Met Gala 2019: Saoirse Ronan and Sinéad Burke stand out on pink carpet

The theme for this year’s event was ‘camp’ – and the Irish camp didn’t let us down

The theme was camp, and the Irish camp at the Met Gala, which included the actors Saoirse Ronan and Ruth Negga and the writer Sinéad Burke, stood out on the pink carpet in New York on Monday night.

Ronan and Burke wore Gucci: Ronan a stunning armour-inspired red sequinned gown featuring golden-flame shoulders; Burke a black dress with blue-ribbon detail. Negga wore Louis Vuitton: an embellished white top with tailored black trousers.

Burke was the first little person to attend the Met Gala. Writing in British Vogue, Burke said it was surreal, inspiring and humbling to be on the gala's red carpet, adding: "I am so grateful to Gucci, Vogue and Anna Wintour for their empathy and openness in thinking broadly about my accessibility needs."

If the endless procession of tasteful gowns at awards season left you bored to tears, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual stylefest saw A-listers including Lady Gaga and Kendall Jenner deliver frivolous, fantastical and fabulous glamour.


The star-studded extravaganza, held to raise funds for the Met’s Costume Institute, has always encouraged risk-tasking and outre ensembles. Past themes have included Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology; and China: Through the Looking Glass. This year guests were asked to show off their best interpretations of Camp: Notes on Fashion.

If last year’s Catholic-themed gala was the most controversial, this year’s concept, a play on the Susan Sontag essay Notes on Camp, was the most confused. Sontag provided 58 definitions of camp, writing: “It’s the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.”

In simple terms, the camp theme can be summed up as extravagant or ironic but definitely fashion – the apotheosis of the Met Gala. Up-dos, orange limbs and debs-style dresses are no-nos, but exaggerated shoulders, oversized bows, and glamorous feathers were in. Joan Collins, Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley were among the A-listers turning the pink carpet into a feather- and flounce-filled fantasia. In their wealth of marabou plumes, dazzling sequins and candy-coloured wigs, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, in Versace, also made the case for showgirl style.

Lady Gaga used the red carpet for a piece of performance art. She kicked off the pink-carpet parade by turning herself into a real-life Russian doll, shedding her layers in four costume changes. That also started the evening’s trend of trains that needed several wranglers, cumulating in Cardi B’s crimson creation.

Janelle Monáe turned to Picasso and Dalí for inspiration for her Christian Siriano confection, a balloon-hipped dress with a motorised blinking eye. Katy Perry went a little more literal, coming as a light fixture complete with 18kg headpiece.

The actor turned designer Zendaya put on a performance of her own with some high-tech princess action: a flash of a wand turned her Tommy Hilfger dress from basic black to shining blue.

For the less imaginative guests the general idea was slinky, slashed and sultry, with the near-naked dress reigning supreme on Kim Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski and Jennifer Lopez.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jared Leto won the award for most-out-there arm candy of the evening, arriving with his own head tucked under his arm.