It's Met Gala 2023! Let's All Pretend Karl Lagerfeld Was Cool!

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A man with white hair and a black-and-white suit with a woman in black wardrobe and glasses.
Imagine wanting to transform yourself into Karl Lagerfeld — and then make your wife Catherine Martin his accessory. Interesting choice, Baz Luhrmann!  (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Oh, hey, look everybody! It’s the first Monday in May! That can mean only one thing: Celebrities trying to out-fashion each other on the Metropolitan Museum’s red carpet in New York. Except that this year’s Met Gala also happened to fall on May Day — a day traditionally dedicated to the workers of the world uniting and pushing back against the powers that be. (Somewhere, in the back of a limo, someone’s assistant was wearing Fruit of the Loom underwear in solidarity.)

Also making the 2023 Met Gala even weirder this year? The damn theme: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty. Lagerfeld was a hateful little man who proudly wore his misogyny, fatphobia and Islamaphobia on his impeccably tailored sleeve. He also spent 36 years of his life working for Chanel — the fashion house founded by known Nazi sympathizer and secret agent, Coco Chanel. Oh, and then there was that time in 2013 when he put Claudia Schiffer in blackface and an afro. Hurray!

Is everyone feeling super awkward and uncomfortable yet? Like Kim Kardashian in that very corseted Thierry Mugler dress at 2019’s Met Gala? Good. Then let’s take a look at the fashion!

Penélope Cruz and Dua Lipa

Two women with pale flawless skin and dark brown hair stand side by side. One is wearing a corseted white dress with black stitching. The other is a wearing a plunging, belted white dress with a transparent white hood.
A nun and a milkmaid walk into a museum… (Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Penélope Cruz arrived in a Chanel take on Elsa from Frozen, while Dua Lipa donned 1992 Chanel that was giving fancy-ass milkmaid. Cruz is a mom of two and therefore a reminder of that time Lagerfeld told a journalist at Interview magazine: “You’re lucky because [your children] are very beautiful. It would have been difficult to have an ugly daughter.” He continued: “If I were a woman, I would love to have lots of kids. But for men, I don’t believe in it.”


Salma Hayek

A striking movie star stands on a red carpet wearing a red, tiered gown and bodice, hand on her hip. Photographers are lined up behind her.
Salma Hayek: 10 out of 10, no notes. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

The iconic actress provided a rare pop of color to the black and white-centric gala, in a stunning red, tiered, full-length gown and rubber bodice. For some reason — maybe because Hayek survived nightmarish harassment by Harvey Weinstein and wrote a powerful essay about it? — I can’t help but think about that time Karl Lagerfeld said he was “fed up” with the #MeToo movement.


“What shocks me most in all of this,” the designer said, “are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened.”

Literally stunning!

Cara Delevingne

A white woman with cropped shaggy silver hair stands on a red carpet surrounded by photographers, fanning out a huge white cape from a mini dress. Her legs are covered with black leather sheaths.
Cara Delevingne being di(la)vine at the 2023 Met Gala. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Cara Delevingne is one of the most in-demand models in the world not just because of her looks, but because of her tough persona and assertive edge. I wonder if she remembers that time in 2018 when Karl Lagerfeld wanted models to stop speaking up for themselves?

“I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing,” Lagerfeld said. “It’s simply too much; from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything. It’s unbelievable. If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model. Join a nunnery. There’ll always be a place for you in the convent.”


Cardi B

A Black woman wearing a dramatic black gown with white sleeveless collared shirt and black tie underneath, stands on the red carpet, gloved arms outstretched. She is wearing a long, straight, silver wig.
Talented rapper and tattooed human, Cardi B. (Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

The rapper arrived in a bell-shaped gown paired with boss-lady collared shirt and black tie. Cardi’s silver wig was a nod to Lagerfeld’s own strange mane, which is super fun when you think about that time the designer said: “I think tattoos are horrible. It’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time.”

Hope you like Pucci, Cardi!

Janelle Monáe

A Black woman wearing a stunned facial expression stands wearing an oversized conical black and white suit coat, held up by a wired underskirt.
Janelle Monáe doing iconic weeble business. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Janelle Monáe upped the theatricality with an avant-garde, oversized, conical-shaped, black and white coat that she later whipped off to reveal a structured, mesh underskirt. While there is zero evidence to support this theory, I am hoping this illusion of largeness was a nod to the time Karl Lagerfeld said: “The hole in social security, it’s also [because of] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat.”


David Byrne

A man in a crisp white suit and casual sneakers stands on a red carpet with a bicycle, smiling.
David Byrne and his bicycle. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Talking Heads legend David Byrne showed up in a crisp white suit with his bicycle — an excellent accessory, tailor-made to get grease all over your couture as you haul it up the stairs. Something about this striking look was reminiscent of the time Karl Lagerfeld declared: “I hate intellectual conversation with intellectuals because I only care about my opinion.”


Lil Nas X

A man in silver body paint and crystal-encrusted face mask strikes a pose in front of a white curtain. He is wearing only a loin cloth.
Lil Nas X in a typically understated silver ensemble. (Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Lil Nas X showed up in a subtle silver number that emphasized his, uh, assets. Because of his status as a queer icon, it’s hard not to think about the time Karl Lagerfeld endorsed marriage equality on the runway, then immediately told everyone he was “less keen” on gay couples being allowed to adopt children.

So awesome!

Michaela Coel

A beautiful black woman with feline features and cornrows wears a heavily beaded gold gown.
A look so perfect, it would have rendered even Karl Lagerfeld speechless. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Holy crap. Michaela Coel looked so dazzling, I briefly stopped thinking about what a troll Karl Lagerfeld was.

Thank you, Michaela Coel, for allowing me to not think about Karl Lagerfeld for three minutes.

Gisele Bündchen

A beautiful woman spins on the red carpet wearing a full-length crystal-beaded gown and a full length feather shrug.
Gisele Bündchen wearing about 57,000 birds. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Giselle had a sparkly, swan-inspired moment on the red carpet, spinning her full-length feather cape for awaiting photographers. It was hard to see all those feathers without recalling the time in 2009 when Karl Lagerfeld insisted on giving his two cents about the use of animal products in couture.

“In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish.” He was also careful to note that the dead animals in question were merely “beasts who would kill us if they could.”

Screw you, fluffy animals!

Lizzo and Jared Leto

A plus-sized Black woman in a full-length black gown covered in strings of white pearls stands on a busy red carpet talking to someone in a giant fluffy cat costume.
Jared Leto, dressed as Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette, chats with Lizzo. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

I was super into watching Lizzo converse with a human-sized cat until I:

(a) found out that the cat costume was, in fact, inhabited by human pretension factory Jared Leto, and,

(b) remembered that time Karl Lagerfeld said of another plus-sized songstress, Adele: “She’s a little too fat but she has a beautiful face.” Later Lagerfeld implied that his unsolicited comments about her physique actually did Adele a favor. “After that,” he said, “she lost eight kilos [17.6 pounds] so I think the message was not that bad.”

Give me strength, Lord.

Doja Cat

A Black woman wearing face enhancements that make her look like a cat poses on the red carpet. She's wearing a silver gown with hood that has cat ear embellishments.
Doja Cat = Literal cat now. Cool. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld)

One time, offering unsolicited commentary about Lana Del Rey’s appearance, Karl Lagerfeld said: “In her photos, she is beautiful. Is she a construct with all her implants?”

How’s this for a construct, Karl? Doja Cat is an actual cat now.

Mic drop!

Ashley Graham

A beautiful white woman wearing a tight fitting pink and black off-the-shoulder gown with embellishments around her ankles, hips and elbows to emphasize her curves.
Ashley Graham in a stunning pink and black off-the-shoulder gown. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld)

Body positivity leader and plus-sized model Ashley Graham was stunning in a figure-hugging gown with embellishments that served to emphasize her curves. One can’t help but wonder how Karl Lagerfeld would receive this look today, given his 2009 statement that: “No one wants to see curvy women.”

Get outta here, you!


May next year’s theme be much, much easier to not think about.