In honor of who?

by Elena Collado, Staff Writer

Each year, everyone is excited to see all of the outrageous looks celebrities wear to the Met Gala. But at times it seems that people have forgotten the actual Met Gala themes and the significance of the themes. The Met Gala themes vary greatly, for example the 2008 theme was “Superheroes”, and the 2018 theme was “Heavenly Bodies” which had some religious elements. Compared to these past themes the 2023 Met Gala theme might sound strange at first, but the purpose of the theme was to honor a giant in the fashion industry. Themes like this, which honor people in the industry who have passed (and not passed yet), are not uncommon. In 2014 famed designer Charles James was honored by the theme “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”, and in 1983 Yves Saint Laurent was honored for his work with the theme “Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design”. What makes this year’s theme different from the others is that the designer who it honors has a controversial legacy.

The theme of the 2023 Met Gala was “in honor of Karl”, but a question many have is, who is Karl? Karl Lagerfeld was a German fashion designer who worked with of the top fashion houses, and was the creative director of Chanel from 1983 till his death.

Lagerfeld’s designs consist of entertaining colors, shimmering metals, and playful shapes. His designs vary in style and look, but all consistently flatter the shape of the models who wear them. Lagerfeld’s versatility is what makes his runway shows exciting to view, and is why his creative genius has been celebrated for decades. Lagerfeld is not only well-renowned for his designs, but also his “stamina”. Lagerfeld was able to create numerous different collections for Chanel each year (eight to be exact), and even created his own collection on the side.

While Lagerfeld is well-known for his eye-catching designs, he is also known for his controversial opinions and actions. Lagerfeld’s legacy and the notion of celebrating him has been questioned countless times as it is well-known in the fashion world that he had some strong, and even offensive, opinions that he didn’t mind sharing.

There are numerous instances where Lagerfeld has made inappropriate and rude comments about the bodies of women in the fashion and entertainment industry, like Adele and Hedi Klum whom, according to Vogue, he called “too heavy.” Lagerfeld has also made misogynist comments about feminism, and even went as far as putting a model in both black face and yellow face. Even though most of Lagerfeld’s offensive comments are very public, many in the industry are quick to overlook them due to Lagerfeld’s creative and his unique designs.

Lagerfeld has some controversial opinions and has made offensive statements, but his designs and artistic opinions remain celebrated in the fashion industry, and the mark that he has left on fashion and numerous top fashion houses like Fenti and Chanel is irreplaceable. Lagerfeld truly had some genius designs, but his art doesn’t excuse his comments and actions. The legacy of his designs and art will live on for generations, but it is important to acknowledge that his art doesn’t excuse his actions and the extremely insensitive comments he made. Overall, Lagerfeld’s designs should be celebrated, but his actions and comments should not be, and in order to better the fashion industry in general it is important to not excuse behavior like that so that the industry can be a safe place for everyone.