Titled “Karl Lagerfeld, a Line of Beauty,” the 2023 Met Gala paid tribute to one of fashion’s most iconic designers.
Like the Academy Awards, the Met Gala is as famous for its star-studded red carpet, as for the event itself, a dinner held every year to raise funds for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Institute, in turn, offers a related exhibition.
At this year’s event, models, designers, actors, and entertainment moguls arrived swathed in Lagerfeld’s signature motifs from his more than six decades of work, from black-and-white color-ways and camellias to Chanel tweed and sumptuous satin bows.
As Vogue editor Anna Wintour told reality star Lala Anthony on the red carpet, Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, was “intrinsically the chicest designer.”
Jessica Chastain donned platinum locks and Wayfarers in honor of Lagerfeld’s almost comically consistent personal style. Meanwhile, Lil Nas X, Jared Leto, and Doja Cat took it furthest, wearing looks inspired by Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, who inherited a pretty penny from her late master.
Many of the stars at the event had close working relationships with the iconic designer, such as super-model Naomi Campbell, who started working with Lagerfeld when she was 16, and Nicole Kidman, who attended the Met Gala in a dress Lagerfeld designed for her 20 years ago for a Chanel No. 5 ad campaign.
The gala was cochaired by Penelope Cruz, who worked with Lagerfeld when he selected her as a house ambassador for Chanel, as well as actress Michaela Coel.
A central figure of haute couture, Lagerfeld built a complicated legacy between his prolific career and his controversial, nonstop commentary on “fat” models like Heidi Klum—whom he famously said was “simply too heavy,” along with any other model above a size zero.
Below, the best and worst looks at the Met Gala.
It was an opportunity she couldn’t miss … it’s in the name!
Doja Cat applied some prosthetics and Oscar de la Renta to become the human-ish avatar of Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette. Doja Cat, one could argue, is the new Lady Gaga, delivering stunning, high-concept looks to the red carpet.
Cruz looks like the Virgin Mary and I am screaming MOTHER! She was given full access to the Chanel archives and selected this Spring/Summer look from 1988. Co-chair of the Met Gala and previous Chanel ambassador, Cruz had a close relationship with Lagerfeld.
Cruz had these sweet generic words to say in his memory, as per a red carpet interview: “Everyone who knew him loved him.”
Teyana Taylor epitomized the best of Lagerfeld while bringing it firmly into the trends of the 2020s, from the sleeve that extends into gloves to the high arch of her suit jacket.
Michelle Yeoh’s look is the height of grace in Dior Haute Couture.
Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems is no superstar yet, but this look, along with her outfit at this year’s Academy Awards, has definitively launched her public image. Robert Wun designed this show-stopping dress, along with its ethereal headdress.
The true appeal of this look is unseen from this angle: the completely open back and a chain with a dangling “J” charm that skimmed the edge of Bunny’s pants.
Designed by Simon Porte Jacquemus (who showed up in a matching black edition of the suit), the designer is mining completely new territory in exposing the male back, yet the effect is a shade gimmicky, recalling a certain meme.
She’s hot, she’s gay, and she was Chanel’s brand ambassador from 2013 until last year, selected by Lagerfeld himself. Though Stewart’s red carpet contract with Chanel has often been seen as a bit of a curse for the actress, this Karl Lagerfeld Chanel Resort 2017 is clearly working, transforming Stewart into a dapper lad from the 1920s.
Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala apparel has often been the subject of controversy, from her 2019 “wet dress” to last year’s Marilyn Monroe fiasco. The 2023 costume epitomizes Kim K’s fading empire: controversial only because it is so uninspired. While this could have been a classically, outrageously sexy nod to her 2007 Playboy look (just a few pearls and a lot of skin), Kardashian is cinched in a clumsy, nude paneled waist trainer that is probably just spon-con for her Skims line, but is really doing her brand no favors.
One of the worst looks of the night, only because one expects so much from this beloved bombshell. The floppy bow and big hair comes off a little Minnie Mouse. The pink Miu Miu dress with a bow at the knee just further infantilizes.
The Devil Wears Prada star is obliged to serve, and serve she did in this vintage Versace dress. It is Hathaway’s first appearance at the Met Gala since 2018, though the actress has been returning more and more to the public eye of late.