The Met Gala’s imposed theme can go of two ways – either it’s a raging success (yes, we’re looking at you Miss Joan of Arc Zendaya in Versace at 2018’s Heavenly Bodies) or a shamefully terrible (not going to name names here, 2019’ Camp: Notes on Fashion). Though this year, where the theme was Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty, people actually seemed to get it.
The night, which opened with a Colgate core white and red-and-blue-streaked carpet covering the Met steps, gave us little hope for what was to come, the bar already being low since the last two In America-themed balls were both understated and underwhelming and the last true pre-covid ceremony worthy of the Met Gala name was Camp – let’s not talk about it.
Though as the guests started rolling in, hope, which came in the shape of co-host Dua Lipa, was restored. Wearing a FW92 Chanel Couture gown originally worn by Claudia Schiffer, the pop star gave us a preview of the kind of archival pieces celebrities would be pulling for last night’s event.
This year’s theme was set to honour Karl Lagerfeld, whose contributions as creative director at Chanel, Chloé and Fendi, as well as having worked at Patou and Balmain meant that Met attendees had plenty of options for an archival pick. Having a designer-based theme also allows for a restricted enough criteria for celebrities to avoid completely missing the mark, though in some unfortunate cases restricts it too much like in Olivia Wilde and Margaret Zhang who both wore the Chloé 1983 Violin dress in a 2023 version of the white-and-gold or black-and-blue dress.
Olivia Wilde and Margaret Zhang wore the same Chloé dress to the #MetGala pic.twitter.com/4GRDaUbqbK— Couture is Beyond (@CoutureIsBeyond) May 2, 2023
For those who did archival right, there was Nicole Kidman who pulled the Chanel dress from her 2004 No. 5 ad, Gisele Bündchen who wore a Chanel Spring 2007 Couture gown, and Penélope Cruz, another co-host of last night’s Met, who bore a vintage Couture bridal look from SS98.
Though sorting through Lagerfeld’s past designs isn’t the only route to go, as other designers and houses are still present at the event. Paying homage to Lagerfeld’s love of orchids and fans, Gigi Hadid wore a custom Givenchy look by Matthew M. Williams, who accompanied the model on the carpet. Jenna Ortega arrived in a Thom Browne number adorned with heaps of gold chains, something the late designer was especially known for during his time at Chanel. Honourable mentions also go to Anne Hathaway in Versace and Anok Yai in Prabal Gurung.
Honouring Karl Lagerfeld isn’t only executed by referencing his design work but also by looking back at the man himself, specifically with his beloved cat Choupette expected to make an appearance some way or another, on a catsuit or kitten heels. Fittingly enough, it was Doja Cat who understood the assignment, honouring her stage name, coming dressed as Lagerfeld’s heir in an Oscar de la Renta sparkly number and prosthetics done by Malina Stearns. With the same idea but at the complete other end of the spectrum was the furry Jared Leto whose look we are still trying to erase from our memories.
Ignoring the usual slew of men that think showing up in a classic suit and tie with a couple of lapel embellishments is okay (it’s the Met, you can do better), Kendrick Lamar was amongst the few that showed up and showed out, in a simple way though with full Chanel look that consisted of a leather jacket and waist-tied red scarf. Bad Bunny came in a Jacquemus backless white tux with an extra long floral train and Jeremy Pope might have won the most impressive look with his 30 foot custom Balmain cape that featured Karl Lagerfeld’s face on it – he did what Lily Collins thought she did. As far as Lil Nas X, we’re going to need a bit more of an explanation.
Fashionably late as always but still guaranteeing a serve was Rihanna who wore a dramatic white Valentino Haute Couture gown accompanied by a hooded floral jacket. By her side was A$AP Rocky, who went with a classic black suit coat but spiced it up by wearing a Gucci kilt that was worn by Karl Lagerfeld during a Tokyo Chanel show in 2004 under a pair of sparkly jeans.
Rumours of the Jenner sisters not receiving an invite fueled the internet earlier this year, though when Kendall and Kylie pulled up, each looking more disjointed than the other, maybe it would have been for the best if they had stayed home – we have got to give it to Kim though, another year another slay. The biggest flop this year though was Zendaya and Bella Hadid’s non-attendance.
So was the theme relatively easy to follow, even though some still somehow managed to flop? Absolutely. But does it also mean we were able to appreciate the life and legacy of one of the most influential designers? Yes. As long as we don’t think too hard about Jared Lego’s furry fit.
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