Curated by the MET, this year’s Spring exhibit named Camp: Notes on Fashion, is a re-sponse to the "resurgence of camp", a form of exaggerated fashion.
The exhibition opened with the annual Met Gala event, for which many celebrities arri-ved in spectacular clothing to match the theme.
Inspired by Susan Sontag, an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and po-litical activist, and more specifically centered around her 1964 essay, Notes on Camp, highlights the characteristics of camp: irony, theatricalization, excess, humor, exaggera-tion, parody etc…
According to the exhibit, the word was first used by Molière in Les Fourberies de Scapin (1671) where Scapin camps on one leg like a comedy king. The notion of performance and theatricality evolves and by the mid 19th century, camp is associated to the queer community. The exhibit retraces the meaning of camp through a series of garments.
The first half of the exhibit focuses on extravagant gesturing while the second part of the exhibition is called « Camp Eye » showing examples of the Camp aesthetic post Son-tag’s essay. Susan explains how « camp is the manifestation of a snob taste » and how camp is the « dandyism of mass culture ». For example, having one logo on a garment isn’t camp but having a whole suit completely emblazoned with logos is camp!
Here’s the description of a few garments exposed:
- A garment made out of dollars by Jeremy Scott
- Marc Jacob’s opera coat that has a jacquard of the opera star’s face, Maria CALLAS
- « Camp is for the heroes who didn’t set out to be heroes » for that statement is exhibi-ted a floor-length faux-fur rainbow flag coat from Christopher Bailey’s last collection for Burberry, which was a celebration of queer culture
- A Victor-Victoria reference by Tom Brown where the front is a tuxedo and the back a bride’s wedding dress.
You leave the exhibit being encouraged to think of your own definition of camp. Camp is happiness? Camp is dandyism ? What is Camp for you ?
You might find your definition in these quotes:
- "Camp taste is by its nature possible only in affluent societies, in societies or circles ca-pable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence." —Susan Sontag, 1964
Spoken by Gareth Pugh
- "Camp demonstrates an exhilaration in identifying with the lowest of the low." —David M. Halperin, 2012 Spoken by Jeremy Scott for House of Moschino
- «Camp "makes no distinction between the unique object and the mass-produced ob-ject. Camp taste transcends the nausea of the replica." — Susan Sontag, 1964 Spoken by Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton. »
CAMP: NOTES ON FASHION
Mai 9 - September 8,2019 Selected Images The Met Fifth Avenue
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