The End of Camp?
Startling, appalling, tragic evidence that camp—that glorious mode—is dead.
Back to camp and its potential extinction: There is hope. Last Sunday night Liberace and I tuned in to watch the remake of Upstairs, Downstairs. The original '70s sitcom was a heady mix of high camp, social commentary, and drama. (Didn't poor Ruby, the scullery maid, hang herself with her own knicker elastic?) When, five minutes into the action, Eileen Atkins came flying down the stairs—with her osprey-feathered hat, pet monkey, and turban'd male secretary, she resembled a Lartigue photo come to life—Liberace and I heaved a sigh of relief. We settled back to watch the camp unfurl, as if we were settling back to watching the camp unfurl.
Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.(Photo by Roxanne Lowit.)
Photograph of Kate Winslet by Andrew Schwartz © HBO. Poster from The Importance of Being Ernest. Still from Upstairs, Downstairs © BBC/Masterpiece.