Four celebrities have been named 2023 Met Gala co-chairs after presumably passing Anna Wintour’s vibe check. I May Destroy You director, actor, and producer Michaela Coel — who recently made her Marvel debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — will chair the fashion extravaganza alongside Oscar-winning actor Penélope Cruz, pop star Dua Lipa, tennis champion Roger Federer, and, as always, Wintour herself. The late Karl Lagerfeld — who worked with major fashion houses throughout his storied career — will be the subject of this year’s event and corresponding Costume Institute exhibition, giving celebrity stylists yet another chance to scour the globe for the most off-theme, eyebrow-raising, or spooky archival looks — perhaps Kim Kardashian will find another dead person’s dress? Considering the acclaimed designer’s feelings about fashion in museums, the choice might have taken him by surprise in life and could even rattle him in death.
“Karl never tired of telling me that fashion did not belong in a museum,” Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, told Vogue in September. “When we worked on the Chanel show together, he was incredibly generous in what he lent, but he was completely disinterested in the exhibition itself! He would say, ‘Fashion is not art — fashion belongs on the street, on women’s bodies, on men’s bodies.’” Well, Lagerfeld, the Met begs to differ. His body of work is so influential and substantive — from his own line to posts at Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, and Chanel — that the museum is putting it on display anyway in “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.”
Bolton was inspired to do the exhibition at Lagerfeld’s Paris memorial service in 2019. As people spoke about Lagerfeld’s love for translating a 2-D design into 3-D pieces, Bolton had an aha moment: Rather than a traditional retrospective (“For one thing, I think Karl would have hated that,” he said), Lagerfeld’s sketches would anchor the exhibition. Hopefully, he can send some of these sketches around to the Met Gala guest list come May 1.
This post has been updated.