An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has as its seed an old magazine piece that looked at what it meant to be camp
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“The hallmark of camp is the spirit of extravagance,” the American writer and political activist Susan Sontag wrote in her first major essay “Notes on Camp” in 1964. “Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.”
Fashion aficionados who have queued up for a long time outside the gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are guaranteed a close-up view of “three million feathers” in the form of a pink Cristobal Balenciaga gown from the Spanish fashion designer’s autumn/winter 1965-66 collection.
With pink ostrich features sprouting all over the floor-reaching pink tulle dress and contrasting in terms of volume with a waist-cinching satin sash, the saccharine concoction provided a perfect footnote – this is perhaps not the intention of the designer – to Sontag’s essay merely one year after its publication.