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Met Gala 2019: The stories behind eight of the best outfits

By Steven McIntosh
Entertainment reporter

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image captionLeft to right: Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner and Nicki Minaj

For celebrities, the annual Met Gala is a chance to show the world how famous, fashionable and flamboyant you are.

For the rest of us, it's a chance to watch extremely attractive people wearing their own weight in diamonds and feathers.

The Met Gala is held every May in New York to celebrate the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest exhibition, with guests asked to dress to match the theme.

This year's exhibition is Camp: Notes on Fashion, and guests were encouraged to be as theatrical and colourful as possible.

"The hallmark of camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers," US philosopher Susan Sontag wrote in her 1964 essay Notes On Camp.

"Camp is esoteric - something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques."

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image captionL-R: Hailee Steinfeld, Kiki Layne and Dua Lipa

Speaking ahead of the Gala on Monday, the exhibition's head curator Andrew Bolton said: "In the end, the purpose of camp is to put a smile on our faces and a warm glow in our hearts.

"We're experiencing a resurgence of camp - not just in fashion, but in culture in general."

We could write an entire article about the many different outfits Lady Gaga wore, but we'd be here all day and she's been well covered, so let's take a look at some of the others.

1. Katy Perry turned up ready for a power cut

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Staff at the John Lewis lighting department are in for a hell of a Christmas bonus after Katy Perry's visit over the weekend.

The singer turned up wearing not just one but two chandeliers, one on her head and one around her waist.

The outfit was made in collaboration with Moschino's Jeremy Scott, who has dressed Perry for the Met Gala several times before.

Speaking to Vogue, he said: "The look is extremely complicated, perhaps my most complicated creation to date.

"There is a built-in corset consisting of 18 steel bones and two hidden battery packs to illuminate the lights. I mean, who wants to wear a chandelier that doesn't light up?"

Can't argue with that.

What most people were wondering was how on earth Perry would manage to sit down for dinner.

But she had that covered too, with a costume change that saw her morph into a giant burger.

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2. Celine Dion reminded people of spaghetti

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Apart from anything else, it's worth noting how lucky it was that Celine didn't turn up carrying a tent.

"At first I was a little bit confused when I heard camp. I wasn't sure what it meant," she explained to E! on the pink carpet.

"I thought it meant camping, like we're going camping, and everyone's going to stay and sleep all night together."

But once she had established she didn't need to bring a sleeping bag, Celine enlisted fashion house Oscar de la Renta for a dress that took 3,000 hours to create.

The result was a champagne-coloured bodysuit, embellished with silvery sequins and a hat made of gold-tinted singed peacock feathers.

The part that caught the most attention, however, was her sleeves, draped in thousands of strands of floor-length fringe, made from micro-cut glass bugle beads.

Unfortunately it didn't have quite the desired effect with everyone, as many fans compared it to a pasta drying rack.

3. Walking was too much effort for some guests

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Billy Porter stars in a show called Pose, so it was only right that he should style himself as the high priest of camp.

Here he is being carried in by six strapping young chaps, having luckily just missed catching his 24-carat gold headpiece on the emergency exit sign.

"Camp is often used as a pejorative," Porter said ahead of the Gala.

"What I love about having it at the Met Gala, and contextualising camp, is it brings honour to a word and genre that can be discounted very often, or thought of as cheesy."

Porter's Sun God ensemble - a nod to ancient Egypt - included a bejewelled catsuit with 10ft wings, which he later had the opportunity to flap on the pink carpet.

4. Cardi B needed some help

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Isn't it annoying when you get all dressed up for a party and then you realise you need five people to help you carry your outfit?

That's what happened to Cardi B as she enlisted an entire entourage to help her up the stairs - five alone to carry the train.

Cardi wore a floor-length oxblood custom Thom Browne gown, made from tulle and silk organza and filled with down, which featured a mammoth train flowing in concentric circles.

"I designed this dress for Cardi specifically because she has the ultimate beauty in a woman's body, and that is what the dress is about for me: taking advantage of that beauty," Browne told Vogue.

It took 35 people more than 2,000 hours to make (you know she likes it like that).

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5. Jordan Roth had better not turn sideways

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Jordan Roth turned up to the Met Gala looking trim and slender, wearing a dramatic dark red cape.

But that didn't last long.

Once he spread his wings, his cape unfurled to reveal the inside of a theatre.

Not only was it camp, it was a clever nod to Roth's day job as a Broadway producer.

Roth is the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which has been home to award-winning shows including The Book of Mormon, Springsteen On Broadway and the campest show of them all, Kinky Boots.

Writing on Twitter, Roth described the outfit as "a wearable sculpture that expresses so much of what I feel about theatre, about fashion and about myself".

All very well and good as long as anyone within a half-mile radius on the pink carpet didn't mind ducking to swerve a head injury.

6. Cara Delevingne is getting her five a day

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Model Cara Delevingne's rainbow theme was a nod to the LGBT flag, and the Pride-inspired stripes were completed with similarly multi-coloured platform heels and a Swarovski crystal cane.

The ensemble features in Dior's haute couture spring/summer 2019 collection. Perhaps the most eye-catching part of her outfit, however, was her hat.

The headpiece, made by Machine Dazzle, featured fried eggs, eyeballs, false teeth and bunches of bananas.

What was the inspiration behind her outfit?

"Pain," Cara jokingly replied on the pink carpet.

"No, it's camp all the way. I would define camp as expression of your most outrageous."

7. Harry brought the Styles (sorry)

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Harry Styles collaborated on his outfit with his long-time stylist Harry Lambert and Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele.

"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," Lambert told Vogue.

"After such a colourful tour wardrobe, it is nice to do something a little unexpected.

"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.

"The look, I feel, is elegant. It's camp, but still Harry."

8. Kanye missed the dress code memo

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As usual, Kanye West looked absolutely elated to be posing for photographs.

Wife Kim Kardashian dressed to impress, with a skin-coloured Maison Mugler design that guaranteed she was the centre of attention.

Her "wet look" came complete with beads giving the impression of raindrops washing over her nude body.

Kanye, meanwhile, opted for a simple black jacket that costs less than £40.

So at least there's been one outfit in this article we might just be able to afford.

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