Camp, at least this week, has invaded the sartorial psyche. With the opening of the Costume Institute’s Camp: Notes on Fashion, designers laced up their platform boots last night to transform celebrities into Barbie dolls, Disney princesses, Picasso paintings, and, in the case of Thom Browne’s design for Abbey Lee, a shimmery sea creature. “I think my work is sometimes camp because I do appreciate the idea of taking things to an extreme and having fun,” said Browne, whose partner Andrew Bolton curated the exhibit. The mermaid dress he designed for Lee — who walked the pink carpet with a tulle tail and crystals circling her eye — was a testament to the resonance of the theme: that the campiest things are often the most true to heart. It turns out that the creatures are near and dear to the Australian model-turned-actress, a lifelong mermaid enthusiast. “It was quite surreal to get an opportunity to wear something like that because I’m so in love with most all mythical creatures,” she said. Lee even brought her mermaid Barbie, which she has had since she was 4, to the fitting for inspiration before the Met Gala. (“As you can see, she’s no longer got any clothing.”) In addition to spending her childhood watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid on VHS, Lee says her dad used to put a kid’s tent over her bed with Ariel on it, “so I felt like I was sleeping underwater.”
Below, Lee shared some selfies with us from fashion’s biggest night.