Kerry Washington: Met Gala Most Boring (Duana) 

Duana Posted by Duana at May 7, 2019 15:49:43 May 7, 2019 15:49:43

I loooove Kerry Washington and I frequently love what she wears. Especially in her Scandal period her work wardrobe was so cashmere sleek that she got to play more on carpets – especially those where she was just a presenter or a guest. Relatively low pressure seemed to work well with her creativity, and I really enjoyed seeing what she’d come up with. 

But you know that thing where people say that sometimes constraints are good for creativity? That it’s easier to make something great – anything – if you have a few parameters you need to stay between? This seems like the opposite of that, a cautionary tale about how too much latitude in terms of Camp really muddied everything into a surprising blandness… 

So, in case you squinted at your screen before someone confirmed what was written on her Tory Burch skirt, it says “Negativity is Noise”. But the repeating print phrase – which was also written on her knuckle rings – is too hard to read, but not repeated enough to actually turn into a pattern. It reminds me a little bit of the possibly apocryphal skirt from one of the Baby-Sitters Club books that ‘had cool city names like London and Paris scrawled all over it’. I think it should either have been a lot less or a LOT more, and it wound up being kind of meh… 

This is doubled down because of… a white tank top. Like it’s a cute enough look, on its own, but how exactly does it lend itself to camp? And how does it mesh with what is potentially a killer black headpiece, but in context seems leftover from another outfit? Did they have some style inspiration they were going for that we didn’t clock? Is it an homage to something we don’t know? 

I think the biggest reason this outfit didn’t work for me, though, and the reason I was specific about it being boring, is because it felt lecture-y. First of all you’re making me work too hard to read the message. Kerry kept flashing her knuckle rings to the cameras, but nobody zoomed in or held on close enough – the mani cam this is not. I was always taught that having words on clothing onscreen makes people strain to read them, and my first year TV producers were proven right here – where Hailee Steinfeld had block letters front and center so the message was super clear, this one felt garbled. 

But the other reason this outfit was a bit …tiresome …is, well ‘negativity is noise’ seems a lot like an Instagram caption or a therapy platitude, and while I can see the roots of the message, it feels really preachy and lecture-y, which couldn’t be more different from the whole philosophical ethos of Camp.  If the point of the evening was to revel and delight in excess and riotous colours and MORE, I don’t want to be reproachfully reminded that I could be doing a better job at self-care, or societal care, or something. It went from being a potentially exciting outfit opportunity to a fabric-based college entrance essay, and I just think the charming Kerry Washington deserves more fun than that. 
 

Photos:
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/ Karwai Tang/ Theo Wargo/ Jamie McCarthy/ Dia Dipasupil/ John Shearer/ Getty Images

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