Label Volunteer, Kristiyana Hristova, recaps the 2023 Met Gala – the good and the bad – all of which explored Karl Lagerfeld’s designs and influence.

The met gala held on Monday, first of May, inevitably brought a lot of excitement, and the internet exploded with videos of people discussing it. The theme for the infamous fashion event this year was ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A line of Beauty’ to honour the German designer who worked as a creative director for notorious fashion houses such as Channel and Fendi and even got his own brand named after him. Some people were unsatisfied with the theme and were quick to point out that it is problematic as it is believed that Karl Lagerfeld didn’t like curvy models, which leads to potential criticisms of fatphobia. On top of that, he is considered to have been sexist due to misogynistic comments made during his lifetime. However, controversial or not, the main role of the Met Gala theme is to show off the notable designs he worked on and explore them. 

As for every Met Gala, this year there were a lot of breath-taking outfits and others which were disappointing. The theme was clear and the celebrities attending had the option to choose between featuring one of Karl’s designs or something that represented the designer in a certain way. The most common elements incorporated into the looks of the night were tweed, monochrome colours, the flower camellia, white shirt with black tie and even Karl’s cat. 

Most of the celebrities wore vintage couture and showed up in exceptionally looking attires. Nevertheless, some celebrities and their designers clearly didn’t understand the assignment at hand and received a lot a criticism from the public. 

Let’s look back at the best dressed celebrities. First, to set up the example of successful looks, and then continue with the worst looks and why they failed to win the public’s approval. 

Starting off with Michelle Yeoh who looked extremely sophisticated in a tuxedo-inspired white ball dress designed by Karl Lagerfeld himself combined with voluminous sleeves and elegant silver jewels.

Next Penelope Cruz wore a bridal gown from Chanel 1988 summer collection with a sheer veil over her head. The beautiful features of the actress truly added something to the dress, and it worked out perfectly. 

Anne Hathaway was magnificent in her Versace strapless tweed white gown with pearls all over it, 3D camellia, matching sleeves and slashes held by golden safety pins. It was no surprise that she showed up wearing Versace given her current collaboration with the brand. The designers of the house did an excellent job at combining the brand’s symbolic safety pins with tweed and pearls, typical of Karl’s style.

Anok Yai looked fabulous in Prabal Gurung attire inspired by 1993 Chanel couture. It was a strapless mini glittery dress shaped as a chandelier from which crystals were hanging. The golden and silver colours were matching perfectly with the model’s immaculate glowing skin, thus creating a magical effect.

Cardi B wore an opulent black ball gown designed with the typical Karl shirt collar with a tie by the Chinese designer Chen Peng. The lower part of her attire included a massive skirt made of sculptural rosettes which, as the rapper explained later, were a reference to the renowned Chanel’s quilted bags she adored.

Yara Shahidi wore a mermaid-like Gaultier gown with the upper part referencing a Chanel 90s corset which was the actress’ favourite collection. The lower part consisted of a customised pleated skirt putting an emphasis on the hips. The actress looked amazing in this bronze look.

Bad Bunny was one of the best-dressed men on the red carpet with his immaculate white tweed suit designed by Simon Jacquemus and his enormous shawl made of white roses referencing a look from Karl’s 2005 fall collection. One of the most eye-catching parts of this attire was his blazer which was backless- something almost unheard of and extraordinary for men’s fashion.

Another man who also out did himself in his appearance was Jeremy Pope. He showed up in a 30-foot-long black and white chiffon cape on which there were a massive portrait of Karl Lagerfeld. Additionally, the actor wore flared black trousers which, although plain, completed the look perfectly.


Despite all of these incredible looks, there is one that most certainly stood out. Dua Lipa looked gorgeous in a vintage couture bridal gown from the Chanel 1992 Autumn collection. Not surprisingly, the gown was made of tweed in a lovely creamy white colour beginning with drop-wait trimmed with black and silver threads, darts, lineage and ending with a long white skirt. Moreover, the actress was the first to wear the unique Tiffany & Co 100 carat diamond necklace which was inspired by the original legendary yellow Tiffany diamond. Overall, what makes this look so stunning is its effortless and simplistic style. Dua Lipa shared that this dress was on her mood board for a long time, and she was glad that there is finally an occasion to wear it. Even though the jacket and the hat from the original design weren’t included, the recreation is still masterfully done.

Now let’s look at the worst looks of the night. 

Firstly, two celebrities interpreted the theme in a slightly distinct manner and decided to dress as Karl’s favourite cat- Choupette.  

Doja Cat wore a wonderful dress but distorted the aesthetic of it by wearing prosthetics to make her face look like a cat and meowing all night, even during her interview.  

Even worse than that,  Jared Ledo tried to reference Choupette by wearing a full-size fuzzy costume of a cat. Apparently, that was entirely Jared’s idea, and he persuaded his designer to create the costume in incredible detail and as similar to the actual cat as he possibly could. The costume was made of synthetic fur painted to resemble all shades of white on Choupette. However, if we put aside the fact that a lot of work went into it, overall it just looks out of place next to all the glamorous looks of the night.

The Kardashians disappointed this year. Normally grabbing all attention and provoking with their outfits, this year they didn’t really try to appear intriguing. Kim attempted to pay homage to Karl by layering plain nude corset and skirt with a vast number of draped strings of pearls. However, the pearls were too much, even for Karl’s taste, and nothing besides them really represented his style. Kylie and Kendall weren’t exactly on theme with the former wearing Jean Paul Gaultier dress with shoulder cut-out in red, which didn’t suit the colour palette of the event and the latter in Marcs Jacobs bodysuit which became more of an attempt to follow the new ‘no pants’ trend than to pay homage to Karl.

Even though there were a lot of controversies surrounding the Met gala, it still remains one of the most glamorous and significant fashion events of the year. Although problematic in many aspects, as it promotes classism and increases the gap between the poor and the rich, the Met Gala has its positive side. One of them, for example, is that it can provide inspiration for artists and other creatives by showcasing iconic pieces – not only of clothing but jewellery and accessories as well. 

Article edited by: Rebecca Pearson

Header designed by: Sarim Mangi


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