Just four short years after his death, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that on May 1st the theme for the annual MET Gala would be “Karl Lagerdeld: A Line of Beauty”. While he was known for sporting his black sunglasses and white ponytail, the work he did for Chanel, Fendi, Chloe, and his own eponymous brand has left a lasting impact on the fashion world.
Karl Lagerfeld began his career by winning a coat design competition in 1955. After his victory, he was asked to become Pierre Balmain’s assistant and worked for the couture house for three years before moving to work for Jean Patou. For the years following, he spent in different couture houses or freelance designing until he was asked by the chairman of Chanel in 1982 to become the head designer for the brand.
When he began at Chanel, he had a big challenge ahead of him. The brand was no longer the prominent fashion house it was during Coco Chanel’s life; after her death, the brand shifted its focus to fragrances and accessories since the Chanel style was so strictly established already. Karl Lagerfeld was able to use the image that Coco Chanel had created for her brand and through his designs introduced Chanel to a younger generation. Many credit Lagerfeld to be the reason Chanel is still successful today, and of course, we can thank Lagerfeld for designing the iconic Chanel logo.
While it will be interesting to see how other designers play with Lagerfeld’s style, there are also high controversies regarding this theme. During his career, Karl Lagerfeld has made fatphobic comments towards celebrities, and despite being gay, he has said that he is against gay marriage. A year before his death, he also disapproved of the #MeToo Movement and said that if models didn’t want to get their clothes pulled around, they should “join a nunnery”. Despite these comments, Lagerfeld’s iconic image has remained mostly unscathed as his MET recognition shows, but it will be interesting to see how and if celebrities take a stand against those ideas on the night of the event (perhaps even see who decides to reject their invitation).
While we won’t be able to see celebrities walking up the MET steps until May 1st, fashion houses are starting to prepare for the night already, and only time will tell how through clothing, different designers honor Karl Lagerfeld on fashion’s biggest night.
By: Erika Daniela Escobedo