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Showbiz, fashion elite honor Lagerfeld at Met Gala

By Maggy Donaldson and Andrea Bambino / AFP Published May 02, 2023 9:22 am

Fashion's party of the year is finally here—A-listers celebrated the late king of couture, Karl Lagerfeld, at Monday's annual Met Gala, strutting up the red carpet in a spectacular array of designs from his storied career.

Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman, singers Dua Lipa and Rita Ora, retired tennis legend Roger Federer and supermodels Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss were just some of the hundreds of invitees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the glamorous event.

The guest list that brings together elites from the worlds of fashion, film, politics and sports—along with a growing list of online influencers—is tightly curated by Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue who took over the charity gala in the 1990s and transformed it into one of the world's buzziest fetes.

This year, the extravaganza—which always falls on the first Monday of May, save for a pandemic-era schedule change—celebrates Lagerfeld, and ushers in the opening of a Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to the iconic designer, who died in 2019.

"Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" pays homage to his decades in the industry at the helm of Chanel, Fendi, Chloe and his own line, all the while molding the future of fashion.

And the celebs in attendance understood the style assignment, most of them sporting vintage looks from the elegant German-born designer— himself known for his signature sleek black suits, a white-powdered ponytail and dark glasses.

Kidman sported a blush Chanel gown that cascaded to the floor in feathers—which she first wore in an ad for the house's iconic No. 5 perfume nearly 20 years ago.

"I'm so glad I'm still able to wear it," she told AFP on the red carpet.

Nicole Kidman

Dua Lipa wore a cream-colored bridal gown Lagerfeld designed for Chanel in the 1990s, accented with black stitches and accessorized with a stunning Tiffany diamond necklace she said was taken from the jeweler's vault.

Dua Lipa

Actress Olivia Wilde reached into another archive, wearing a Chloe "violin" gown designed by Lagerfeld in the 1980s. 

Most everyone wore shades of black, white and cream. Constructed bodices were definitely trending.

Olivia Wilde

Of course, Lagerfeld is not controversy-proof—despite his own public struggle with his weight, he criticized curvy women. And late in life, he derided the #MeToo movement and those who came forward with claims of sexual misconduct.

"The show is really focusing on Karl the designer, his works rather than his words," said Costume Institute head curator Andrew Bolton. "We haven't included any of his more controversial or offensive comments."

'Immense talent'

The night at the museum on New York's emblematic Fifth Avenue belonged to Lagerfeld's fans and his famous friends.

Wintour, who was close to Lagerfeld for decades, appeared, as the high priestess of fashion almost always does, in Chanel.

Anna Wintour and Bill Nighy

Carla Bruni, a former model and once the first lady of France, told AFP before the gala that it was an "honor to be here today to celebrate the extraordinary career of my dear friend."

She remembered Lagerfeld for his "immense talent," "creative power" and "bewitching charm" but lauded him most of all for his kindness.

This year, Wintour invited Cruz, actress Michaela Coel, Federer and Dua Lipa to co-chair the gala.

The guest list was shrouded in secrecy until the main event, but some 400 people are reportedly expected.

The ball is invitation-only, with single tickets costing $50,000 and tables starting at $300,000. (AFP)