Camp is where tacky meets extravagance. The theme of the 2019 Met Gala also happens to be a form of drag that famed queens like RuPaul have brought to the mainstream. Honoring the theme and drag culture, RuPaul’s Met Ball suit was sequined, pink, and included ostrich feathers and a zebra head. Honestly, it reigned on the carpet.
This was RuPaul’s first time at the gala, and the iconic drag queen’s debut on the Met steps was truly something to behold. The host and creator of RuPaul’s Drag Race stepped out on the pink carpet for the first time in a custom suit, his stylist Zaldy told People. According to Zaldy, the outfit included 30 inches of ostrich feather that snaked up RuPaul’s sleeve to end in a zebra face on his shoulder.
To go with his already over-the-top ensemble, the drag star wore a giant David Webb necklace and statement rings. Tying in the whole look with a pair of shiny black platform boots and an oversized bowtie, RuPaul was certainly dressed for camp. This might be RuPaul’s first time participating in one of fashion’s most extravagant events of the year, he certainly makes it look like he’s a veteran at this gig.
In an April 2019 interview with Vogue, the famed drag queen offered up a definition of camp while doing a photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz. After the photographer suggested he take off his headpiece, RuPaul objects, saying it would completely change the vibe of the outfit
“Everything here is overdone,” RuPaul said by way of defending his choice to keep shooting with the headpiece. “The only natural thing about any of this is the light.”
RuPaul helped the underground world of drag gain steam in the ‘90s — he was the first drag queen to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — so it was only natural he’d be at this year’s ball to celebrate. As Lena Waithe, another guest at the ball, put it during an interview on the pink carpet: "Black drag queens invented camp."
In 2009, the drag icon aired the first season of his epic competition show on Logo TV, putting drag culture on the main stage on national television. Many fans, naturally, expected the star to show up in full drag on Monday — some even demanded an explanation on Twitter. There’s actually quite a simple answer: As RuPaul told Marketplace in 2018, "I do [drag], if somebody is paying me I’ll do it. If somebody’s ready to throw down some serious cash, I am there." W Magazine pointed out that RuPaul actually hasn’t appeared in drag in public since 2012, at a Mardi Gras show in Australia.
Drag or not, there’s no question that RuPaul slayed the pink carpet this year. Fingers crossed that this first Met Gala absolutely won’t be his last.
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