What with a baby and a pink carpet, there were plenty of pop culture moments to indulge in this week:
The first Monday in May brought with it the Met Gala. More than other red carpet events, the Met Gala is a celebration of wearable art.
Public intrigue towards the Met Gala, which centers around the Costume Institute’s spring exhibit, has grown in recent years starting with the success of 2011’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Show stopping attendees like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Cardi B and the Kardashian/Jenner clan have no doubt boosted public awareness of the event and the exhibition through their collective social media presence. While the Gala is closed to the public, this year’s exhibit, Camp: Notes on Fashion, will run from May 9 through September 8. Last year’s exhibition was the Met’s highest ever attended exhibition with 1,659,647 visitors. No doubt the Met Museum expects similar success this year, and with good reason. Recent exhibitions of fashion history have been met with great public interest, like the sold out Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit at The Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Denver Art Museum’s Dior from Paris to the World which had to extend its closing date due to high visitor interest. Fashion, long the ugly stepsister of the arts world, has recently come into its own because of growing accessibility to everyday people. At a time when museums are adapting to the Instagram Era, fashion has become another way to build buzz and get people in the door. Whether it’s haute couture or the iconic gowns of America’s First Ladies, what people wear is ingrained in our pop culture history and so, accessible in a way that many traditional art museum pieces have not been.
Fashion is serious business and last Monday’s festivities were no exception. This year’s theme was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 Notes on “Camp” essay, which aimed to give meaning to the undefined term. The party line, as Sontag tells us, is that “the essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” And the night did bring its share of the artificial; the exaggerated; the extra. We saw latex gloves on Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke, gender bending costumes on Harry Styles and Ezra Miller and wacky props, like Mindy Kaling’s cleaning bottle purse and Elle Fanning’s adorable nail charms.
I also wanted to draw attention to Sinead Burke, who was the first ever little person to attend the Met Gala. Sinead is an Irish educator, advocate and a Contributing Editor at British Vogue whom I’ve admired for some time. Watch her Davos speech, Disabled people need platforms not pedestals, during which she discusses the need for diversity in the design community (14 minute, great listen!). Have a great weekend!