Notes on Camp: Why Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Dress at the Met Gala 2019 was not Absurd and Weird?

The first Monday of May saw Priyanka Chopra Jonas among various celebrities don the most absurd and surrealistic outfits at the 2019 edition of the Met Gala. While many memes were generated and Priyanka was trolled by our countrymen mercilessly, it is important to understand why she dressed like that and why she had no choice but to dress like that.

So, to understand this fundamental concept, the first thing that we need to understand is what is Met Gala and its purpose.

What is the Met Gala?

One of the biggest fashion events of the year, the Met Gala was founded by publicist Eleanor Lambert in 1948 to bring in donations for New York’s high society. The modern era has seen the most famous faces of the fashion, films, art, and music industry grace the carpet of this benefit to raise money for the Met’s Costume Institute and also open the latest exhibition.

In the past years gone, the Met Gala’s theme encompassed everything from Punk: Chaos to Couture to Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Manus x Machina, and China: Through the Looking Glass. This year the Gala’s theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion.

Camp: Notes on Fashion – What Does the Theme Mean?

The theme of 2019 Met Gala was framed around the pathbreaking 1964 essay “Notes on Camp” written by Susan Sontag. The essay basically debated how a concept can be construed in many different ways.

The essay was first published in the fall of 1964 and instantly grabbed everyone’s attention. Here are some quotes from the essay itself to help you understand this years’ theme in detail.

A sensibility (as distinct from an idea) is one of the hardest things to talk about; but there are special reasons why Camp, in particular, has never been discussed. It is not a natural mode of sensibility if there be any such. Indeed the essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.”

Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual décor, for instance, make up a large part of Camp. For Camp art is often decorative art, emphasising texture, sensuous surface, and style at the expense of content.”

The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.”

The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to ‘the serious’. One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.”

So, if we go through these quotes carefully, it can be concluded that Priyanka Chopra Jonas or any other celebrity, as a matter of fact, had no choice but to don on the extravagant dressing to stay true to this year’s theme. As Vogue editor Anna Wintour correctly stated in a February press conference, the Met Gala 2019 saw everything from sun kings to drag queens on the red carpet and it was well worth it.

Banner Image Credit: IndianExpress

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Sananya Datta

Sananya is a passionate writer and an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. Apart from that, she is also a blogger, an amateur photographer, and a professional web content creator. When not writing, Sananya can be found playing with her pets and binging on travel blogs. Connect with Sananya on Instagram and Twitter

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