The Met Gala, fabled for its theatricality, who could forget Blake Lively’s chameleonic dress (In America: An Anthology of Fashion, 2022) or Lady Gaga’s impromptu red carpet outfit change (Camp: Notes on Fashion, 2019)?
Is returning for 2023 to honour the work of Karl Lagerfeld, through its latest theme.“Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most captivating, prolific and recognisable forces in fashion and culture, known as much for his extraordinary designs and tireless creative output as for his legendary persona” said The Met’s French Director Max Hollein. “This immersive exhibition will unpack his singular artistic practice, inviting the public to experience an essential part of Lagerfeld’s boundless imagination and passion for innovation.”
So, what exactly is the Met Gala?
First introduced by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as a fundraiser for New York’s Costume Institute in 1948, it was only in 1972 that Vogue’s Diana Vreeland spelt out the event as a grandiose, star-studded annual, themed affair hosted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since taking the wheel as the Gala’s chairwoman in 1995, American Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has hosted fashion’s biggest soiree on the first Monday in May every year from 2005, except for 2020 when the event was cancelled, and then in 2021 when it was shifted back to September due to the pandemic. As part of her role, Wintour also supervises the benefit committee, oversees the guest list, seating arrangements and approves celebrity outfits.
For 2022, the Met Gala was introduced in two parts — In America An Anthology of Fashion (2022), which delved into fashion’s symbiotic relationship with American cinema and In America: a Lexicon of Fashion (2021) which saluted American fashion and design. 2017 marked the last time the Met focused solely on the work of one designer, underneath the theme Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçon: Art of the In-Between.
And this year?
Returning to New York’s fifth avenue on Monday, May 1st, this latest retrospective delves into the indomitably creative legacy of Karl Lagerfeld, from his winning of the Woolmark Prize in 1954 to his tenure as Pierre Balmain’s assistant and his time at the helms of Chanel, Fendi, Balmain, Chloé, and Patou along with his own eponymous brand.
In keeping with this theme, attendants including the Gala’s co-chairs Penélope Cruz, Michaela Cole, Dua Lipa, Roger Federer and Anna Wintour — will be centring their red-carpet assembles around the dress code ‘In Honour of Karl’, surely creating a sea of cascading pearls, swathes of tweed, and a garden of blooming camellias. There is also a plethora of inspiration to be pulled from Lagerfeld’s avant-garde portfolio, think couture brides, dark glasses, fingerless gloves, double-C logos and sharply tailored silhouettes.
The exhibition meanwhile, with its interior designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, will present 150 original looks, lifted from Lagerfeld’s portfolio. Especially focused on his idiosyncratic way of working, namely his impressionistic and meticulous sketches, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty will introduce us to the designer’s two-dimensional sketches, along with their three-dimensional garments, to illustrate how they progressed from transcendental to corporeal works of art. “He would sketch everything. He would always say he could draw before he could talk or walk” explained Andrew Bolton. “In many ways, it was his primary form of communication, whether he was delivering them by fax machine or iPhone”.
Through Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, we will also have the opportunity to interact with video interviews filmed with Lagerfeld’s premiers and directed by Loïc Prignet.
Where can I watch?
For those not able to attend in person, Vogue’s live stream is the next best thing. Whilst every minute iota, such as whose presenting hasn’t been revealed, last year’s red carpet was hosted by Hamish Bowles, Vanessa Hudgens and La La Anthony.
What about the infamous bathroom selfie?
The Met Gala wouldn’t be the Met Gala without the plethora of photographs which somehow come to light in the days after, (despite the ban on social media and selfies), from Bella Hadid kneeling on the ground in a translucent Alexander Wang bodysuit, to Emily Ratajkowski kissing the cheek of designer Prabal Gurung and most importantly, the notorious bathroom selfie. Kylie Jenner famously snapshotted stars such as P. Diddy, Paris Jackson, Slick Woods and Elizabeth Chambers in the mirror of the bathroom at the Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçon: Art of the In-Between 2017 Met Gala, and it’s been somewhat of a tradition ever since.
Who ruled last year’s red carpet?
At the 2022 Met Gala, In America: An Anthology of Fashion, Jodie Turner-Smith and Kaia Gerber were among the best-dressed stars who absolutely stole the red carpet. Turner-Smith invoked the spirit of the Roaring 20s with a bedazzled, fringed custom-designed Gucci dress inspired by the decadent flapper era. Meanwhile, Kaia Gerber donned a dazzling semi-translucent gown envisaged by Alexander McQueen.
Who’s going this year?
Whilst the guest list remains top-secret, speculation is rife that Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will make an appearance.