Controversy at the MET: Who was Karl Lagerfeld?


The Met Gala, which is held annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, always has a theme for guests to incorporate into their outfits. The event has not had a person-centric theme since 2017, when they honored Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, but this year’s Met Gala theme was “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” in honor of the late fashion designer, who died in 2019 at age 85.

Lagerfeld spent nearly his entire lifetime fascinated by the world of design. He popularized Chanel again after it had become a nearly dead company in the 80s, showed off collections at Paris Fashion Week, and was the creative director of Fendi, an Italian luxury fashion house that specializes in fur and leather.

Although Lagerfeld’s legacy in the fashion world was unquestionably significant, there has been a lot of controversy about his character. He has been reported to have made all sorts of demeaning comments about women, fat people, gay marriage and immigrants.

In reference to plus-size models, he stated in a 2009 interview, “No one wants to see curvy women.”

“What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened,” Lagerfeld told Numero Magazine in regard to the #MeToo movement. “Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses.”

Only a handful of celebrities have spoken out against this year’s theme; some Met Gala attendees wore pink, a color that Lagerfeld despised, as a way to subtly throw shade, but others like Jameela Jamil, an actress best known for “The Good Place,” doesn’t think it was enough.

On an Instagram post with 254,445 likes, Jamil stated:

“Last night Hollywood and fashion said the quiet part out loud when a lot of famous feminists chose to celebrate at the highest level, a man who was so publicly cruel to women, to fat people, to immigrants, and to sexual assault survivors. And all the women’s publications, and spectators online, chose to gleefully ignore it. Suddenly your appetite to find someone’s tweets from when they were 12, has gone. Nobody has perfect morals, least of all me, but Jesus Christ we had a year to course correct here, and not award the highest honor possible to a known bigot… and everyone just decided all of a sudden we can seperate the art from the artist when it’s *convenient*. And it’s one rule for us, and another rule for everybody else. Last night we relinquished our right to be taken at all seriously about anything important.”

“I was going to say… several people had F.U. outfits on and we shouldn’t overlook them in the slightest. There was Pink. There was curvy silhouettes, there were shenanigans…….. not everyone there was celebrating,” a commenter posted on her Instagram page.

Jamil replied, “yeah they [REDACTED] were. They’re all very outspoken people who didn’t say anything beyond a color that they probably didn’t know he doesn’t like. A lot of people spoke about the pink choice as just being fun. If you wanna go and make a statement then make a statement, don’t just lightly suggest while you 100 percent endorse the entire occasion. Let’s not water down what these incredibly powerful people are capable.”

Although most of the public has turned a blind eye to the controversial statements, many news outlets have reported on them, calling for attention to the hypocrisy of the Met Gala attendees.