Met Gala 2023: What is the dress code for event honouring Karl Lagerfeld?

Vogue has announced the dress code of the 2023 Met Gala, which will honour the late Karl Lagerfeld.

The biggest night in fashion is set to return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 1 May 2023, in celebration of the Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”.

According to Vogue, which first revealed the controversial theme last year, the annual fashion event will also pay homage to the designer through the dress code: “In honour of Karl”.

Vogue shared new details about the Met Gala’s dress code, and what we can expect from the red carpet on the star-studded night, on Wednesday 18 January, when the fashion outlet revealed that there are a few “wondrous ways” guests can “salute one of fashion’s greats”.

“Lagerfeld, lest you forget, designed for a handful of houses - Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous brand - so there’s a rich trove of materials, eras, and aesthetics to mine for inspiration,” the outlet noted.

However, according to Vogue, which hosts the annual fundraiser each year under the instruction of editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, attendees are expected to interpret, and follow, the theme in one of three ways.

Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld were close friends before his death in 2019 (Getty)
Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld were close friends before his death in 2019 (Getty)

“The first, most authentic approach would be to wear an archival look from one of the labels Lagerfeld led,” Vogue stated.

According to Vogue, a perfect example for guests who choose this approach would be an “archival Balmain frock dating between 1955 and 1968,” when Lagerfeld worked as Pierre Balmain’s assistant.

Or, attendees could find inspiration in the vintage looks created during Lagerfeld’s time as head designer of Patou in the late 1950s, or from the years he helmed Parisian label Chloé, from 1963 to 1983, and then later, from 1992 to 1997.

Vintage Fendi is also not out of the question, as Vogue noted those on the Met Gala’s celebrity guest list may choose an outfit from Lagerfeld’s time leading the designer label. “Most any vintage Fendi red carpet ensemble would feel right at home at this year’s Met Gala,” the outlet wrote.

As for the second approach, Vogue said guests may decide to pay tribute to the late designer with a “modern-day” look from Chanel or Fendi, “two houses on which Lagerfeld left an indelible impression”.

“From 1982 until his death in 2019, Lagerfeld’s care of Chanel vividly coloured his legacy,” the fashion magazine wrote, while recalling the Chanel couture dress worn by Lily-Rose Depp at the 2019 Met Gala for the theme: “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” “It goes without saying that those vying for modern-day Chanel and Fendi pieces will not disappoint.”

The third and final interpretation, and “perhaps most obvious,” according to Vogue, will be to “dress à la Lagerfeld,” a direction the outlet said might include finding a “Choupette all your own”. Choupette Lagerfeld, a white cat, was the late designer’s beloved pet and occasional muse, while Lagerfeld himself was known for favouring black suits with starched white collars, dark sunglasses, a ponytail and gloves.

Although Vogue acknowledged there are multiple ways to approach the theme, the outlet has reminded its hand-selected attendees that what matters most is “originality”.

Lagerfeld attended the Met Gala multiple times, including in 2008 (Getty Images)
Lagerfeld attended the Met Gala multiple times, including in 2008 (Getty Images)
Lagerfeld also attended the 2010 Met Gala (Getty Images)
Lagerfeld also attended the 2010 Met Gala (Getty Images)

“Which route will secure a glamorous attendee a spot on our best-dressed list? A look with originality! Lagerfeld, we guess, would have hated a half-hearted homage, and with such an immense oeuvre, guests shouldn’t have any trouble unearthing a one-of-a-kind piece,” Vogue wrote, adding: “No matter which way guests go, the assignment is clear: Let’s do him proud!”

In addition to confirming the dress code for the upcoming event, which has proven contentious considering the designer’s history of controversial comments and beliefs, Vogue also revealed the co-chairs of the 2023 Met Gala.

According to the outlet, the event, which has officially returned to its pre-pandemic schedule of the first Monday in May, will be co-chaired by Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz, Roger Federer, and Dua Lipa.