodramatic blood red robe with a crystal harness, Jared Leto casually accessorised with none other than a bust of his own head. Another male head-turning costume came from uber-producer Ryan Murphy, who was channeling flamboyant pianist Liberace, particularly inspired by his show called The Neptune. His Poseidon-worthy pearl-embroidered, floor-length cape and tonal silk suit were completely encrusted with sequins. On another note, French Montana decided to pay homage to the first night of the holy month of Ramadan with a traditional Arabian thawb made by Gucci.
Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell
Serena Williams in Versace
Céline Dion in Oscar de la Renta
Kylie and Kendall Jenner in Versace
Cardi B in Thom Browne and Stephen Jones x Thom Browne hat
Ciara in Dundas
Kacey Musgraves in Moschino
Lupita Nyong'o in Atelier Versace
Emily Ratajkowski in Dundas
Saoirse Ronan in Gucci
Billy Porter in The Blonds
Katy Perry in Moschino
Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano
Laverne Cox in Christian Siriano
Jared Leto in Gucci
Gigi Hadid in Michael Kors Collection and Stephen Jones hat
Nicki Minaj in Prabal Gurung
Priyanka Chopra in Dior
Ryan Murphy in Christian Siriano
Tiffany Haddish in Michael Kors Collection
Alicia Keys in Carolina Herrera
Bella Hadid in Moschino
Cara Delevigne in Dior
Deepika Padukone in Zac Posen
Dua Lipa in Versace
Edward Enninful and Ella Balinska in Tory Burch
Hailee Steinfeld in Viktor & Rolf
Halsey in Prabal Gurung
Kim Kardashion in Thierry Mugler
Law Roach and Zendaya in Tommy Hilfiger
Madelaine Petsch in Jean-Paul Gaultier
Naomi Campbell in Valentino
Tracee Ellis Ross in Moschino
French Montana in Gucci