This year’s red carpet welcomes a whole new crop of stars, reflecting the late designer’s penchant for revitalization.
Karl Lagerfeld has long been celebrated as one of fashion’s great purveyors. The late designer’s work shaped many of the world’s most renowned fashion houses, from Balmain to Chloé, Patou to Chanel. The latter marked Lagerfeld’s most significant legacy to date.
In the first quarter of the 20th century, Coco Chanel made her mark in history by redefining women’s fashion, allowing them to move freely and not be caged by their garments. Though the brand shaped the industry for years to come, by the 1980s, it had fallen in status and was considered “near-dead” and “little more than a perfume company” when Lagerfeld was brought on to helm it.
With the behemoth task of reviving the fading brand on his shoulders, the designer did what he did best. In just two years, the brand was yet again receiving rave reviews. In 1985, the New York Times wrote, “He has succeeded in bringing the Chanel image into the modern age.”
To this day, thanks to Lagerfeld, Chanel is considered one of the most profitable luxury brands, valued at over $15 billion.
Today, the Metropolitan Museum of Art honors the designer as the subject of its latest exhibition, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty. Despite his many statements about fashion, including “Fashion is not art—fashion belongs on the street, on women’s bodies, on men’s bodies,” Lagerfeld’s impact on the world could not be denied.
Over the years, the designer pioneered an approach well-known today: forging famed partnerships with his eminent muses. More than plain mannequins, Lagerfeld chose personalities and style icons. This began with Inés de la Fressange, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, and Stella Tennant in the ’80s and ’90s.
As Hollywood became a natural extension of the fashion industry in the early aughts, thanks to the likes of Anna Wintour, Lagerfeld too became an early adopter. He brought on the likes of Nicole Kidman, Diane Kruger, Julian Moore, Tilda Swinton, and Kiera Knightley. In recent years, retaining his eye for spotting talent, Lagerfeld brought on fresh talents like Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, Kaia Gerber, Willow Smith, and Margot Robbie. The latter became his last muse selected before his passing.
Many of these women were in attendance at the gala, including Kidman who donned the signature gown she wore during her 2004 ad for Chanel, which was directed by Baz Luhrmann. In continuing with his legacy for modernity and his penchant for capturing the current zeitgeist in his work, this year’s Met Gala attendees also featured a whole new generation of stars, which would have made Lagerfeld proud.
Ice Spice was invited as Vogue’s Special Guest during fashion’s biggest night out. Alongside her were the likes of Doja Cat, Jenna Ortega, Maya Hawke, Jennie Kim, Sydney Sweeney, Bella Ramsey, Conan Gray, Stephanie Hsu, Madelyn Cline, Olivia Rodrigo, Yung Miami, and many more fresh stars. They were joined by fashion staples and Chanel muses, such as Nicole Kidman, Vittoria Ceretti, Kristen Stewart, Suki Waterhouse, Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, and Miranda Kerr.
With head curator of the Anna Wintour Costume Center Andrew Bolton at the helm, Lagerfeld’s exhibit surely would have changed the designer’s mind about clothing in museums.