It’s good to be Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast. The first Monday of every May, you get to invite 500 of your closest “friends” to a fierce party at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which just happens to be named after you. The party celebrates the annual opening of the latest exhibition at the institute, this year called “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” referencing Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.”
OK, yes, I’ll admit that, although I knew who Susan Sontag was, I was a bit shaky on her writing. But trust us on this one: By “camp,” she wasn’t referring to enjoyment of the great outdoors, nor will we be seeing this book on the shelves of your nearest REI. In fact, as Steff Yotka’s essay in Vogue describes it, one gallery at the exhibit presents 58 bullet points from Sontag’s essay, inviting attendees to contemplate the concept of camp more deeply, when they aren’t busy appraising each other’s outfits.
“[Camp] incarnates a victory of ‘style’ over ‘content,’ ‘aesthetics’ over ‘morality,’ of irony over tragedy.”
Among her other observations, Sontag writes that, “Camp is the consistently aesthetic experience of the world. It incarnates a victory of ‘style’ over ‘content,’ ‘aesthetics’ over ‘morality,’ of irony over tragedy. Or maybe … camp (is) ‘the love of the exaggerated, the ‘off,’ of things-being-what-they-are-not.’”
If you ask me (and the rest of us for whom a tuxedo is probably the most dressed up we’ll ever be in our lives), the Met Gala has been pretty camp for years now, no matter the topic of the latest exhibition. Monday night’s festivities did not disappoint. Here are, if not the best-dressed men at the event, at least the most interestingly put together. This was one night where men can and should throw caution to the wind and indulge in the sort of sartorial splendor worthy of a Lewis Carroll novel.