Met Gala 2019: Camp Style Icons Over The Years

With the 2019 Met Gala's theme, Camp: Notes On Fashion, we look at our favourite fashion icons embodying the spirit of camp


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FRAN FINE

Her outfits are almost as unforgettable as her voice, with no lapel too big or print too bold for The Nanny. Ms. Fine’s style still has a huge fan base today, with 279 thousand people following @WhatFranWore, an Instagram account dedicated to documenting every one of the her fabulous looks, most of which were by designer labels like Moschino, Escada and Christian Lacroix. Not to mention skirt suits. A nanny with an endless designer wardrobe? Fab.

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JOAN COLLINS

Was there ever a time when Joan Collin’s was not wearing a full face of make-up and dressed to the nines from head to toe? Her role as the scheming Alexis Carrington in the 80s soap opera Dynasty solidified her place as a camp style icon – with a love of old school glamour, leopard print and red talons, she matches her camp style with a wicked sense of humour to match.

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ELTON JOHN

This month sees the release of a new biopic entitled Rocketman centered around the early days of one of music’s most flamboyant icons Elton John, played by Welsh actor Taron Egerton. Paving the way for Avant Garde singers today such as Lady Gaga (who is a Godmother to Elton’s two sons Elijah and Zachary), Elton’s style epitomizes the camp aesthetic – over the top and uniquely Elton with his array of vibrant suits and head-turning eyewear.

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DUA LIPA

Dua Lipa loves fun fashion, and isn’t afraid to go over-the-top with layers of tulle, frou frou feathers and oversized bows, and her style brings eighties realness to the modern day. Whether wearing a Versace full-body catsuit, a striking replica of that naked dress worn by a young Cher, or off-duty glam with a noughties silver top with trackpants, she always puts her own irreverent, over-the-top spin on getting dressed.

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DIANA ROSS

The former lead vocalist for 60s Motown girl group the Supremes came into her own camp aesthetic during the late 70s and early 80s when she went solo. Replacing chic 60s wigs and shift dresses, Diana’s windswept afro, embellished gowns and over the top fur coats enhanced her image as a legitimate soul diva. Today that same style sensibility has been passed on to one of our favourite camp style icons, daughter Tracee Ellis-Ross.

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HARRY STYLES

Leaving One Direction has done wonders for the singer, whose retro inspired style has been compared to Mick Jagger and Elton John; we love Harry’s flamboyant and fearless approach to style, carrying it off with a boyish charm that fans and the fashion world have found endearing. This full Gucci outfit sees Harry at his most free.

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DONATELLA VERSACE

Who better to represent the Italian’s love of excess and luxury than Donatella? When her late brother Gianni convinced her to dye her hair platinum blonde, little did she realize how much of a style icon she would become today, complete with her signature smoky eyeshadow and year-round tan.

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RUPAUL

The world’s most famous drag artist and female impersonator has made a business out of being RuPaul, thanks largely to his show RuPaul’s Drag Race now in its 11th season. This is a show that has quickly garnered mainstream attention for its clever mix of camp, catch phrases (“and don’t f***k it up!”) and pop cultural references that play on Ru’s wit, charm and campy fashion taste. Designer Zaldy is responsible for the majority of Ru’s outfits that range from whimsical fair gowns to figure hugging cat suits. This look from a 2000 performance at the VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross is quintessential Ru.

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JOAN CRAWFORD

Big shoulders, strong brows and a classy elocution – it could only be Joan. Famously declaring "I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door”, Joan’s over the top approach to glamour consisted of a rigorous beauty routine too - she would splash her face with ice water 25 times every time she washed it. But it’s her over the top approach to maintaining a façade of high octane glamour that makes her the Queen of camp.

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MILEY CYRUS

Miley’s style has seen several evolutions since her Hannah Montana days, but one thread she’s always carried through is a playful sensibility and characterful approach to what she wears. Sequin and pink ball gowns; rainbow shorts and gogo boots; and a recent favourite look, her eye-catching silver leotard with balloon sleeves in the Nothing Breaks Like A Heart video are all looks that have solidified Miley’s place as a camp style icon.

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DAVID BOWIE

Several eras come to mind when it comes to Bowie’s brilliant wardrobe of looks and styles to match his mood in music throughout his career, but his earlier Ziggy Stardust years were the most camp. Mixing glam rock with his own unique style sensibility, David’s legacy in fashion continues to inspire designers and musicians the world over.

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CHER

The singer’s lifelong collaboration with fashion designer Bob Mackie has helped to pave the way for much of the camp fashion we see today. Feathers? Check. Sequins? Check, check. We love how she has continued to dress this way, even as she’s gotten older.

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PRINCE

Not what you'd call a shrinking violet, Prince made statements with fashion from his earliest days as a star. Indeed, his unforgettable style was part of what made him so famous; cinched-in trousers, lurex, heels, flares and eye-catching suits were all part of his repoirtroire, his magnetism and adventurous spirit making him one of the biggest camp icons of our time.

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