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As the outré fashion on parade at this year’s Met Gala made clear, camp is a cultural term that embodies a design trend laden with humour, chutzpah, and go-for-it glitz. The gala marked the opening to “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” the annual Costume Institute exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The show gets its name from Susan Sontag’s 1965 essay on what she described as a “sensibility.” For Sontag, “the essence of camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.”

Fashion can be campy, but Sontag also expanded her definition to include everything from Swan Lake to Tiffany lamps. In the world of interior design, nothing beat Art Nouveau, in Sontag’s view, for its campy theatricality (think Hector Guimard’s orchid-shaped Paris metro entrance).

In Home Decor Ideas‘ world, there is no shortage of camp—from Ken Fulk’s life-size black bear and giraffe-laden grand halls and staircases to Jonathan Adler’s unabashed embrace of kitsch, to Sasha Bikoff‘s whimsical spaces, we selected some of our favourite interior designers‘ take on a design trend that unapologetically straddles the line between good and bad taste.

Harry Heissman

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“As I just read on a Bergdorf’s shop window: Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It’s a Susan Sontag quote. When it comes to decorating, a campy room has elements that make you laugh or think twice—hopefully both at the same time. Humour is involved—and that is one of the key ingredients of every room I aspire to do.”

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“The essence of the camp design trend is to make the rhinestone look like the diamond.” That’s what the interior designer tried to do in his room at Kip’s Bay in 2011, which had bronze mirrors, a custom wallpaper that looked like Chanel quilting, a huge giraffe, and a cobra-shaped floor lamp that once belonged to Elton John. To top it off, there was a bolster in haute couture fabric encrusted in rhinestones.

Richard Mishaan

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The interior designer likes to think of camp has a design trend that’s “over-styled.” “It’s like when you drink too much you can say you were “over-served”. The word “camp” might imply tongue-in-cheek, but if done right it’s tongue in chic.”

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So many of his interiors are “overstyled” because he works for helplessly devoted collectors. “My favourite is my own dining room in Sagaponack. It’s filled with many treasures I was able to buy when I had a Tony Duquette sale at my shop Homer. I have the light fixture from the Palazzo Brandolini that are coral branches made of Twigs, gold tassels made of resin and accentuated with crystal balls. And so many other of Tony’s extraordinary pieces.”

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Jonathan Adler

“Camp is an elusive sprite, a shapeshifter that means different things to different people.” 

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As for his own interiors, the interior designer says he is no stranger to theatricality. “I think my most camp moment ever is the corner of my dining room which features an up-lit pedestal with an urn of ostrich feathers.”

Sasha Bikoff

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“Camp rooms combine decadence, vulgarity, humour, and drama. A campy room will consume and engulf your senses by mixing styles, colours, fabrics, textures, and materials in a way that will put your mind’s eye into overdrive. This wacky and whimsical approach to design is a complete fantasy; its purpose is to engage and inspire but also to tap into our psyche. It’s completely original in the sense that everyone has their own version of camp and can draw inspiration from anything.”

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Jayne Mansfield’s Beverly Hills home with her heart-shaped pool and pink fluffy room is an excellent example of the camp design trend, according to the interior designer.

Amy Lau

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When it comes to camp, Louis XV at Versailles comes to the interior designer’s mind—”over-the-top, artificial, exaggerated, all those mirrors and pattern on pattern. A lot of people at the time thought he was nuts.” 

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“I created a room that I consider campy at my first Kip’s Bay Showhouse in 2007. It was inspired by Big Sur, and I put embroidery and ceramics on the walls and did poured resin floors that felt like walking on rubber. There was a serpentine sofa and it was all green and blue. Without a client, I let myself be edgy and colourful. The key to the camp design trend is to have just the right amount of fun spirit—to walk the line between carefree and clash.”

Ken Fulk

“All great rooms should have a sense of humour somewhere—a wink and a nod to let you know not to take yourself or your interiors too seriously.” says the interior designer.

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“I think of the dining room which I designed at Carbone Las Vegas. It’s part La Scala, part Goodfellas. Total camp and total glamour.”

This Russian interior design project by Tatyana Myronova is also a perfect example of the camp design trend.

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The over the top usage of gold features and extravagant overall design of this project elevates this design trend to a new level of luxury. The client didn’t hide his fascination for the famous, colourful and intense patterns of the recognized brand, Versace. In the apartment, especially in the dining room, is noticeable the presence of its designs. Gold is present everywhere in the apartment, in all the details and patterns. A combination of tropical and exotic colours with royal touches and exquisite ornaments.

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Source Elle Decor

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