It's that time of year again. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala is on Monday, May 6, and the theme is an ambitious, abstract one: camp. While the museum's exhibition is loosely based on the definitive 1964 work by Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp," the dress code for the red carpet could still prove to be an elusive idea for attendees.
A lot has changed since the '60s, and with campy sensibilities dominating pop culture by way of the drag phenomenon and its penchant for exaggeration and artifice, the possibilities are endless for Met-goers. Even though it's impossible for anyone to clearly define camp as one particular thing, the next few days are sure to unveil many examples of what it is (and isn't).
Keeping in line with the spirit of camp, luxury vintage seller What Goes Around Comes Around has created the ultimate cheat sheet through a curated capsule collection for those struggling to define this year's Met theme. Co-founders Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione were so inspired by this year's dress code, they immediately went to work digging through their archives.
"There's so much history associated with camp, and we felt we could really tell that story through the lens of our incredible pieces," Weisser told PAPER. Equally excited, Maione "took a holistic look at the vision [they] wanted to achieve with this collection," and enlisted another dynamic duo for the project.
Hence the rightful appointment of influencers Zizi Donohoe and Nadia Lee Cohen to create and star in the capsule's campaign imagery. The London-bred, Los Angeles-based 21st-century camp queens know a thing or two about the nuances of the theme and, together, created some fabulous images true to their respective styles.
"It's great to have so much creative freedom on this project," Lee told PAPER. "As we work together so often, the process is natural. We have the same interests, but different aesthetics; they merge together really well."
"Wearing an entire year's tuition in the form of Chanel accessories is definitely well within my comfort zone."
No strangers to living quotidian life in couture, the ladies took a natural approach to working the clothes into everyday scenarios. "The ostrich feathers and Dior ruffles felt very at home in my wardrobe, so reinterpretation wasn't even a consideration," Donohoe said. "Wearing an entire year's tuition in the form of Chanel accessories is definitely well within my comfort zone."
Lee added that she naturally feels "very in tune with anything camp. I have always been drawn to cinema that expresses this, I am a big fan of John Waters films and all of his collaborations with Divine."
As experts in this kind of expression, the ladies put together a stunning campaign that sees them milling about the sidewalk in heavily accessorized one-piece swimsuits, piling loaves of bread in black feathers and making calls at the payphone in Chanel.
Get into the beautiful campaign images and experience what Donohoe calls, "the fun and the irony smothered with fabulosity." The camp-inspired capsule will be launching online and in-store on May 4th. For more information, visit whatgoesaroundnyc.com.
Photos courtesy of What Goes Around Comes Around