“In Honour of Karl”: The 2023 Met Gala Theme Explained

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The Met Gala is one of the most highly anticipated events of the fashion calendar. Each year, the event has a specific theme that sets the tone for the evening. It is typically inspired by the museum’s upcoming exhibit, and it serves as a starting point for designers and attendees to create fashion looks that are in line with its related themes and concepts.

In addition to being a celebration of fashion, the themed approach to the Met Gala also provides a platform for social commentary and cultural critique. By choosing themes that reflect current cultural and political issues, the Met Gala is able to spark important conversations and encourage reflection on important issues.

This year, the theme holds a slightly more sentimental meaning. Let’s get into it.

What Is the Met Gala 2023 Theme?

The theme for the 2023 Met Gala is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”. It is a tribute to the work of designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away in February of 2019.

Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton, is in charge of the exhibition, telling Vogue it will not be a “traditional retrospective”. Additionally, this year’s creative consultant, Amanda Harlech, has worked closely with Lagerfeld for years.

As for the 2023 Met Gala dress code, it’s “in honour of Karl” — aligning solidly with the exhibition. Guests in attendance will be able to gather inspiration from the Lagerfeld’s vast archives at Chanel, Fendi, Chloé, Balmain, Patou and his eponymous brand. 

In order to understand 2023’s Met Gala theme even better, we’ll need to dig a little deeper into the work, impact and legacy of Karl Lagerfeld. Let’s do it.

Who Was Karl Lagerfeld?

Karl Lagerfeld began his career in fashion in the 1950s, working as an apprentice for Pierre Balmain. Over the years, he worked for several prominent fashion houses, including Jean Patou, Chloe, and Fendi. But it was his work as the creative director of Chanel that cemented his legacy.

Lagerfeld took over as the creative director of Chanel in 1983, following the death of its founder, Coco Chanel. He was tasked with rejuvenating the brand and modernising its image. He became known for his innovative designs that blended classic Chanel elements with contemporary styles. He introduced new silhouettes, textures, and patterns, including the now-iconic Chanel tweed jacket.

Karl Lagerfeld during his first year at Chanel in 1983. Photo: Getty Images

One of Lagerfeld’s greatest contributions to the fashion industry was his ability to reinvent and modernise classic brands. He transformed Fendi into a luxury fashion house with his use of innovative materials such as fur and leather. He also created the iconic double-F logo. Lagerfeld was further known for collaborations, like his work with H&M, where he created a collection that was accessible to a wider audience without compromising on style and quality.

Lagerfeld had his own distinctive style. He was often seen wearing his signature black sunglasses, high-collared shirts, tailored suits and a low ponytail. We wouldn’t be surprised if some celebs turn up to the 2023 Met Gala red carpet dressed as the man himself.

Lagerfeld passed away on February 19, 2019, at the age of 85 due to pancreatic cancer.

Who Were Karl Lagerfeld’s Muses?

Throughout his career, Lagerfeld collaborated with several influential women who served as his muses, inspiring his designs and shaping his aesthetic.

One of Lagerfeld’s most iconic muses was model and actress Inès de la Fressange. Lagerfeld discovered de la Fressange in the early 1980s and was immediately struck by her effortless style. She became the face of Chanel and the embodiment of Lagerfeld’s vision of modern French elegance. De la Fressange inspired some of Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs, including the Chanel jacket paired with denim jeans which became a symbol of the 1980s.

Karl Lagerfeld fits one of his designs on muse Ines de la Fressange at Chloe’s Paris studio. Photo: Getty Images

Another one of his muses was Claudia Schiffer. Lagerfeld discovered Schiffer when she was just 17 years old and quickly became enamoured with her classic beauty and poise. Schiffer became a fixture on the Chanel runway and was the face of several Chanel campaigns. She inspired many of Lagerfeld’s designs, including the “cruise collection,” which was inspired by Schiffer’s travels.

Did Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne Work Together?

In more recent years, Karl Lagerfeld had a close relationship with British model and actress, Cara Delevingne, who he first discovered in 2011.

Cara Delevingne and Karl Lagerfeld attend the Chanel Spring Summer 2016 show. Photo: Getty Images

Delevingne appeared in several Chanel campaigns and became the face of the brand’s “Gabrielle” handbag in 2017. Lagerfeld also designed a handbag named after Delevingne called the “Cara Delevingne” bag which featured quilted leather and a distinctive chain strap.

Beyond fashion, Lagerfeld and Delevingne had a close personal relationship. Delevingne spoke fondly of Lagerfeld in interviews, calling him a mentor and friend.

Karl Lagerfeld’s relationship with Delevingne was a significant part of his later career, and her influence can be seen in many of his designs and campaigns. Their relationship was a testament to Lagerfeld’s ability to discover and nurture new talent.

Who Is Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat?

Karl Lagerfeld was a well-known cat lover and was often seen in the company of his beloved cat, Choupette. Lagerfeld was first introduced to Choupette in 2011 when he agreed to cat-sit for her owner, model Baptiste Giabiconi. Lagerfeld quickly fell in love with the cat and when Giabiconi returned, Lagerfeld refused to give her back.

Choupette quickly became Lagerfeld’s constant companion and muse. She was often photographed with him, and he even created an entire fashion collection inspired by her called “Choupette in Love.” Lagerfeld doted over Choupette, and she lived a life of luxury with her own personal maids and bodyguards.

Lagerfeld’s love for Choupette was so profound that he even wrote a book about her, called “Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat.” The book features photographs and stories about Choupette’s life with Lagerfeld and became a bestseller in France.

The love for Choupette extended beyond death. Lagerfeld reportedly established a trust for her care and upkeep which was managed by his longtime assistant and friend, Françoise-Claire Prodhon. The trust is said to be worth several million dollars and ensures that Choupette will be well taken care of for the rest of her life.

Her social media accounts remain active, so she must be doing okay.

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