Gaga

Lady Gaga wears Brandon Maxwell at the 2019 Met Gala.

Here in our bubble, off-season style notes are having multiple identity crises! From wet to cold to warm to hot to sun to wind requires wardrobe diligence extraordinaire and plenty of room for malfunction. I unburdened the front seat of my car the other day from the mash-up of fleece, windbreakers, mud-soaked sneaks, beanie, long-sleeved Tee and a white skin-tight Lululemon base layer, chuckling at the absurdity and breadth of clothing strewn there. And that’s not to mention the stuff I’d worn for gardening or cleaning the house which are in an entirely different category, one which predetermines their destiny as soon headed for the trash. Those won’t even get a look-in at the thrift shop when they’re done as they’re so ratty.

On my off-season to do list is a Marie Kondo type of closet clear-out while the season changes. Marie’s the Japanese tidying expert who has everyone ditching bags of stuff that are not ‘joyful’ to own or wear. Sounds like it takes a bit of thinking time to me, but friends of mine have proudly posted bags stashed after such projects and I envy their resolve as my items still jostle for space.

So instead for diversion, I sit glued to the computer the day after the first Monday in May, studying outfits from this year’s Met Gala (or Met Ball as its known) in New York, the New York Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute benefit. This year’s theme was CAMP: Notes on Fashion, so I’d expected to see many nods to celebrities like Cher, Liza Minelli and designer Bob Mackie to name a few.

There were a whole lot of headdresses and super-extended false lashes accessorizing outfits frankly that could only be categorized as costumes. Take Katy Perry in her two-tier chandelier ‘dress’. But I have always thought that the trick for this party conceived by Vogue’s Anna Wintour, is to take the theme and interpret in a fashion-wearable way. Lady Gaga, one of this year’s hosts, wore a hot pink Brandon Maxwell dress that morphed into three others as she stripped down entering the event! So, so camp.

What mesmerized me however, were the less costumey outfits and especially the wet-look simplicity of Kim Kardashian’s sexy maritime look from the 1957 Sophia Loren film Boy on a Dolphin. This nude silicon dress, dripping in beads and sequins was cinched so tightly at the corseted waist that she couldn’t sit down or use the bathroom. She learned corset-breathing techniques from the dress’s designer and conceiver legendary designer Thierry Mugler! The dress made her waist nearly invisible and I could not take my eyes off this. Later, on a YouTube video, she captured some of the preparation and work that went into this look ahead of time and for the first time ever, I had to hand it to the girl, she fully earned her way into the event. Traveling standing up in a sprinter van, she joined the whole Kardashian Klan on the red carpet among their sea of more cheesy ostrich feathers, Miami Beach cabaret-style dresses and make-up looks scraped on so thick you’d need a garden trowel to remove them. Kim’s neutral but brilliant interpretation made guests like Celine Dion, who you think would show well in this look for all her time in Vegas, just look uninspired, although some creations like Cardi B’s anatomical Thom Browne cardinal red dress had wow factor.

As a postscript, my favorite accessories were the iconic brand charm bracelet extensions that Elle Fanning wore on her nails. The ultimate impracticality and surely a true essence of Camp.