Knock-knock, here comes the first Monday of May, and of course, the first Monday of May sees the most anticipated fashion event of the year. On this evening, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosts its themed Met Gala. This exclusive party aims to raise funds to cover the costs of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition. So there will be a lot of talk about money, as the rates for one of the most expensive dinners in the world have gone up again: $50,000 per guest (up from $35,000 in 2022) and $300,000 if the sponsor reserves a whole table. And even if you are willing to pay, you still need to be validated by Anna Wintour, the powerful editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 and chairperson of the Met Gala. Every year, celebrities from film, television, music, sports, fashion and more make up the guestlist. Before D-Day, the event is surrounded by ultimate secrecy. The theme is revealed to the public in January of the same year. It is decided by Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, in agreement with Anna Wintour. The co-chairs of the 2023 edition of the Met Gala are: Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer and Dua Lipa.
This year, the Costume Institute exhibition is dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld under the title “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”. In parallel, the dress code of the Met Gala is: “In honor of Karl”. Far from the extravagance of previous years, including the 2019 edition dedicated to Camp, the note of the evening was rather quiet, although glamorous. Karl Lagerfeld is all about black and white, black and cream, black and beige, with chains, an abundance of pearls, camellias (for Chanel) or rhinestones. They were also glimpses of the past, imperial Austria, Belle Époque, or Rock revisited. In his personal universe, we find black leather, white high collars, a ponytail tied with a black velvet ribbon, chains, biker mittens, dark sunglasses, the sharp silhouette of Hedi Slimane for which he forced himself, in the early 2000s, to lose 42 kg (92.5 pounds) … and his Burmese cat, Choupette.
There was not one, but several Karls. Nicknamed “The Chameleon”, the rival of Yves Saint-Laurent made his debut at Patou and Balmain before becoming, in 1965, the artistic director of Fendi, from which he never stood far. In 1983, he gave Chanel a new lease on life. Among other things, he shortened the famous tweed suit, which was revolutionary in its time, but was beginning to look granny-ish.
In parallel, he launched his eponymous house and directed the creation of Chloé. That’s at least six houses, six different identities to be interpreted by other designers for this edition of the Met Gala.
“Doing” Karl obviously involved taking the time to dive into his archives, to draw some nuggets of his vocabulary, or simply bring out one of his iconic pieces.
Here are the most celebrated looks from this extraordinary evening:
The big miss:
The lesson of inclusiveness:
The Met Gala as seen by the Yung team
We asked some of the (oh so!) talented members of the Yung team how they would have interpreted the Met Gala 2023 theme. Sandra Yeghiazarian told us, “I would go for the classic Coco Chanel suit with a twist.” Nujoud Oweis said, “I would look at Karl’s archives and his personal style and add a touch of colour to create a juxtaposition between my maximalist nature and his cool, classic aesthetic”. Omaia Jallad added, “I am a huge fan of Mademoiselle Chanel, her timeless fusion of simplicity and elegance! I would definitely wear a vintage Chanel suit with a corset, where vintage and modern meet halfway, with a touch of masculinity and femininity.” As for Saif Hidayah, who wields the sewing machine and typewriter with equal dexterity, he says he would have worn vintage Chanel with chains – an inspiration from the 1992 Chanel fashion show. Or maybe something inspired by Lagerfeld’s early days at Jean Patou. “It’s not so much about an image that comes to mind, I’d say it’s the overall vibe and flair of his collections at Patou. From the oval necklines to the pleats and belts. Many people don’t realize that it was KL’s time at Patou that inspired his career,” added the connoisseur.
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