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What is 'Camp'? See celebrities define style at the Met Gala

Getting campy at the Met Gala is nothing new but this year it was practically required, and the stars complied at Monday night’s A-List event, celebrating the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Costume Institute exhibit, “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”

We’re not talking camp as in camping—not even glamping—but the kind of outrageous, so-bad-it’s-good style worn by attention-getters, from Liberace to Lady Gaga, who was a gala co-chair and arrived in a massive hot-pink Brandon Maxwell parachute gown—which unzipped to reveal a black gown, then a slinky pink one, then a sequin bikini underneath.

“Gaga slayed me,” Laverne Cox told E! TV. The “Orange Is the New Black” star, in her Gala debut, wore a black beaded Christian Siriano gown with massive shoulder that seemed almost tame compared to Broadway’s Billy Porter (who arrived like a spray-painted Cleopatra, carried on a chaise) or Katy Perry in a Moschino, er, chandelier. That’s literally lit.

Not everyone went cray-cray—Rachel Brosnahan, aka “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” looked gothic (in Erdem), Serena Williams kept it sporty (Nikes underneath her Versace), and Yara Shahidi rocked a 1950s-bathing-beauty look with crystal-y leggings.

“The Catholic school girl in me—always wearing tights,” she said.

Dudes were daring, too—deep-diving into blue eyeshadow (Darren Criss), or reincarnating Gatsby (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The exhibit, which runs through September 8, with scores of designer gear, is inspired by the famed author Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp.’” Sontag was prescient about camp’s appeal, but could she have predicted Jared Leto, who entered carrying a replica of his own head?

Jimmy Fallon, in a regular tux, seemed grim by comparison.

“I can’t get too camp—I’m a comedian,” he said. “I’m supposed to be making fun of all this.”

Katy Perry

Katy Perry attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Charles Sykes

Katy Perry went for Baroque in a Moschino chandelier gown at the Met Gala.

Zendaya

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Law
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya, wearing a light-up Tommy Hilfiger gown, attend the Met Gala.

Jared Leto

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Jared Leto wore Gucci on the Met Gala's pink carpet. 

Janelle Monáe

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Janelle Monáe, wearing a gown by Christian Siriano, attends the Met Gala.

Billy Porter

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Tony winner and "Pose" star Billy Porter attends the Met Gala on Monday in an ensemble by The Blonds.

Billy Porter

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Billy
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Tony winner and "Pose" star Billy Porter attends the Met Gala on Monday in an ensemble by The Blonds.

Cardi B

Rapper Cardi B attends The 2019 Met Gala
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Rapper Cardi B wears a gown by Thom Browne at the Met Gala.

Hailee Steinfeld

Actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld attends The 2019
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld attends the Met Gala wearing a Victor & Rolf gown.

Kris Jenner

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Kris Jenner, in Tommy Hilfiger and a blond wig, attends the Met Gala.

Miley Cyrus

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Miley Cyrus in Yves Saint Laurent at the Met Gala.

Darren Criss

Actor Darren Criss arrives for the 2019 Met
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/ANGELA WEISS

Emmy winner Darren Criss rocks the pink carpet of the Met Gala on Monday.

Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner

Sisters Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner attend The
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner, both in Versace, attend the Met Gala.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, both in Dior, attend the Met Gala.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Newlyweds Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner both wore Louis Vuitton to the Met Gala.

Ezra Miller

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Ezra Miller attends the Met Gala.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez attend The 2019
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Jennifer Lopez, in a silver fringe beaded Versace dress and matching head piece, and Alex Rodriguez at the Met Gala.

Celine Dion

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Celine Dion wore an Oscar de la Renta gown to the Met Gala.

Cara Delevingne

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Model/actress Cara Delevingne attends the Met Gala.

Sophie Von Haselberg and Bette Midler

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Sophie Von Haselberg and Bette Midler attend the Met Gala.

Serena Williams

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Co-chair of the Met Gala Serena Williams in Atelier Versace on the pink carpet.

Nicki Minaj

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum//Dimitrios Kambouris

Nicki Minaj in custom Prabal Gurung at the Met Gala.

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Charles Sykes

Kacey Musgraves attends the Met Gala giving off Barbie vibes in custom Moschino.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, wearing a beaded latex Thierry Mugler dress, attend the Met Gala.

RuPaul

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

RuPaul attends the Met Gala.

Lady Gaga

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Met Gala co-chair Lady Gaga shows off her first look by Brandon Maxwell on the pink carpet.

Lady Gaga

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Lady Gaga in her second of four Brandon Maxwell looks at the Met Gala.

Lady Gaga

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Lady
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Met Gala co-chair Lady Gaga shows off her third look by Brandon Maxwell on Monday. 

Lady Gaga

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Lady
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Lady Gaga in her final Brandon Maxwell look on the Met Gala carpet.

Dua Lipa

Singer/songwriter Dua Lipa attends The 2019 Met Gala
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Singer/songwriter Dua Lipa attends the Met Gala.

Caroline Trentini

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Model Caroline Trentini attends the Met Gala wearing Thom Browne.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Gucci's Alessandro Michele and Harry Styles walk the pink carpet of the 2019 Met Gala. 

Laverne Cox

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

"Orange Is the New Black" star Laverne Cox, wearing a gown by Christian Siriano, attends the Met Gala.

Harry Styles

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Met Gala co-chair Harry Styles walks the pink carpet in Gucci on Monday. 

Anna Wintour

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour wore a crystal-embellished Chanel gown to the Met Gala.

Liza Koshy

Actress Liza Koshy attends The 2019 Met Gala
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

YouTuber Liza Koshy attends the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Solange Knowles

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Singer Solange Knowles attends the Met Gala.

Ciara

Ciara attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp:
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Ciara attends the Met Gala wearing a gown by Peter Dundas.

Chloe Grace Moretz

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz attends the Met Gala.

Dakota Johnson

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Actress Dakota Johnson attends the Met Gala.

Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen wore matching looks to attend the Met Gala.

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union

Basketball star Dwayne Wade and actress Gabrielle Union
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Basketball star Dwayne Wade and actress Gabrielle Union, both in Dundas, attend the Met Gala.

Salma Hayek

Actress Salma Hayek attends The 2019 Met Gala
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Salma Hayek attends the Met Gala.

Abbey Lee Kershaw

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Model and "Mad Max: Fury Road" star Abbey Lee Kershaw walks the pink carpet of the Met Gala on Monday.

Jordan Roth

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Jordan Roth, head of Jujamcyn Theaters, takes a spin at the Met Gala on Monday. 

Saoirse Ronan

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

Actress Saoirse Ronan sparkles in Gucci on the pink carpet at the Met Gala.

Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

"Girls" co-stars Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham flank designer Christopher Kane at the Met Gala.

Thalia

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Thalia
Photo Credit: Getty Images for The Met Museum/Dimitrios Kambouris

Singer and designer Thalia attends the Met Gala.

Natasha Lyonne

US actress Natasha Lyonne arrives for The 2019
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/ANGELA WEISS

"Russian Doll" actress Natasha Lyonne arrives on the pink carpet at the Met Gala.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

The "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens May 9.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

Ariel Adkin attends the press preview for "Camp: Notes on Fashion" event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

Anna Wintour attends the press preview for the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibit on Monday. 

General Artmosphere during the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

The "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibit, kicked off by the Met Gala, runs until Sept. 8.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: General
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

Some of the outfits shown highlighted in the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday. 

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