French singer and model Carla Bruni remembered Karl Lagerfeld for his ‘immense talent’ — © AFP
Maggy DONALDSON, and Andrea Bambino
Fashion’s party of the year is finally here — A-listers are set to celebrate the late king of couture, Karl Lagerfeld, at Monday’s annual Met Gala, whose red carpet annually serves as the ultimate spectacle of glitz and excess.
The glamorous event — which sees hundreds of celebrities strut up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a night that raises millions of dollars every year — is sure to light social media ablaze with the top looks.
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.
Already early in the day, fans were gathering under blue skies on New York’s emblematic Fifth Avenue outside the museum to get the best vantage points for seeing the stars.
“We got here at, like, 8:00 or 9:00 am,” said 18-year-old university student Joseph Pogoda. “It’s a lot of fun to see celebrities that you like watching in TV shows and movies, and you like their music, like Lil Nas X.”
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” is set to pay 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.
Celebs in attendance are expected to dress on-theme, which will probably mean a parade of vintage silhouettes from the elegant German-born designer — himself known for his signature sleek black suits, a white-powdered ponytail and dark glasses.
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 curator Andrew Bolton. “We haven’t included any of his more controversial or offensive comments.”
– ‘Immense talent’ –
The night is expected to belong to Lagerfeld’s fans and his famous friends.
Wintour, who was close to Lagerfeld for decades, is sure to appear, as she always does, in Chanel.
Carla Bruni, a former model and once the first lady of France, told AFP at the press preview for the Lagerfeld exhibition 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.”
The high priestess of fashion this year invited actors Penelope Cruz and Michaela Coel, retired tennis legend Roger Federer and pop phenom Dua Lipa to co-chair the gala.
The guest list is shrouded in secrecy until the main event, but some 400 people are reportedly expected.
On Fifth Avenue, Pogoda said he was hoping to see Oscar-nominated actor Austin Butler (“Elvis”), or Kim Kardashian’s “momager” Kris Jenner.
The ball is invitation-only, with single tickets costing $50,000 and tables starting at $300,000.