Met Gala 2023: Why Celebrating Karl Lagerfeld Can’t Be Fashion

In 2018, while defending stylist Karl Templer, an accused of sexual misconduct by models for pulling their underwear down without permission, Lagerfeld told the magazine Numero that if you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model.

Karl Lagerfeld with Cindy Crawford (L), Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer in 1995, Paris.

About 400 celebrity guests gathered for the Met Gala 2023, dressed in extravagant outfits. For this year's theme, "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty", attendees were asked to wear clothes "in honor of Karl" to the invitation-only fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1st, 2023.

Cats dominated the star-studded 2023 Met Gala carpet, touted the biggest annual fashion event in New York as Jared Leto, Doja Cat, and Lil Nas X donned different cat looks, paying their tribute to the late Karl Lagerfeld’s feline friend, Choupette. Others also honored the German fashion designer who revived Chanel and was associated with brands like Fendi.

The fashion mogul who died in 2019 throughout his career which lasted over six decades made multiple controversial statements about women, women’s bodies, gay marriages, Metoo movement and was also alleged to be a Nazi sympathizer.

Protesting In Pink And Eating Fries

Quannah Chasinghorse throws a major shade dressed in pink, a color loathed by Karl Lagerfeld. File Photo

Activist and model Quannah Chasinghorse donned a loud and brash look, defying Lagerfeld’s aesthetics. Sporting a frothy bubblegum Prabal Gurung dress, Chasinghorse in all her indigenous glory threw shade at the late designer who hated and loathed the color pink with a notorious history of intolerance, discrimination, and racism. The Arizona native paired her look with punk-rock Vex Latex opera gloves, adorned with swirling vines of roses and handmade Dakota jewelry. Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis also did not miss the opportunity to subtly register her stance against the designer who was being celebrated at the 2023 Met Gala.

Lizzo stole the show as she posted a picture of herself dressed in a classic Lagerfeld silhouette in black, dripping in peals eating fries in a hotel kitchen. The American singer and artist was among the very few plus-size celebrities on the Met Gala 2023 carpet.

Fans quickly pick up on Lizzo's picture from the Met Gala 2023 evening eating fries as they recall Karl Lagerfeld's fatphobia. File photo

When the theme was first announced in October 2022 by Vogue director Anna Wintour who chairs the Met Gala and was one of Lagerfeld’s closest friends, She-Hulk fame actor Jameela Jamil reminded the public about the designer’s history while sharing a series of screenshots of articles with instances of Lagerfeld's distasteful acts. “Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren’t bigoted white men?” she asked.

Jameel also wrote a scathing post after the Met Gala 2023 calling out the theme and idea of "selective cancel culture" by many of the attendees including acclaimed “feminists” who celebrated a man who was publicly cruel to women, fat people, immigrants, and sexual assault survivors.

Don’t Be A Model If You Don’t Want Your Pants Pulled: Late Karl Lagerfeld

The fashion designer has as long a list of controversies and problematic statements under his wings as his achievements. On multiple occasions, he mirrored as well as reinstated unrealistic and discriminatory practices of the fashion and glamour industry. During his interview with the German news magazine, Focus in 2009 said that “no one wants to see a curvy woman” or plus-size models on the runway. He even called Adele “a little too fat” in 2012 to a European newspaper which he later apologized for.

Lagerfeld also exhibited his misogynist take on the MeToo movement when he was quoted saying “What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened,” to Numero Magazine. “Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses,” he added.

In 2018, while defending stylist Karl Templer, an accused of sexual misconduct by models for pulling their underwear down without permission, Lagerfeld told the magazine Numero, “If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model!”. During his interview with the magazine, he went as far as saying, “Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent.”

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” Lagerfeld, who was German, said in 2017. He expressed his issues with the then-German chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow Syrian refugees into Germany at the time. “I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said: ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,” he added.

The late designer also published "The Karl Lagerfeld Diet" in partnership with Jean-Claude Houdret, a general practitioner and self-proclaimed diet doctor in 2004. The book entails the designer’s journey of losing over 90 pounds during a 14-month period through strict dieting and diet drink consumption. He clarifies the objective behind his diet, which is not to get healthier. Instead, he writes, "My objective was to get to 154 pounds in a year so I could wear different clothes."

Called the Spoonlight program, his process includes a restrictive caloric intake, appetite suppressants, food supplements, and substituting some meals with flavored "protein sachets." It also eschews exercise because exercise "runs the risk of making you hungry."