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Met Gala Monday

The exhibit "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic imagination," tied to the 2018 Met Gala theme.  
By Amanda M. Perez

The exhibit "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic imagination," tied to the 2018 Met Gala theme.  

Met Gala Monday

By Amanda M. Perez
University of Miami staff and students weigh in on what to expect on the red carpet at the 71st Annual Met Gala in New York City.

On the first Monday in May, A-listers from around the world come together for fashion’s biggest night. It is a time where all eyes are on the famed steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the red carpet is rolled out for fashion industry insiders to show off their wide-ranging opulent attire. 

“This is the ultimate red carpet, and the finest opportunity for self-expression,” said Gema Valdes, a costume and prop technician in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Miami. “What we will see Monday night is something we’re going to be talking about for a long time.”

The theme, which differs every year, generates a buzz and excitement for fashion aficionados who wonder how designers and their muses will interpret it. The theme for the black-tie fundraiser this year is “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”

But what does camp mean? Valdes said it derives from American writer Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.”

“It blends in elements of humor and parody. The theme is kind of tongue-in-cheek. To me it means something over the top and exaggerated,” said Valdes.

Many fashion enthusiasts say this could be the most open-ended theme to date. Valdes believes it will make this year’s red carpet looks even more interesting.

“I’m thinking we’re going to see massive bows, and a lot of shine and color. When I hear camp I also think of the culture of drag. I think we’re going to see a blurring of lines and looks that are androgynous in nature,” she said.

Genevieve Oertli, a senior majoring in costume design, agrees with Valdes, and is excited to see something unique for men who are usually constrained to only wearing suits.

“I’m hoping to see a lot of alternative fashion for men. The one thing I love about the Met Gala is that it leads to unconventional ideas,” she said. “I think it could become a big statement of our culture.”

Oertli also thinks the theme is a fun segue into summer trends.

“For me camp is very saturated. For some reason I picture ice cream cones and a lot of pink. I think there’s going to be a lot of intricate details and garments that will be scaled up, which will be fun to look at,” she said.

Oertli is already inspired by the theme and has her own ideas on how she would interpret “camp.”

“I would design something over the top that will just further the boundaries. I want pounds of ruffles and frills with a kind of fabric that is soft and has interesting movement,” she said.

Although designing for fashion and costumes are very different, Oertli says watching the Met could be a real-world learning experience for her career.

“I think it really opens up new avenues of thought. When I design costumes, I love using high fashion research. The resources help me think up new ideas on how to create something unique.”

As for the star who many people are looking forward to seeing arrive on the red carpet—both Valdes and Oertli say all eyes are on Rihanna.

They also have similar predictions when it comes to the designers who they think are going to shine on the red carpet.

 “I’m really excited to see what Gucci has to offer. I think they do camp very well because they have lots of interesting patterns and colors,” said Oertli.

“I’m interested in seeing Dolce & Gabbana’s interpretation with the theme. I also really love John Galliano, and Jean-Paul Gaultier,” Valdes said.

E! will have red carpet coverage on television, while both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vogue will livestream the celebrity arrivals. The invitation-only fundraiser benefits the museum’s Costume Institute.