Fashion’s most anticipated night came with waves of tailored tweed, meticulously crafted camellias and camera clicks. Celebrity after celebrity, after designer ensured that the star-studded event was honoring the man behind the theme, Karl Lagerfeld, in more ways than one.
The MET Gala, a synonym for exclusivity, fashion, and the first Monday in May, is a fundraiser dedicated to the costume institute of the museum held every year. For decades, the event has garnered international attention through its carefully curated, and tailored exhibit, its elite guestlist, and conversation-inducing themes. This year, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” came with a punch of controversy and passion, as it brings to the forefront the controversial character, the late Karl Lagerfeld.
Headed by Anna Wintour, this year’s co-chairs- Dua Lippa, Roger Federer, Michaela Cole, and Penelope Cruz- alongside the museum committee and the MET’s curator, Andrew Bolton, the event hosted 400 guests, including Lagerfeld’s past muses (read Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni), with diverse interpretations of the theme. The exhibit will showcase 150 sketches that will depict the “evolution of Karl’s two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional garments”, described by Andrew Bolton in Vogue.
Even though some of Lagerfeld’s quintessential designs will be on display, others were on the gala’s white carpet. Unsurprisingly, the dominating colors of the night were white and black, Lagerfeld’s preferred palette, though the textures, silhouettes, and accessories, much like Lagerfeld’s creativity, were vast.
Designers, celebrities, and models alike chose to wear archive Chanel, the fashion house Lagerfeld is most celebrated for, while others paid homage to the iconoclastic designer by blending his style and essence with their own. Nicole Kidman dazzled in her iconic pink feathered Chanel dress from the Chanel No. 5 advert, Naomi Campbell stunned in a pink and metallic 2010 Chanel, and Giselle Bundchen twirled in a white Chanel feather and jeweled ensemble from 2007. The results? 150% picture worthy.
Experiencing other fashion houses like Thom Browne, Jacquemus, and Atelier Versace to create custom Karl Lagerfeld-inspired looks whilst keeping their essence was exhilarating, to say the least. They took us on a journey with every look, whether it be a tribute to Choupette, Lagerfeld’s beloved white cat, as a life-size cat later turned into an all-black outfit with a cape on Jared Leto or a bedazzled Oscar de la Renta gown and prosthetics on Doja Cat. Versace and crowd favorite, Anne Hathaway, dazzled us from head to toe with an impeccable blend of timeless Chanel-inspired tweed molded onto a dress with a slit pinned together by the iconic Versace hardware. Latin musical powerhouse, Bad Bunny, dressed by Jacquemus – which was a statement of its own, donned a backless white suit with a 26-foot floral train making for an unforgettable entrance.
Meanwhile, designer Thom Browne, known for his cropped suits and pants, made sure he told a story with his twelve different guests and outfits, always with a twist of Karl Lagerfeld. The Thom Browne class, composed of actress, Jenna Ortega, singer and actress Janelle Monae, who took layers off on the white carpet, triple threat and model Teyana Taylor, singer Olivia Rodrigo, actor Alexander Skarsgård, race car driver Daniel Ricciardo, NBA player Shai Gilgeious-Alexander, rapper Pusha-T, actress Bella Ramsey, comedian Trevor Noah, director Baz Luhrmann, and model Sora Choi, all made a statement as they walked down the carpet. Each design had each one of their personalities embedded into classic Thom Browne silhouettes while keeping true to Lagerfeld’s most memorable designs. One of the most impeccable executions of the theme for the night.
To close night, Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director at Balmain, arrived wearing the infamous “Karl Who?” bag, with actor Jeremy Pope, who draped the MET steps with a cape with an image of Karl Lagerfeld himself.
Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most emblematic and yet controversial characters in the fashion industry strongly believed that fashion did not belong in a museum, but on the streets, where the people were; however, putting them on display for crowds to mesmerize and admire will ensure his imprint on the industry continues to create ripples and waves years after his passing.