NEW YORK – The annual Met Gala opened Monday with the theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” a concept proposed by the writer-photographer Susan Sontag in 1964 about free interpretation, and visible on the pink carpet with celebrities donning outfits marked by eccentricity and a desire to have fun with fashion.
Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, models Gisele Bundchen and Naomi Campbell and the Kardashian clan are just some of the names who attended one of fashion’s biggest nights and essentially a charity event financed by the MET’s Costume Institute.
The MET laid out the pink carpet adorned with feathers in a display of the extravagance that is characteristic of this great gala for which Vogue editor and MET guru Anna Wintour chooses the fortunate 550 people who can attend.
Entry tickets to this lavish affair can cost $30,000 and there is a waiting list.
Wintour, who chaired the event with a host of other celebrities including Lady Gaga and Serena Williams, opened the gala in a couture Chanel sequined gown with a pink and purple feathered cape but her entry was far more discreet than that of Lady Gaga, a champion of the “camp” aesthetic.
The arrival of Lady Gaga was a spectacle: accompanied by dancers, she changed her outfits four times, thanks to the ingenuity of designer Brandon Maxwell, who adorned her first in a huge billowy pink dress with a cascading train and giant hair bow which she took off to reveal a black strapless ensemble complete with a matching umbrella.
Her third change on the pink carpet revealed a tight fuchsia number which led to her final change into her trademark sexy black lingerie.
She was accompanied by co-hosts, tennis legend Serena Williams, who combined her Versace’s neon yellow dress with Nike trainers, and singer Harry Styles dressed in high waisted trousers with a sheer black top marked by lace detailing on the sleeves and neck.
Styles appeared alongside another co-host, Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, the gala’s sponsor brand, who explained that by choosing “camp” style they were launching a social and political message on the freedom to live as one desires.
Michele made his appearance in a flashy pink ruffled suit with a headband.
In another dramatic appearance actor-singer Billy Porter emulated an Egyptian God covered in gold, a metallic tone that also seemed to be a favorite among actors Emily Blunt and Salma Hayek.
Celine Dion, 51, managed to dazzle everyone present, glittering in silver tassels, with thigh-high slits and a magnificent feathered headpiece.
Wintour told Vogue magazine that “I think this year’s exhibition, possibly more than any other, is about self-expression and individuality. We’re all, I think, most hoping to see something that is outrageous, this is fun, tongue in cheek. So my guess is that we’re going to see a very large amount of feathers on the red carpet.”
Feathers certainly dominated the evening as they were seen on Naomi Campbell in a pink caped dress; Kendall Jenner, dressed like a bird of paradise in orange; Gigi Hadid in a white and gold custom-made Michael Kors catsuit and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a powdered rose halter gown, among others.
Rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj who engaged in a brawl during last year’s MET Gala, arrived separately and both dressed in outfits featuring billowy trains.
Couples who hogged the limelight included Jennifer Lopez and fiance Alex Rodriguez along with newlyweds Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, and Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz returned to the gala after eight years in a classic black and white Chanel dress.