14 / JUNE / 2019


 In 2019 AWAKE is camp and camp is awake. 

What is camp? 

Certainly not sleeping outside in nature, in a tent. Camp, the movement that is now in our mainstream culture, is an ongoing conversation about aesthetics, based on a playful approach of paradoxes and cultural juxtapositions. It is all about the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,” and “the love of the exaggerated, the ‘off,’ of things-being-what-they-are-not, a way of looking at the world that helps “dethrone the serious”. But, at the same time, camp is part of serious things such as opera, ballet, and Gothic literature. This is the beauty of camp, that it’s a celebration of “the metaphor of life as theatre” and it is in the eye of the beholder. 

It has its origins in the flamboyant epoch of Louis XIV, when the over-lavishness of the court sparked outrage. Nevertheless, it has remained a period of exhibitionist creativity and visual freedom. The name comes from the French verb “se camper” which translates into “strike an exaggerated pose.” Camp evolved more and cemented itself in Victorian London, where it grew around the drag queen culture. With a substantial history and strong imprint on fashion, arts, film, and music, the movement has now been embraced forcefully and without constraints in popular culture, it is the theme of this year’s Met Gala. Rai Kawakubo celebrated it in a show for Comme de Garcons. Alessandro Michele has reinvented Gucci by ingraining the brand with camp culture. TV has also embraced the trend in a variety of acclaimed series based on it, from the beloved Rupaul’s Drag Race, Ryan Murphy’s Pose to Netflix’s Queer Eye. 

Camp is everywhere and has surrounded us for a long time. Now is shinier than ever. The woman to which we have to thank for defining and explaining the concept is the cultural critic Susan Sontag and her fundamental essay ‘Notes on Camp’. Here, the essence of the movement is summed up as “a mode of enjoyment, of appreciation—not judgment.”. Camp is an attitude that liberates us, that lets us express freely and“ supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated.” 

Camp is the current mood of our time, which transcends the notion of trends and has become much more, it is the zeitgeist of the moment. It’s the expression of the free-spirited, the ones that break all the conventions, the wanderers, the adventurers, the dreamers challenging the status quo, it’s the culture of the New Bohemians. Camp translates in a blast of power, of lavishness, of unapologetic creativity, a BOHEMIAN BLAST. The movement is a wink at exuberance and a bow to the ludic spirit, the perfect mix for the most anticipated boutique festival. 

Photo credits: WGSN, Tumblr, Pinterest.