On the catwalk Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, Virgil Abloh, Moschino and Alexander McQueen, without forgetting Filippo, the brother of Sun King


“Camp” was used to designate a subculture and a private language of the gay community, “explains Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, until it became” mainstream “thanks to Susan Sontag’s revolutionary essay of 1964 Notes on Camp. The aesthetic analysis of the American sociologist, who cites components such as artifice, theatricality, pastiche and humor, is the basis of the exhibition “Camp: Notes on Fashion” underway at the Costume Institute until 8 September, curated from Bolton with Karen Van Godtsenhove.

If it will be a success like last year’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashions and the Catholic Imagination”, first in the “Il Giornale dell’Arte” ranking of the most visited exhibitions of 2018, with 1,659,647 admissions, the exhibition will be revealed fundamental for the “camp”. “Notes on Fashion” aligns about 250 objects from the seventeenth century onwards and links the roots of the word “camp” to the French “se camper” (posing proudly) and to the performative and theatrical lifestyle of the court of Louis XIV, whose young brother Filippo, represented in the exhibition by a portrait, dressed in women’s clothes.

It moves through the figure of the dandy and the role of the “camp” in the European and American homosexual subcultures between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, to arrive at the heavyweights of 20th century fashion such as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Paul Poiret, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli and their resort to the “camp” in bright and bold clothes. “In the eighties and even today, the” camp “style has undergone a revival, as happens in times of political and social instability,” explains Bolton.

On display are recent designers such as Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Virgil Abloh for Off-White c / o Virgil Abloh and Bertrand Guyon for House of Schiaparelli, whose pink flamingo ensemble recalls John Waters, pioneer of the film “camp ».