Here’s what dressing in honour of Karl Lagerfeld might look like.
Arguably the best thing about the Met Gala? The discourse, darling. In the days leading up to fashion’s biggest night, the internet is rich with guest list speculations and couture conspiracies. And in 2023, there’s no shortage of opinions surrounding the annual ball, which will pay tribute to Karl Lagerfeld. The late designer helped shape contemporary fashion through his work at Fendi, Chanel, and his own eponymous brand. He was also famously controversial — making fatphobic, misogynistic, and anti-immigrant remarks throughout his very public career.
On Monday, May 1, stars will descend upon the steps of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City dressed to honour the theme “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” The affair inevitably begs the question: does Lagerfeld’s sartorial genius trump his complicated legacy? With that consideration lingering in the air, there are many ways to interpret this year’s dress code. But one thing’s for sure: the fashion at the 2023 Met Gala will deliver glamour, drama and cause for conversation, as it always does.
Below, FASHION outlined six trends that will likely surface on this year’s grandiose red carpet, based on Lagerfeld’s unforgettable reputation.
A sea of tweed
Of all Chanel creative directors, Karl Lagerfeld’s tenure was the longest and most influential. Having been named the artistic director in 1983, he stayed at the Parisian maison until his death in 2019. As such, the red carpet will no doubt be rife with Chanel-isms, none of which are more instantly recognizable than tweed. Lagerfeld famously revamped the brand in the ’90s by taking its classic prim suiting and presenting it with bright colours, chunky chain adornments and provocative mini-skirts. The 2023 Met Gala guest list remains unconfirmed, but longtime celebrity Chanel ambassadors like Margot Robbie and Kristen Stewart will likely be in attendance, repping references to these emblems.
To Karl Lagerfeld, stretchy waistbands were the enemy. “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat,” he famously once declared. “You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” After years of lockdowns and working from home, this wardrobe rule simply doesn’t hold up anymore — even Anna Wintour has worn them! Comfy pants may seem sacrilegious at a fête such as the Met, but perhaps it’s a risk just bold enough to pass as camp. Whether through gargantuan proportions or slouchy silhouettes, we’ll be on the lookout for tongue-in-cheek protests against Lagerfeld’s staunchly anti-sweatpant stance.
After beginning his tenure at Fendi in 1965, Lagerfeld created the now identifiable double “F” logo. And when signing on at Chanel, he employed the pre-established interlocked “C” motif as a prominent branding staple. Through the years, Lagerfeld took inspiration from streetwear and hip hop — especially with his enthusiastic use of logomania, which was pioneered by Harlem designer Dapper Dan in the ’80s. The maximalist look of emblazoned monograms can be seen across Lagerfeld’s collections at Fendi and Chanel. At the 2023 Met Gala, we expect to see logos not only on clothes, but in the form of necklaces, shoes, sunglasses, and headpieces.
Remember last year’s Met Gala, when three attendees looked strikingly like Jared Leto? Picture that, times ten. As the theme of this year’s event, Karl Lagerfeld and his signature look — white ponytail; dark sunglasses; fingerless gloves; exaggerated white collar — basically beg recreation. We will likely see crafty re-interpretations of this oeuvre, à la Kendall Jenner circa Halloween 2015.
If Sofia Richie’s internet-breaking nuptials proved one thing, it’s that the world cannot get enough of a Chanel wedding dress — or in her case, three. Beginning in the ’80s, Lagerfeld famously closed his Chanel couture shows with a “bride.” Over the years, It girl models like Cara Delevingne, Claudia Schiffer and Devon Aoki donned white for the coveted runway honour. On Monday, we’ll presumably see a nod to this tradition, via billowing ballgowns or trailing ivory veils.
References to Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette
Sure, it may sound silly. But Choupette is not just any cat. As Lagerfeld’s longtime companion, she is a verified petfluencer held in high esteem — who at one time had two maids, an iPad, and a personal driver. Just this week, Kim Kardashian posted about a recent play date in Paris with le chat of honour to “get a little inspiration for the Met.” Take it from her: we can surely expect Choupette-inspired details on the internet’s favourite steps. Think Schiaparelli lion dress, but make it a Birman cat.
All of this is speculation, of course. To see what celebs really wear, check back here on May 1 for the full fashion round-up.