Campness is about gender fluidity, and these are the men who brought it at the Met Gala

7th May 19 | Beauty

If you want a lesson in camp dressing, look no further than Billy Porter.

2019 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala

Men tend to be the least interesting things to look at during a red carpet event, and are most often seen wearing plain suits or tuxedos. However, the Met Gala is no ordinary celeb-studded red carpet. Instead, it’s an opportunity for both men and women to get creative with what they wear.

This year’s theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Campness is about gender fluidity and not adhering to strict fashion binaries, so few male attendants wore a boring tuxedo.

Here are some of the most interestingly dressed men to walk the pink carpet in New York…

Billy Porter

The MET Gala 2019 – New York
(Jennifer Graylock/PA)

Billy Porter often blurs the line between masculine and feminine dressing – just think of the iconic tuxedo with a full skirt he wore to this year’s Oscars. So, this year’s Met Gala was made for Porter.

Wearing an outfit designed by The Blonds, the actor definitely didn’t go for the shy and retiring option. Instead, he wore a bejewelled gold catsuit, 10-foot wings, a delicate headpiece (rumoured to be 24-karat gold) and matching boots from Giuseppe Zanotti.

And Porter was definitely enjoying his golden moment – he wrote on Instagram: “I am living my wildest high fashion dreams.”

2019 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala
(Evan Agostini/AP)

Campness is very performative, so to live up to this, Porter arrived in a golden litter carried by six shirtless men. There was a distinctly ancient Egyptian vibe to the whole look, and Porter writes on Instagram: “The Category Is: Old Testament Realness.”

Dapper Dan

2019 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala
(Charles Sykes/AP)

Dapper Dan reached prominence in the Eighties for dressing hip-hop royalty out of his Harlem boutique. Now, he collaborates with Gucci – and as Gucci sponsored the event, of course Dan was going to make an appearance.

Hip-hop-inspired fashion might not sit snugly alongside campness, but it fits the bill in being highly self-referential, tongue-in-cheek and often not taking itself too seriously. Dan himself wore quite a classic suit with a red tuxedo jacket, given a flamboyant spin with floral detailing and a Victorian pussy bow at the neck.

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CAMP. Live life outside the box. From Harlem to the Met!

A post shared by Dapper Dan (@dapperdanharlem) on

Not only did Dapper Dan have to worry about what he was wearing to the event, but he also dressed various celebs like Regina Hall and Ashley Graham for the night.

Jordan Roth

Jordan Roth wore custom couture by Iris van Herpen, which was dramatic enough as it was, but taken to the next level whenever he spread his arms to reveal the interior of a theatre – a nod to Roth’s job as a director.

Roth tweeted: “Susan Sontag in her seminal essay ‘Notes on Camp’ tells us that camp is ‘the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater.’ And that, in all ways, is my life.

“The extraordinary Iris van Herpen dug deep into these ideas with me and emerged with this piece of art, a wearable sculpture that expresses so much of what I feel about theatre, about fashion and about myself.”

Cole Sprouse

The MET Gala 2019 – New York
(Jennifer Graylock/PA)

Ahead of the event, Cole Sprouse told GQ: “The narrative of camp is it’s very rooted in cheesiness and an over-the-top quality.” This was reflected in his suit, which was designed by Salvatore Ferragamo’s creative director Paul Andrew.

Sprouse wore a pink shirt with red suit trousers and a matching armless jacket. So far, it sounds quite normal – but we forgot to mention it’s covered in different coloured raffia flowers. It’s weirdly elegant.

Michael Urie

The MET Gala 2019 – New York
(Jennifer Graylock/PA)

Michael Urie really took the theme literally and dressed half in stereotypically ‘masculine’ clothing and half in ‘feminine’. Wearing a Christian Siriano outfit, one half was a pinstripe black suit and the other was a princessy pink gown.

The gender-fluid outfit was further blurred by the styling – instead of ‘girly’ make-up with the pink gown, he wore it on the side of the masculine suit, along with a pale pink heel, and on the other side wore a Doc Martens boot to go with the dress.

Dev Hynes

2019 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala
(Charles Sykes/AP)

Wearing Gucci, musician Dev Hynes brought some irreverence to his outfit by having no item of clothing matching properly. He wore a powder blue jacket with a pink lapel, a yellow turtleneck, green trousers and a floral headscarf. It shouldn’t work, and yet it does.

To add that extra level of kitsch, his initials were embroidered onto the sleeve of his jacket.

Alessandro Michele and Harry Styles

2019 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala
(Charles Sykes/AP)

Both Alessandro Michele and Harry Styles were co-chairs of the Met Gala, so their outfits were expected to be particularly striking.

One thing people didn’t expect was for Styles to wear all black – but this was part of the surprise. The singer’s stylist Harry Lambert told Miss Vogue: “I think everyone was expecting Harry to be in sequins, bright colours and a crown, but we decided on a different type of ‘camp’ that hopefully would surprise… This look is about taking traditionally feminine elements like the frills, heeled boots, sheer fabric and the pearl earring, but then rephrasing them as masculine pieces set against the high-waisted tailored trousers and his tattoos.”

Styles wore all Gucci, and walked the pink carpet with the brand’s creative director Michele. The Italian designer more than made up for Styles’ lack of colour by wearing an all-pink shimmering outfit with bows and matching shoes.

© Press Association 2019