In the past, there have been moments of almost grotesque physical distortion in the name of seduction — Panniers, Bustles…It’s been a while since this kind of deliberately sly exaggeration was embraced.”

— Rick Owens, 2018.

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Example of a pannier gown from c.1755–60.

With the Met Gala now only two days away, I’ve been thinking more and more about what the attendees should wear. With my Met Gala content being made of such stellar stuff that one of my tweets was included in American Vogue’s list of “The Best Met Gala Memes of All Time”, I think I can propose my findings with some confidence:

The reputation of panniers are such that Rick Owens has described them as an “almost grotesque form of physical distortion in the name of seduction”. Owens then went on to muse that “it’s been a while since this kind of deliberately sly exaggeration was embraced.” I quite agree, in fact, I think it’s been far too long. In my opinion, there is no event more suited for a pannier revival than this year’s Met Gala, with its theme of Camp: Notes on Fashion, a title derived from Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp. …

Chloe Esslemont

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