The Met Gala is one of the most anticipated fashion events of the year, and this year’s theme did not disappoint. Dubbed “In honor of Karl,” the 2023 Met Gala paid tribute to the life and career of legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 85. Lagerfeld’s influence on the fashion industry is undeniable, and the Costume Institute’s spring show “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” served as the inspiration for this year’s theme.
A-Listers from the worlds of fashion, music, and film descended upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for the occasion. Dua Lipa, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer, and Penélope Cruz served as co-chairs for the event, with Vogue’s global editorial director Anna Wintour also in attendance. Cruz, who made her runway debut for Chanel shortly after Lagerfeld’s death, was particularly fitting as a co-chair, given her close relationship with the designer.
The red carpet, or rather, white carpet, was a sight to behold, with stars paying tribute to Lagerfeld’s iconic designs and personal style. The classic Chanel palette of black, white, blush, and pearls was on full display, with archival looks from the label making reappearances via Met Gala guests. Margot Robbie wore a 1993 dress once worn by Cindy Crawford, while Nicole Kidman arrived in the iconic feathered gown made famous in her romantic, Baz Luhrmann-directed Chanel No 5 commercial from 2004. Kidman spoke to Vogue on the carpet about the whimsy and couture of the dress, saying, “It’s light as a feather, and that’s what it should be.”
Roger Federer also paid tribute to Lagerfeld, with Fendi creative director Kim Jones including hand-drawn sketches inspired by the German designer in the lining of the retired tennis star’s suit. Federer spoke to CNN about his extensive preparations for the event, saying, “It was good fun.”
One notable absence from the event was Choupette, Lagerfeld’s beloved cream-colored cat, who had been rumored to make an appearance. However, there were plenty of feline references in her honor, with Doja Cat, Jared Leto, and Lil Nas X all coming in full cat costumes. Doja Cat’s dazzling Oscar de la Renta hooded gown was particularly impressive, with prosthetics that put the much-disparaged “Cats” movie adaptation to shame.
While some attendees paid tribute to Lagerfeld’s designs and personal style, others opted for their own glamorous interpretations. Kim Kardashian, who has made headlines in past years for her gala looks, said she simply “wanted to feel glamorous” in her Schiarparelli look inspired by Chanel. “I wanted to just be dripping in pearls,” she told Vogue.
The night ended on a high note, with Rihanna and A$AP Rocky arriving fashionably late but stealing the show. Rihanna’s Valentino gown and hooded coat, bursting with a floral motif, was reminiscent of the muses who closed out Lagerfeld’s couture shows as Chanel brides. The duo’s arrival was the perfect ending to a night that celebrated the legacy of one of fashion’s most iconic figures.
The 2023 Met Gala was a fitting tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, showcasing the designer’s lasting impact on the fashion industry. From archival Chanel looks to feline-inspired costumes, the red carpet was a visual feast. While Lagerfeld’s passing left a void in the fashion world, the Met Gala served as a reminder of his enduring legacy and the countless designers and models who continue to be inspired by his work.