On May 1st – the first Monday of May – the 2023 Met Gala took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The charity event fundraising for the museum’s Costume Institute, always timed to mark the opening of its annual fashion exhibition, has been run by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour since 1995 and features four different co-hosts each year – this year they were actress and Chanel ambassador Penélope Cruz, British pop star Dua Lipa and writer and actress Michaela Coel (both grazed the cover of Vogue in 2022), alongside Wintour’s friend and Switzerland’s tennis legend Roger Federer. Just like its co-hosts, the theme changes yearly, and for 2023 it was ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, in honour of the German designer who was a leading figure of the high fashion brands Chanel and Fendi and passed away in 2019.
Although one single ticket to attend the Met Gala is $50.000, with tables at a starting price of $300.000, there are usually around 600 attendees. However, if you are lucky enough to be recognised by the world of fashion, you might be put on the guestlist by Anna Wintour herself. And lastly, there is also the option of being chosen by a designer, who has a table and is featured at the event, and to represent their artistic creation.
While fashion fans all around the world can eagerly watch the live stream of their favourite celebrities arriving and being interviewed on the red carpet, the actual Gala inside the museum has been kept very private and secretive since its emergence – a strict no phone and no social media policy is set in place. But what we know is that it usually involves a walkthrough of the exhibition, followed by dinner and a live performance by a musical guest.
While the fashion world, hundreds of attendees and some of Karl Lagerfeld’s close friends celebrated him and his life’s work on Monday night, the theme caused a lot of furore everywhere else, as the iconic designer didn’t shy away from voicing his opinions and making controversial statements publicly – with some involving themes of fatphobia and misogyny.
However, to support the charity and show our admiration for other incredibly talented designers and their creations, we decided to sit down and put together a list of our favourite looks from this year’s Met Gala. While some of the guests walked the white, red and blue carpet in stunning vintage Chanel gowns (Dua Lipa, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman), creatively cosplayed as Karl Lagerfeld himself (Cara Delevigne) or his beloved cat Choupette (Doja Cat, Jared Leto, Lil Nas X) and designers incorporated his name or his face into their concepts (Lily Collins in Alexandra Wang, Jeremy Pope in Balmain), our favourite specifically those outfits that took inspiration from the late designer, his creative vision and identity left special marks. Check out the list of our favourite looks below, and we already can’t wait for the first Monday in May to come around next year.
Billie Eilish in custom Simone Rocha, reminiscing of Chanel lace and Lagerfeld’s dark aesthetic – the look was also made out of pre-existing fabrics and included vegan shoes and vintage jewellery.
Jenna Ortega in Thom Browne and Marli jewellery, Janelle Monáe in Thom Browne, Conan Grey in Balmain, Rihanna in Valentino Haute Couture – all incorporating Lagerfeld’s signature favourites in their outfits, whether it’s the black and white suit theme, Chanel pearls, fingerless gloves or sunglasses.
Anne Hathaway in Atelier Versace, combining Chanel tweed with Versace gold. Emma Chamberlain in Miu Miu and Elle Fanning in Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood – both reminding of vintage Chanel without actually being vintage nor Chanel. Ashley Graham in Harris Reed, displaying an exaggeration of Lagerfeld’s favourite body parts – broad shoulders, tiny waist and big hips.
Taika Waititi in Prabal Gurung, an elegant mix of gender norms, once again playing into the Chanel-feeling by adding pearls and a rose.
Written by Vicky Madzak / design by Hope Kensall