Warning: This article discusses sexual assault.
Following the announcement of the Met Gala 2023 theme, celebrities have no doubt already started preparing for fashion's most influential night – which always takes place on the first Monday in May. But over on social media, fans of the glamorous event aren't happy, and it's all to do with next year's theme which is a tribute to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
The Metropolitan Museum's exhibition – 'Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty' – will see around 150 pieces paired with Lagerfeld's original sketches, and those on the guestlist for the Met Gala will design their looks around the theme. But, the decision to 'honour' Lagerfield – who passed away in 2019 – has sparked controversy online due to things he allegedly said and did throughout his time in the public eye.
In 2009 Lagerfeld said that "no one wants to see round women", later making a string of upsetting comments including calling Adele "a little too fat" and Heidi Klum "too heavy". He also claimed Coco Chanel wasn't a feminist because she "was never ugly enough for that."
The Met Gala's upcoming theme has also reignited conversations about the accusations of sexual assault made against Lagerfeld. "If you don't want your pants pulled about, don't become a model!" he once said in an interview with the fashion magazine Numéro at the height of the #MeToo movement. "Join a nunnery, there'll always be a place for you in the convent."
After the announcement of next year's theme, critics took to social media to condemn the move. One of them was The Good Place star and body confidence activist, Jameela Jamil, who said: "This man... was indeed, supremely talented, but used his platform in such a distinctly hateful way, mostly toward women, so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life, showing no remorse, offering no atonement, no apology, no help to groups he attacked."
The 36-year-old continued: “Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out who aren't bigoted white men?
"We didn't fight all this shit just to throw it all away because some white guy made some pretty clothes for people's skinny faves... come on now."
And she wasn’t the only one shocked with the choice in theme. "Karl Lagerfeld defended the sexual assault of models and contributed to the stigma around coming forward years after an assault. He will be rewarded next year as the theme of 'fashion’s biggest night', because there is no consequence for defending sexual assault," one user tweeted.
"A line of racism, fat phobia and a hatred of the Me Too movement. Excited to see all the ladies celebrate this great lover of women," another user said, with someone else writing: "Regarding the next Met Gala theme focused on Karl Lagerfeld. As much as he contributed to the fashion industry, we should not be celebrating a person who made fatphobic, racist, and sexist comments throughout his career."
Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to the organisers of the Met Gala for comment.
For help with any of the issues discussed in this article, visit: Rape Crisis England & Wales, Rape Crisis Scotland, or Rape Crisis Northern Ireland. RASASC provides emotional and practical support for survivors, families and friends.
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