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Jul 23 2019
Swish List — Notes On CAMP: NOTES ON FASHION Comments (0)

IMG_2489Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 6.00.49 PMI wore a nice polo shirt to gaze upon this. (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

If you pay any attention at all to the annual Met Gala, you know that the show it celebrated this year is entitled Camp: Notes on Fashion (May 9-September 8, 2019).

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 5.38.31 PMSparkle, Neely, sparkle!

The exhibition takes Susan Sontag's seminal 1964 essay “Notes on Camp” as its foundation, drawing on over 250 objects from the 17th century through the present in an ambitious effort to visually define camp — that thing you can't define, but know when you see it.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 5.45.41 PMWith friends like these, who needs genitals?

It's a perilous undertaking! I remember seeing my beloved Debbie Harry and John Waters on a talk show more than 20 years ago attempting to illustrate camp, and the best Debbie could come up with was her shoes. It ... left a mark on me.

IMG_0087She's got great cans.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 5.31.18 PMCamp Warhol

Thankfully, as famous quotes about camp read by Rupert Everett are pumped in overhead — some insightful (“Camp is a holiday for consenting adults”, some not “Camp is ... Josephine Baker”) — Camp: Notes on Fashion, draped in Pride-rainbow colors, unfolds like a smile, touching on camp's frivolity, as well as its subversion. And it's all within the air-conditioned safety of the Met, no Vera Vice around to poop the party.

IMG_0088The example on top is modern. The bottom (of course) is Judy Garland's from the '30s.

There are still shoes, by the way, but we're talking about incredible, rainbow-under-her-feet wedgie sandals worn by Judy, so they get a pass.

IMG_0070Who is she? Who was she? Who does she hope to be?

IMG_2556How's it hangin'? See for yourself.

I've always leaned toward the charm-school of thought that the truest camp is unintentional, and I'm surprised the concept even works today, when non-binary people freely roam the streets in dresses to express joy, not to induce laughter, but the show takes for granted that intentional camp, as so much of the fashion it flaunts is, more than counts.

IMG_0080The Paul Cadmus is smooth sailing, but why such a restrained Tom of Finland for a show about camp?

Regardless, I'd love to turn the curators loose on a larger, less fashion-bound show, to see how they'd do defining camp without the sartorial cheat sheets that are Lagerfeld, Versace, Gaultier, Bob Mackie, Richie Rich and a slew of others whose threads were conceived as outrageous.


IMG_2560Versace + “Vogue” + a reflection of Malcolm McLaren's “Deep in Vogue”

Taking that into account, the show is breathtakingly all-encompassing, giving off the heat of a thousand Project Runways.

Don't miss this, Mary. It's good, in spite of the fact that it isn't awful.

You know what they say — keep reading for more is more ...

IMG_0097House of Schiaparelli flamingo headpiece — perfect for the office

IMG_0112Hey, hose!

IMG_2502This pot was serving all the tea.


Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 6.01.40 PMGiving good head

IMG_2561Come sail away ...

IMG_2557The money shot

IMG_2545Shining through

IMG_2538Yes, capes!

IMG_2542The end. But P.S. ...

IMG_0123These ladies weren't there for the show, but got the memo.

If you wanna buy me the catalogue, I will accept it. xo