The first Monday in May needs no introduction. The Met Gala has so permeated pop culture consciousness that even our friends who aren’t fashion fans tune in and give their couch side critiques on the celebrity elite’s fashion choices. But I must admit, the past Galas have left me wanting more. The outfits seemed to always miss the mark when it comes to interpreting the theme by referencing the most minute and abstract footnotes and making it the entire look, hoping for the best.
However, this year it was like a breath of stylish fresh air. The theme for 2023 was “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, a theme that has never been more deserved for an icon of Fashion that this world may not see again for a long, long time. Karl Lagerfeld defined and then redefined what it meant to be a Fashion Designer and the industry at large will forever be grateful for all that he did and the legacy that he has left.
With inspiration derived from the icon of fashion himself, celebrities, their stylists and designers were able to pull from a very specific source which gave them clear direction and resource material. Karl himself could inspire years’ worth of such material but include his storied career spanning some seventy years which encompassed in taking the helm at Cholé, Fendi, Chanel and his own eponymous label, and it's no wonder that this year’s Met ticked one in the WIN column.
The major design choice was Lagerfeld suiting themes with Chanel black, white and tweed. Cardi B wore a Chenpeng Studio gown with a suit-like bodice with large sculpted camelli’s. Jenna Ortega looked stunning in a Thom Browne deconstructed gown adorned with Chanel inspired chains and buttons celebrating the ever iconic tweed cardigan. Dua Lipa also rode on the tweed train but the most successful iteration came from Anne Hathaway in Versace. Anne is having a moment, deservedly so, and dressing her in a reworked Versace safety pin dress was one of the fashion highlights of the night. Cara Delevingne and Michelle Yeoh played with another Karl-ism while wearing Karl Lagerfeld, his starch white dress shirt and commanding collar. Both played up the silhouette and added volumes of draped and gathered fabric, exaggerating the sleeves to billowing heights.
Perhaps some of the closest collaborators of Karl, his muses and models, showed up in full force. Gisele Bündchen, Carla Bruna, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valetta, Joan Smalls and Karlie Kloss all worked the Met staircase like any runway during Fashion Month showing the other celebrities how it’s done. Another high point of the night was Nicole Kidman who wore a stunning jeweled and feather embroidered blush gown from the Chanel archive. Well you could say from her own archive as well. Chanel No5 fans will remember that this was the same dress Kidman donned in her 2004 commercial for the perfume. Dripping jewels were a favorite for Kim Kardashion in Schiaparelli, Amanda Seyfried in Oscar De La Renta, and Lizzo in custom Chanel.
The men surprisingly didn’t disappoint. Pedro Pascal showed up in Valentino Red paired with shorts which was a choice but not a bad one. Sean Combs debuted a Sean John Couture ensemble in all black with hundreds of camellias adorning his cape. Bad Bunny flipped the color scheme in Jacquemus, going for all white with cathedral length sleeves made up of the Chanel flower. Taika Waititi was arguably one of the best dressed men of the night and going big and bold in the process. He ditched the traditional tuxedo and opted for a floor length gunmetal gray Atelier Prabal Gurung wrap jacket, white silk trousers, and pearls.
We can’t have a Met Gala without a shocking fashion moment, or two and this year was no different. They all drew inspiration from Choupette, the beloved cat of Karl. Doja Cat looked glamorous in a halter Oscar De La Renta gown from the neck down. You almost had to do a double take as she had used the magic of prosthetics to transform her face into a more feline structured visage. Lil Nas X was covered in head to toe silver body paint and cat-like jewels courtesy of Dior. But both pale in comparison to Jared Leto who showed up in a full cat-suit in Choupette’s likeness. The official mascot of this year’s Met Gala, you could say.
This year’s Met was one that will be remembered fondly. The fashion was high and the trains long. The fashion elites came together to celebrate one of the biggest names in the industry and dare I say, I think Karl would have been proud to see it.
Written By: Charles Fratto