Is it camp to be Joan Collins? We have a winner. Of course it is, and “of course” the theme resonated with her, said Ms. Collins, wafting through the Met’s Petrie sculpture court in white feathers and radzimir by Valentino.
Ms. Collins, especially in her incarnation as Alexis Carrington of “Dynasty,” is a camp legend, invoked by other guests as a North Star — “These are some Alexis Carrington shoulders,” Samantha Barry, the editor of Glamour, said of her outfit — and Ms. Collins accepted such tributes with the grace of a once and future queen.
“I was called camp so many times,” she said. “The camp bitch.”
In the courtyard, the crowd swelled to elbow-knocking fullness, a hum of giddiness and a traffic jam of gown trains. “It’s out of this world,” said Max Hollein, the new director of the Met, celebrating his first gala, “and very different, of course.”
Even in the world of high-stakes fund-raisers, it’s unusual to see Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, kibitzing with Awkwafina, a breakout star of “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” (In a life-imitating-art twist, “Ocean’s 8” was a caper comedy about robbing the Met Gala.) “You’re hard to miss!” Mr. Bezos told her merrily.
Everywhere one looked, unlikely wires were crossing. Over here, Shawn Mendes, the pop star, chatting with James Charles, a YouTube beauty vlogger, attired for the occasion in a shirt of chain-mail safety pins. Over there, Tiffany Haddish, the comedian, was offering around fried chicken out of her purse; the designer Gabriela Hearst eagerly accepted a piece.
“I stay ready, baby,” Ms. Haddish said, black-tie gala or no black-tie gala. “I got your back. That’s from my kitchen, baby.”