When the Met Gala's 2019 theme was first announced, people were left scratching their heads. Given, most celebrities who received the exclusive invitation openly admitted that they did not know what it means to dress "campy".
Camp is an exaggeration, an aesthetic that is so overdone and gaudy that still somehow works. There is dualism within camp, it's imaginative, yet specific; serious and tongue-in-cheek. An easy illustration of camp is an ironically funny movie. "Showgirls", for instance, was a movie that had serious intentions to depict a story of a naive girl's rise to Las Vegas infamy. However, due to the film's bad acting, awkward dialogue and overplayed sex scenes, "Showgirls" is known to be a "bad but so good" movie. It's humorous, without intending to be. That is an example of camp.
Lady Gaga's outfits for the Met Gala exemplified the designated theme. By transforming into four different looks, accompanied by a 16-minute choreographed glam squad, Lady Gaga put on a melodramatic performance. She first arrived in a fuschia cape dress that had a 25-foot train. Like every Met Gala attendee, Lady Gaga was escorted by the designer who created her outfit, Brandon Maxwell. Her team- while keeping rhythmic count of the procession- hoisted the train high above the heads of photographers and onlookers, as the billowing pink fabric magnanimously waved in the Manhattan air. Maxwell opened Gaga's pink cape to reveal a black dress. They then transitioned into another fuschia dress, while Gaga's acted out a conversation with a vintage phone. Until finally, Gaga stripped down to reveal a crystalized bra and panty set.
In a behind-the-scenes video filmed for Vogue, Gaga and Maxwell's preparation was documented. In between the moments of fittings and rehearsals, Gaga was seen reading aloud Susan Sontag's 1964 essay "Notes on 'Camp'" to her team. The careful research was tentatively applied and clearly paid off. "I know intrinsically that I have a camp soul," she shares during a pre-Met rehearsal. "I knew because we're such a family and the way that we work together as a creative collective, that what we would create together would be camp."