NEW YORK — Cardi B swept by in a stunning red quilted dress accentuated with a matching sequin headpiece, feathers and a train that took up much of the pink carpet, Jared Leto was accompanied by his own (fake) head and Katy Perry came as a candled chandelier at the crazy, campy Met Gala on Monday night.
Lady Gaga used the pink carpet as a runway and a changing station and Tiffany Haddish brought fried chicken in a plastic bag as many of the A-list guests worked the camp theme to the max. That included Zendaya, whose Cinderella dress went aglow with the wave of a magic wand. She dropped one of her see-through slippers on the way up for the cocktail hour.
Also princess, of the saucy variety: Nicki Minaj in a short pink dress with yards and yards to her train, the last star to wak the carpet.
Perry appeared concerned her heavy looking headpiece would topple as she smiled and walked precariously up the stairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designer Diane Von Furstenberg briefly in her orbit as Lady Liberty. Perry, Bella Hadid dished, “had to be trucked here in a UPS truck.”
Lupita Nyong’o spent four hours getting ready in a multicolored, cool chick witch-like getup, her hair high and packed with golden Afro picks. Leto wore a red caftan with jewel loops, cradling his long-haired macabre version of himself, and Tracee Ellis Ross posed inside a gold picture frame attached to the front of her black dress. She noted it’s detachable for the dinner hour, thank goodness.
Regina King, in a copper sequin gown with a large shoulder embellishment, said she wasn’t ready to go full camp, so she stuck to high lacquered hair.
“So, glamour is camp,” the Oscar-winner said. “Maybe next year the comfort level will have expanded.”
The 71st annual gala hit a campy high point early with Lady Gaga working the pink carpet to its fullest in long golden eyelashes and a huge fuchsia dress, peeling off layer after layer until she was down to a bra, panties and fishnet stockings.
Billy Porter went Egyptian-esque sun god in gold wings and a chain head piece by the design duo the Blonds, carried onto the carpet by shirtless men in gold pants as he lay on top of a black throne.
“Camp is the art of being extra and I’ve always been extra,” he laughed. “I’m from the theater so it’s easy for me.”
Brandon Maxwell, who created Gaga’s reveal, helped her navigate the stairs at the Met as she posed with several helpers. Maxwell undressed her further, revealing a black strapless asymmetrical ballgown underneath with a huge side bustle. Then she undressed again to show off a pink dress reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” walking up and down the carpet.
But she wasn’t done. Moments later, she undressed again to pose in a glittering bra and panties set, with huge platform shoes.
Gaga is a hard act to follow but Serena Williams, one of her co-hosts, did her best in a neon yellow flowing gown adorned with leaves, Nike sneakers on her feet. She was one of several athletes to attend, including Cam Newton, Dwyane Wade with wife Gabrielle Union, and Tom Brady with Gisele Bundchen on his arm. Colin Kapernick also made an appearance.
This year’s gala theme, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” was inspired by a seminal 1964 essay by Susan Sontag in which she describes the phenomenon as something that shan’t be talked about: “To talk about Camp is therefore to betray it.”
The theme is the basis for the Costume Institute’s spring exhibition.
Karlie Kloss showed off her signature long legs in a gold miniskirt and singer Anderson .Paak wore Gucci. Haddish, in a black and silver pantsuit, a glitzy hat on her head, said she vowed not to go snackless this year, hence the fried chicken.
“I bring my own snacks because last year I was starving and I learned my lesson,” she said. Of the theme, she declared: “Camping means no panties!”
Ava DuVernay, who wore a green dress with a huge pink flower on the skirt, wasn’t at all sure about camp before she was filled in.
“I thought it was camping and I was afraid,” she said, choosing a bright green gown with a full skirt and a huge pink rose on the front.
Lena Dunham, meanwhile, wore a pink minidress emblazoned with “rubberist.” Harry Styles arrived in a black jumpsuit with see-through sleeves, one earring, black nails and heeled booties. Kacey Musgraves was a proper pink Barbie with platinum hair and Gigi Hadid looked like a silver cat woman in a swirl-pattern jumpsuit, long coat and helmet-like hat.
Awkwafina breezed through in trophy gold, accompanied by designer Joseph Altuzarra, while others in garish greens, animal prints and metallics soaked up the theme. Some played it safe in more traditional carpet looks, like Hailey Bieber in a lovely, tight pink dress with a daring — but not terribly campy — low back.
Also not particularly camp, and not particularly high-fashion, for that matter: Gwyneth Paltrow in a loose pale colored yellow.
Naomi Campbell wore pink with a long, feathered cape, lace leggings and low barely-there neckline. And Joan Collins, perhaps the queen of camp, posed with her in a white puffy gown reminiscent of Scarlet O’Hara.
Kim Kardashian West was dewy in tight, tight, tight couture Thierry Mugler, husband Kanye West stone-faced silent at her side in a Dickey’s zip jacket. Sister Kylie Jenner went for purple from her loose dyed hair to her big feather-muff sleeves, giving partner Travis Scott a peck on the lips as she walked. He looked storm trooper in black with utility harness accessories.
Janelle Monae, always evocative on the carpet, balanced multiple hats piled high on her head wearing a pink and black gown with a black-and-white eye covering her breast on one side. Fellow singer Dua Lipa went big in a multicolored gown with bulging accents.
Anna Wintour, who masterminds the gala every year, wore a light pink cape with loose ostrich feathers over a matching gown adorned in a flower sequin design. She told waiting reporters this year’s theme is anything goes.
“I hope they have a lot of fun,” she said of her A-list guests. “The more crazy the better.”
The worlds of fashion, film, music and sports converge at the massive gala every year, a fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute.
Celine Dion, who wore a backward tuxedo to the Oscars one year, was in a pale gold dress with fringe embellishment and a queenly feather headpiece.
As for Porter, who was a hit at the Oscars in a tuxedo ballgown, said his gala moment was inspired by back-in-the-day Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and “everything else.” It took him five hours to get ready.