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Met Gala Honors Late Fashion Design Icon Karl Lagerfeld

As the first Monday in May approaches, so does the Met Gala

The Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, one of the most highly anticipated events in fashion, is set to take place on May 1 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This year’s theme, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” curated by Andrew Bolton has a dress code “in honor of Karl” and will celebrate the late German fashion design icon.

With deep roots in the fashion industry, Lagerfeld designed for brands including Chloé, Chanel, Fendi and more. He was also the founder of namesake brand Karl Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld‘s vision caught the attention of apparel giants. G-III Apparel Group Ltd.—the Donna Karan owner that designs, manufactures and markets women’s and men’s apparel —and Lagerfeld entered a joint venture agreement in 2016, expanding his brand into the North American market. Lagerfeld became such a “hot brand” that G-III Apparel Group began seeking additional retail space for his label in 2019 despite the company’s plans to trim its owned stores.

Last year, G-III Apparel Group acquired the remaining 81 percent stake in Karl Lagerfeld, which chief financial officer and treasurer Neal Nackman said at the time of the announcement would expand the label’s reach and bring it into new product categories.

Further growing his retail empire, the designer’s fashion brand entered into a multiyear license agreement with Italy’s Giada SpA for the production and distribution of the new denim line in 2019. Last year, the brand introduced Karl Lagerfeld Jeans, adding to its extensive product range that covers ready-to-wear, footwear, small leather goods, fragrances and eyewear.

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The Costume Institute will pay homage to Lagerfeld’s work by displaying approximately 150 pieces created throughout his career, featuring garments from the 1950s to his final collection in 2019. Additionally, a display of Lagerfeld’s sketches—which showcase his creative process—will bring viewers inside his “unique working methodology,” according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

“The exhibition will explore Lagerfeld’s complex working methodology, tracing the evolution of his fashions from the two-dimensional to the three-dimensional,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu curator in charge at The Costume Institute. “The fluid lines of his sketches found expression in recurring aesthetic themes in his fashions . . . creating a diverse and prolific body of work unparalleled in the history of fashion.”

This year’s Met Gala will be co-chaired by five prominent figures from the worlds of film, sports, music and fashion: Spanish actress Penélope Cruz, British screenwriter Michaela Coel, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, Grammy-Award-winning pop star Dua Lipa and editor-in-chief of American Vogue—and permanent co-chair—Anna Wintour. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently petitioned the co-chairs to ban feathers on the red carpet. 

“Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most captivating, prolific and recognizable forces in fashion and culture, known as much for his extraordinary designs and tireless creative output as for his legendary persona,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French director of The Met. “This immersive exhibition will unpack his singular artistic practice, inviting the public to experience an essential part of Lagerfeld’s boundless imagination and passion for innovation.”

Lily-Rose Melody Depp and Karl Lagerfeld during the Chanel Spring Summer 2017 show at Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 24, 2017. Peter White/Getty Images

With a dress code of “gilded glamor, white-tie,” the 2022 Met Gala was themed “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” Attendees understood the assignment, arriving gussied up in metallics, sparkle and satin. Amber Valletta, Cardi B, Camila Mendes and Khloe Kardashian were among the celebrities who took the “gilded” to heart in gold gowns, while supermodel Cara Delevingne showed up covered in gold body paint.

While the guest list is kept under wraps until the evening before the event, this year’s notable attendees are rumored to include Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Naomi Campbell—one of his many muses—and other models featured on the latest issue of American Vogue.