All The Hidden Meanings Behind Our Favourite Met Gala Looks


This year’s Met Gala theme of Camp: Notes on Fashion, left a lot of room for interpretation. The theme was drawn from Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp, which details an aesthetic marked by excess, outlandish performance and a sense of self aware bad taste, and after seeing the turnout from the first Monday of May, we were not disappointed. But what did they all actually mean? Here, we break down the hidden inspirations and meanings behind our favourite looks from the red carpet. 

Kendall and Kylie Jenner at the 2019 Met Gala and Lil Kim at the 1999 VMAs

With such a distinctive personal style and aesthetic, it was surprising to see the Jenner sisters come dressed to theme. In direct reference to a line from Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp, where she describes Camp in fashion as being “a dress made of three million feathers”, Kendall and Kylie arrived in elaborately feathered Versace gowns. The detailed bodice of Kylie’s dress pared with her violet wig also left us wondering, could this be an homage to Lil Kim’s iconic 1999 VMAs look? 

Lizzo at the 2019 Met Gala and Shirley MacLaine in What A Way To Go!

Lizzo channelled Shirley MacLaine in the classic camp film What A Way To Go! in this feathered ensemble by Marc Jacobs


Kim Kardashian West at the 2019 Met Gala And Sophia Loren in Boy On A Dolphin

Having recently promised on her Instagram to always share the inspiration for her red carpet looks, Kim Kardashian West teased scenes of Sophia Loren from the 1957 film Boy On A Dolphin. Designer Thierry Mugler came out of his 20 year retirement to design this wet-look crystal-embellished gown. 

Actress Danai Gurira proved she had read Sontag’s essay, noting both the references to Oscar Wilde and androgyny in her Met look

Billy Porter at the 2019 Met Gala and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra

Billy Porter really made an entrance, carried into the Gala on a chaise by six shirtless men. The scene is evocative of Elizabeth Taylor’s entrance as Cleopatra in the 1963 film of the same name. 

In a very self aware move, Joan Collins went as her own character from Dynasty. How camp!

Kacey Musgraves at the 2019 Met Gala and Moschino Spring RTW 2015

Not shy of pushing the boundaries with a comical self awareness, designer Jeremy Scott dressed singer Kacey Musgraves as an exact replica of the Moschino Barbie doll he designed for the Met gift shop as part of it’s “Camp Collection” alongside this year’s exhibition at the Costume Institute. The Barbie ensemble was inspired by his spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection for Moschino. Meta, indeed. 

Emily Ratajkowski at the 2019 Met Gala and Cher
Cher Angel Headpiece

Emily Ratajkowski’s look paid homage to two of Cher’s iconic looks throughout the years. Her angel wing headpiece and cut out dress by Norwegian designer Peter Dundas are reminiscent of the many looks Bob Mackie designed for Cher throughout her career.

Jennifer Lopez at the 2019 Met Gala and Cher

In another tribute to Cher, Jennifer Lopez donned a crystal beaded wig and dress by Versace. 

Ryan Murphy at the 2019 Met Gala and Liberace

Ryan Murphy arrived in an outfit inspired by the late pianist and true camp icon Liberace. The pearl-embroidered, cape and silk suit by designer Christian Siriano were completely encrusted with sequins and weighed over 40kg, had internal support systems to hold the neck piece and needed five people to help Murphy into it. 


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