Met Gala Controversy

By: Brianna Hollie

This Monday, May 1st, the 2023 Met Gala was held in Manhattan, New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and featured a number of fascinating celebrity looks. The met gala is an event fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, and it is attended by the most fashion forward actors, models, music stars, and even politicians of the time. The Met Gala is commonly considered to be the worlds “most prestigious and glamorous fashion event and social gathering” and is known as “the biggest night in fashion.” The theme of this years Met Gala was “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of beauty” in honor of the infamous German fashion design, Karl Lagerfeld who sadly passed away in February of 2019. This theme is inspired by the Costume’s Institute’s major exhibition for the year, which was later unveiled at the event.

In a large celebrity event, it is not improbable for there to be a bit of controversy, like with many past Met Gala looks, including political A.O.C’s (Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) “tax the rich” dress which she debuted at the 2021 Met Gala. However, with the 2023 Met Gala, controversy sparked before the event took place. Critics and people expressed their disapproval of the theme early on. As previously stated, the theme of this years Met Gala was in honor of the late Karl Lagerfeld, who was said to be notorious for his “sharp tongue and seeming lack of filter, both of which deployed often and on many topics.”

Karl Lagerfeld who had a history of fatphobic, racist, and misogynistic comments, is not exactly remembered fondly by the twitter fashion community as well as a few celebrities attending the Met Gala. It can be inferred that certain celebrities such as Zendaya, Blake Lively, and Harry Styles kindly declined their Met Gala invitations when hearing of the theme. The twitter fashion community wasted no time when it came to expressing their frustrations when it came to the problematic behaviors of Lagerfeld. For example, a twitter user and HFT Met Gala Coordinator told TIME magazine “a lot of us are actually part of the communities that Karl Lagerfeld has targeted in his hateful speech… and a lot of the people who participate in our event are part of those communities as well…part of his [Lagerfeld] legacy are harmful things that’s he’s said and we don’t want to partake in celebrating that.”

Some celebrities took the opportunity of being invited to the Met to express their disapproval of Karl Lagerfeld’s problematic past. For example, actress Viola Davis kindly walked the Met Gala red carpet in a hot pink gown with a fur pink like fuzzy top and posed for photographers in spite of Karl Lagerfeld, who was said to strongly loathe the color pink. Other celebrities, when asked of the controversy, quickly deflected the question and said that their main purpose for attending he event was for the fashion and to have a good time and not particularly for the theme. These celebrities included Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney and none other than the talented Doja Cat.

In the events of the 2023 Met Gala, it seems the ghost of Karl Lagerfeld did what he did best and spike controversy. However, the 2023 Met Gala still went perfectly as planned and everyone showed up in elegant pieces of clothing, whether that be in honor or dishonor of the theme, and had a great time despite the public discourse.


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