Northwestern students stay in to watch ‘Fashion’s Night Out’

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Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Anna Wintour. The longtime Vogue editor-in-chief hosts the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s annual Met Gala.

Gabby Birenbaum, Campus Editor

While Evanston may feel far from the star-studded steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, fashionable students still keep an eye on the Met Gala’s pink carpet with bated breath to see what looks designers and celebrities come up with each year.

The Met Gala, an annual fundraising benefit for the Costume Institute of New York City’s iconic art museum, is always held on the first Monday in May. Put on by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, the event is “the pinnacle of fashion and celebrity,” said Weinberg junior Solis Doyle.

For the fashion-forward members of the Northwestern community who appreciate artistry and design, Doyle said the Met Gala is the event of the year.

“It’s more for people who like fashion versus clothes,” Doyle said. “There’s a distinction there — anyone can like clothes. It’s an accessible thing. Fashion’s a little more artistic and the Met Gala’s the artistic side of fashion, and not fast fashion at all. The designers put a lot of time and effort into creating these dresses, these outfits… So, it’s more for people who appreciate the artistry of fashion, and that’s pretty cool.”

This year’s theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” Inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp,’” celebrities were encouraged to wear designs that are over-the-top.

Both Doyle and Medill junior Samuel Maude said they were excited to see what Lady Gaga, a notoriously campy dresser who is serving as a co-chair of the event this year, wore to the event.

Wintour echoed the Northwestern students’ expectations.

“What we’re all most hoping to see is something that is outrageous, something that is fun, tongue-in-cheek,” she said in a video for Vogue.

Maude said he was not looking forward to this year’s theme because he feels there has not been sufficient acknowledgment on Vogue’s part of “gay culture and ball culture,” which he considers the origins of camp.

In particular, Maude said he has been frustrated by the attention given to singer Harry Styles, who often wears gender-fluid clothing designed by Alessandro Michele, the artistic director of Gucci. Styles is a face of the Italian fashion house.

“You’re kind of asking a bunch of straight, cis people to come to this Gala, and while there are queer people there, the majority of our media is cis and straight, coming to this theme which is so rooted in queer culture,” Maude said. “I saw an article from Vogue a few days ago that was like Harry Styles is the king of camp. I was like, come on. It just is very annoying to me.”

Maude takes particular interest in the Met Gala because he interned for KCD last summer, a fashion services agency involved in putting on the annual event.

Though the jeans and winter coats seen on campus may seemingly draw no inspiration from the haute couture and intricate pieces worn at the Met Gala, Maude said high fashion always trickles down. He pointed to a famous scene in “The Devil Wears Prada” where Anne Hathaway’s Andy Sachs, a fictional former editor in chief of The Daily, learned from Meryl Streep’s Wintour stand-in Miranda Priestly that the color of her carelessly-chosen sweater was influenced by a cerulean trend among that year’s top runway designers.

Maude also said the Met Gala reminds him that every outfit he sees on campus is an instance of artistic expression.

“The Met Gala…looks at fashion as more of an art,” Maude said. “We often forget that the clothes people wear are performative and are an art form in many ways. Regardless of if you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans, you’re still performing that outfit.”

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