As soon as Vogue announced in October 2022 that the theme for the 2023 Met Gala is 'Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty', the organisers faced heavy backlash and criticism for endorsing a designer who was extremely prejudiced towards several minority groups.
Before the grand event, which was held on 1 May in New York City, social media was abuzz with anticipation for the star-studded charity gala. From which celebrities have been invited to how they'll incorporate this year's theme; netizens were buzzing with excitement.
Lagerfeld, who passed away in 2019, was a renowned fashion designer who worked as the creative director for various fashion giants like Chanel, Fendi and his own flagship label. But here's what you don't know about Lagerfeld's legacy and why his glorification needs questioning:
(This article mentions comments which are fatphobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and can be triggering to sexual assault survivors)
Lagerfeld's Career-Long Fatphobia
In 2012, Lagerfeld made headlines when he called British singer-songwriter Adele "a little too fat," sparking outrage from fans and fellow musicians alike. He also body-shamed Heidi Klum after she gave birth in 2009, stating that she was "too heavy" to be a model.
His fatphobic comments extended beyond just individual celebrities.
In a 2013 interview with German magazine Focus he unabashedly claimed, "Nobody wants to see round women," among making other harmful fatphobic statements.
Lagerfeld On #MeToo And Sexual Assault Survivors
The fashion maestro has a long and murky history of trivializing sexual assault. Not only was he openly friends with people who were accused of sexual abuse, like stylist Karl Temper and photographer Terry Richardson, but he also defended them in public.
"If you don't want your pants pulled down, don't become a model! Join a nunnery, there'll always be a place for you in the convent. They're recruiting even!"KARL LAGERFELD VIA NUMERO MAGAZINE
Unsurprisingly, Lagerfeld also harbored a very sexist opinion on feminists, claiming that Coco Chanel was "not ugly enough to be a feminist".
There have been several instances where Lagerfeld made controversial and offensive comments about Muslims.
In a 2017 interview with French television station C8, he stated that the-then German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a "huge error" in allowing Muslim refugees to come to Germany. He went on to call Muslims "the worst enemies of Jewish people".
Despite his islamophobia, Lagerfeld used a verse from the Quran as the backdrop for his 2013 Chanel fashion show, which was held at the Grand Palais in Paris. He received heavy backlash for being insensitive towards the religion.
Lagerfeld's Homophobic Views
In a 2012 interview with Paris' Metro newspaper, Lagerfeld somehow managed to offend both Russian men and lesbian women with a singular comment. Criticizing the appearance of the men in Russia, he said, "If I was a woman in Russia I would be a lesbian, as the men are very ugly."
He also harbored a negative opinion of queer marriage. In a 2014 interview with Vice, he was asked about his thoughts on same-sex marriage. Lagerfeld responded by saying that he was "a little bit against it" and that he finds "it too much, too noisy."
In 2022, when the theme for this year's Met Gala was just announced, activists, feminists and various netizens took to social media to criticize Vogue and Anna Wintour for glorifying such a problematic public figure.
Actor Jameela Jamil penned a long note while sharing some instances of his prejudiced remarks. She wrote, "This man... was indeed, supremely talented, but used his platform is such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards 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... there was no explanation for his cruel outbursts."
Jamil ended her note with, "Sorry, but no. This isn't the 90s. We didn't fight all this just to throw it all away because some white guy made some pretty clothes for people's skinny faves... come on now."
(The article is from The Quint's archives and has been republished on the occasion of Met Gala 2023)