Karl Lagerfeld attended many Met Costume Institute Exhibitions, including the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2011 and (naturally) the Chanel presentation in 2005. His presence was expected, and also surely an honor, as he’d long established himself as a force in fashion from when he shared the 1954 Woolmark Prize with another emerging designer named Yves Saint Laurent and continued to create iconic collections for Balmain, Patou, Chanel, and others, including his eponymous brand. So, indubitably, this is why the 2023 Met Gala theme will be Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty. As the date approaches, more details will come, but for now, here’s what’s known.
According to Vogue, the Costume Institute’s Wendy Yu Curator in Charge Andrew Bolton has been tasked with assembling the exhibition, while Amanda Harlech, who was long associated with Lagerfeld, will serve as a creative consultant. It sounds like after much consideration, he’s devised a plan that will make for a celebration of the designer’s work in a way that he would respect: “One thing I knew for certain is that we could not do a traditional retrospective,” he told the magazine. “For one thing, I think Karl would have hated that. Even though one of his facets was that he was a historicist, and he would revisit themes in his work, he was always looking to the future in his own work — he hated looking back at the past. It was something he had a very conflicted relationship with.”
Roughly 150 original looks, from all the houses he served at and his own line, will show up alongside their respective original sketches. Video interviews with the premiers whom he worked with at those same fashion houses, shot by journalist and director Loïc Prigent, will offer even more insight into the designer’s life and work. Plus, the site’s interior is designed by architect Tadao Ando, who Bolton said once designed a house for Lagerfeld that was never built. In A Line of Beauty, he’ll bring some of its elements into the fold.
The chief sponsor of the exhibition will be Chanel, with additional support slated to come from Fendi, Condé Nast, and Karl Lagerfeld the fashion brand. Per tradition, the presentation will be set up at The Met Fifth Avenue and revealed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Spring 2023 Costume Institute Exhibition on May 1. Then, it will be accessible to the general public from May 5 through July 16, 2023.