If you're still scrambling to understand the concept of camp, the theme of the 2019 Met Gala, you're not alone. But the same can't be said for Taron Egerton, who sounded nonplussed at the idea that he'd be unfamiliar with the so-called "sensibility." "I think everyone knows what camp is," he said matter-of-factly on Sunday night, less than 24 hours ago before his making his first-ever appearance on the gala's red carpet in custom Salvatore Ferragamo, which has him equally unfazed.
"You know, in my DNA, I’m a theater person, so I’m no stranger to the world of being exuberant and extroverted." He laughed. "And I don't actually have to do much."
After all, as he pointed out, "There's definitely a crossover between the world of camp and the world of Elton John." And, it just so happens, he's been immersed in the latter for more than a year now, thanks to his upcoming lead role in Rocketman, the "epic musical fantasy" biopic of the singer that hits theaters later this month. The experience, Egerton said, has changed him forever—particularly when it comes to his style. "I think I’m being more expressive than I have been in the past," he explained. "It’s kind of like an elastic band—once it’s been stretched so far, you don’t really come back to the original shape. I've worn such outlandish, wild, outrageous, colorful, fantastic things in the movie that it sort of feels like part of me now."
The Rocketman premieres and their accompanying red carpets are fast approaching, so for Egerton, the timing of the Met Gala couldn't be better: The look which Salvatore Ferragamo's creative director Paul Andrew custom made for him to wear in on Monday is essentially a precursor of what's to come. "It's the first time I've stepped on a carpet in something that’s less conventional, and I love that about it," he said. "[I tend to] play it a little safe, but I'm actually I'm somebody who’s quite exuberant, so I've been thinking that perhaps that should be reflected more in my dress sense. That’s one of my aims for the Rocketman press tour—to be a bit more expressive."
His Met Gala look, is still definitely a tuxedo, but Andrew snuck quite a few details in there, too: His jacket is embroidered with pink and black beads that "catch the light very, very beautifully," and his bowtie isn't so much a bowtie, but a piece of leather tied into a bow around his neck. “I think it’s a really clever balance of exuberant and camp, but also quite elegant in a quite masculine way,” he said, summing it up as “a thing of beauty” for the first of several times.
Clearly, masculinity has been on Egerton’s mind as of late, which is just another reason why he couldn’t be happier with the timing of this year’s theme. “Traditional ideas about identity are becoming less and less important, and I think that’s a wonderful, gorgeous thing,” he said passionately. "Things are kind of shifting. Kind of traditional ideas about archetypes and masculinity and femininity are less important and constantly shifting and blurring, and I think that’s why it’s a wonderful time to celebrate camp—to celebrate expressing yourself and pushing the envelope a bit without fear of reprisal or judgment.”
Egerton is still in the early stages of embracing that IRL, but he’s certainly already crossed it off on-screen, even if we haven’t seen it all just yet. “There's much more where that came from," Egerton promised of the rhinestone-covered baseball uniform he’s wearing in the movie’s new music video—and of his upcoming red carpet looks: “We’re planning on something quite special for Cannes and the London premiere.”