It’s Met Gala Monday–fashion’s biggest night! The star-studded party, which raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, attracts a-list celebs decked out in over-the-top looks.

This year’s exhibit is an homage to the art of “Camp,” but what does the term even mean?  In case you don’t have time to read the 1964 essay that inspired this year’s theme (Notes on Camp by Susan Sontag)–we’ve spared you the 58 bullet point explanation with our own truncated version. Camp is a sensibility or aesthetic that celebrates humor, costume, exaggeration, irony, high glamour and what we’d unwittingly call “being extra.” 

Grace Jones

Birthed in the underground, you can’t talk about camp without celebrating the icons who brought it to the mainstream. Seen in classic films like 1990’s Paris is Burning, it’s an aesthetic that’s better understood visually than verbally. So, get into these rule-breaking icons that embodied the art of excess long before the Met Gala made it a thing.

RUPAUL

JOSEPHINE BAKER

DIANA ROSS

PRINCE

Prince

GRACE JONES

BEYONCE

ANDRE 3000

Andre 3000

BILLY PORTER

PARIS IS BURNING CAST

DONNA SUMMER

LITTLE RICHARD

LIL KIM

RIHANNA

NICKI MINAJ

LABELLE

LaBelle

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