Camp: Notes on Fashion
Love wearing a furious look and strutting around like the good ole drama queen (or king) you are?
Ah, the world of fashion and the profound influence everything camp and queer has had throughout the ages – not merely on garments themselves but also in a more general sense when it comes to the aesthetic of the zeitgeist as well as accompanying political implications.
This brightly and beautifully pink tome was created to accompany the Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibition at the MET in NYC and starts with the cradle and origin of what could be described as a movement, i.e. three centuries ago harking back to French playwright Molière’s play The Impostures of Scapin.
The book follows its development from the outliers of society where it existed in secrecy to the artistic mainstream and the development of a veritable culture through resulting osmoses, where it yields its power in a dominant manner. The beauty of the book is that it effortlessly makes a case that no matter what your style is, chances are it has been informed by campness in one way or another – be it through Louis XIV. When he held court, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood or Lady Gaga and ABBA’s outfits.
In a subtle manner, Camp: Notes on Fashion, it explores, analyses and questions the notion of masculinity and how it goes with and at times against haute couture.
Needless to say that what is depicted is wildly curious at times, e.g. Oscar-Wilde-inspired wool ensemble along with some of Gaultier’s emissions down to what Andy Warhol fabricated within the confines of his factory.
It is good to see that there is no fixed definition of “campness” the book oscillates around, and it is treated as one fact of the ornamental, highly stylized and artificial phenomena of the fashion world.
The takeaway is elation, as in the liberating effect this extravagant and by now omnipresent once niche aesthetic has become and the empowering effects it provides in the most unapologetic manner, i.e. the importance to be free and stay clear of judgment.