Vintage Looks, Cat Motifs Highlighted In Met Gala Theme


Courtesy of US News

Lil Nas X dressed up as Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, for the Gala.

Any Met Gala that allows celebrities to delve deep into archival, vintage looks is a win. This year, the theme, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” was simply stated and left relatively little room open for interpretation, unlike themes of years past, which have led to all sorts of fashion disasters — think “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in 2019.

Still, it’s hard to characterize the results of this year’s theme as anything but random because it hones in so specifically on one man — Karl Lagerfeld and his career — and the figurative catalogue designers pulled from to dress their celebrities being not necessarily accessible for the majority of people, even the most fashion-forward. Perhaps, then, the gala is returning to its roots of celebrating fashion and the museum’s upcoming exhibit and away from the recent surge in influencers at the gala that may have resulted from Instagram sponsoring the event in 2021 and 2022.

Some are calling this a gala full of outrageous looks. This label is thrown around every year, but there are certainly a few contenders for wacky.

The elephant in the room of the gala was shaped like a cat. There were not one, but three homages to Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette: Doja Cat, dressed in Oscar de la Renta, looked like she was running late to film for the movie Cats; Jared Leto wore an oversized, overly realistic fursuit; and Lil Nas X wore a thong and was literally bedazzled in silver body paint, complete with sparkly ears and whiskers.

One guest whose outfit lost me was Vogue’s live stream correspondent Emma Chamberlain. It was hard not to see her Miu Miu two-piece as another variation on her denim maxi skirts and blazers, though this one was cropped and frayed over some assembly of what looked like a Cartier bejeweled bodysuit. Rihanna, in Valentino couture, had a transforming look that may have overdone the homage to the camellia flower as a symbol of Chanel. However, the larger issue — though it’s hard to get larger than her camellias — may have been how A$AP Rocky looked standing next to her in plaid. That said, maybe he was right to allow her radiant self the entire spotlight while he just looked slightly out of place.

Still, many adhered to the elegance of Chanel haute couture, a longtime speciality of Lagerfeld. One of the co-chairs of the gala, Dua Lipa, had one of the more stunning archival looks, wearing a gorgeous, exquisite, perfect 1992 Chanel fall-winter bridal dress designed by Lagerfeld. With that, she was the first ever to sport the outrageous over 200-carat Tiffany necklace, paying homage to the original yellow Tiffany diamond. Penélope Cruz, another co-chair, was also beautifully composed in a vintage gown, this one from Chanel’s 1988 spring-summer haute couture collection.

Designer Tory Burch dressed Phoebe Bridgers fabulously. One of the most striking parts of Burch’s designs was her adherence to Lagerfeld’s designs within the Chanel archives while incorporating motifs like Bridgers’ staple skeleton.

While there were three Choupettes, there were far more Lagerfeld lookalikes, and attempts at replicating his look. Teyana Taylor, in Thom Brown tweed, looked incredibly elegant despite the difficulty posed by walking more than a few feet in a skirt so tight. Cara Delevigne, a former muse of Lagerfeld’s, dressed like him as well, wearing a platinum wig for the role. Jessica Chastain, however, bleached her hair to pull it off. Kendell Jenner was Lagerfeld if he had nicer legs.

Since this is Oberlin, Kristen Stewart’s look can’t be forgotten. If Chamberlain’s cropped suit-top was effectively a fail, Stewart’s was a win that, quite frankly, would be sacrilegious not to mention — though the shoes lost me just a bit. She, of course, was in vintage Chanel, so perhaps that’s the key.