Fashion

Telfar and Ashton Sanders Revisit Camp's Black Origins

Story by Michael Love Michael / Photography by Jason Nocito

It would be impossible to outline all things Met Gala without the inclusion of fashion's most forward-thinking designers. Take for instance New York fashion iconoclast, Telfar Clemens, whose namesake brand of often political high-fashion streetwear has been shaking up the industry since its inception. Remember last season's Americana show with crowdsurfing models?

For this year's Camp-themed Gala, Clemens sent Moonlight star Ashton Sanders down the pink carpet in a look honoring Black history and reflecting America's current state of affairs. Clemens also pulled from Camp's origins. In his styling notes, he writes: "CAMP: gay slang meaning bad taste, dating back to 1901."

Of course, the idea of what constitutes bad taste is subverted through Clemens' referential styling of himself and Sanders. Together Clemens' and Sanders' looks modernized classic and Victorian dress styles of Black revolutionaries like Duke Ellington, a pioneering jazz artist during the Harlem Renaissance, and Touissant L'Ouverture, who fought to establish the world's first Black nation, Haiti.

The looks incorporate formal dress, from Clemens' two-button blazer and Sanders' tail-coat, to casual style, including asymmetrical shapes and the varsity "Telfar 2020" lettering on one side of Clemens' athletic trousers. It's all complete with Telfar accessories, like their original mini bag (for which Clemens is nominated for a CFDA award this summer), gold jewelry, and processed hairstyles from the respective eras being channeled.

See behind the scenes shots of their pre-Met Gala preparation at The Standard, below.

Photography: Jason Nocito
Additional Fashion: Mauri Shoes from Cellini, Kota Okuda, Falke Tights, David Yurman
Ashton Sanders' Hair: Shingo Shibata
Telfar Clemens' Hair: Latisha Chong
Makeup: Susie Sobol

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