Art of Style

The Met Gala 2023: Everything You Need To Know

Cindy Crawford, Karl Lagerfeld and Claudia Schiffer, during the Chanel fashion show in Paris, 1993

As one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar, the Met Gala 2023 marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s style exhibition – and has long been celebrated for its zeitgeist-defining outfits and sumptuous red-carpet glamour. By KARA KIA

Fashion

What is the 2023 Met Gala theme?

The Met Gala returns to New York’s Fifth Avenue on Monday, May 1, 2023, for a retrospective exhibition that honors the artistic brilliance of the late Karl Lagerfeld. The Met Gala 2023 theme – Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty – will trace the designer’s evolution from winning the Woolmark Prize in 1954, to being hired as an assistant to Pierre Balmain, and revisits his prolific career at Chanel, Fendi, Balmain, Patou, and his own eponymous brand, until his death in 2019.

The 2023 exhibition will feature 150 original looks from the full extent of Lagerfeld’s portfolio. With a keen focus on his impressionistic and precise sketches, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty will frame the designer’s two-dimensional drawings alongside their three-dimensional counterparts to show how they manifested into living works of art. According to Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, Lagerfeld did not believe fashion belonged in a museum, and instead belongs “on the street, on women’s bodies, on men’s bodies.” To stay true to Lagerfeld’s unique vision and personal proclivities, Bolton is foregoing the traditional format of a retrospective and prioritizing the designer’s original sketches as the centerpiece of the spring 2023 exhibition.

Presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Tisch Gallery from May 5 until July 16, 2023, the interior of Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty will be designed by architect Tadao Ando. The exhibit will also include video interviews with the designer’s former colleagues, shot by Loïc Progent, with creative consultancy by Amanda Harlech, a close colleague of Lagerfeld.

What is the Met Gala?

Founded in 1948 by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as a fundraiser for New York’s recently launched Costume Institute, it was not until 1972 that Vogue’s former editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland transformed the event into a star-studded gala with a glamorous, annual theme hosted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since becoming chairwoman of the Gala in 1995, American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour hosts the yearly event on the first Monday in May and oversees the benefit committee, decides on the guest list, seating arrangements, and approves celebrity outfits.

The last theme of the Met Gala was presented as two parts, In America: An Anthology of Fashion (2022), which explored fashion’s relationship with American cinema, and In America: A Lexicon of Fashion (2021), which celebrated American fashion and design. The last time that the Met Gala focused on the work of a singular designer was in 2017 under the theme Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, which took a closer look at Kawakubo’s deconstructive approach to design, and distortion of the female form.

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