The Controversial 2023 Met Gala Theme Has Twitter Up In Flames

Anna Wintour has co-chaired the Met Gala — a star-studded celebration of fashion — since 1995, and she's always joined by at least one celebrity, according to Insider. Planning for the event — which takes place on the first Monday of May — starts in autumn of the year before, no detail is overlooked, and Wintour herself oversees the guest list, per TIME. It may seem like it's just an excuse for celebrities to outdo one another with fantastic outfits and get photographed on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the event is actually a fundraiser and the main revenue source for the museum's Costume Institute, which has over 30,000 pieces, some of which date back to 1400, according to LX News. The 2022 event raised a record-setting $17.4 million, per Billboard.

Each year has its own theme that attendees can interpret as they wish, and the best Met Gala looks showcase the blending of fashion and art. There are, of course, Met Gala looks that could have been better. In recent years, the themes have included "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" — to which Kim Kardashian infamously wore a dress of Marilyn Monroe's – to "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" to "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology," according to Vogue. The 2023 Met Gala theme has just been announced: "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty," and critics of Lagerfeld are blowing up social media over the announcement.

Karl Lagerfeld made a range of controversial comments during his life

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, worked in fashion for nearly 70 years and was a creative director at Chanel, Chloé, Fendi, and his own signature brand, according to CNBC. Undoubtedly, Lagerfeld has an impressive fashion legacy, but many don't think that's enough of a reason to have a night to celebrate him considering the controversies he was surrounded by while alive. One critic tweeted of the Met Gala news, "We should not be celebrating a person who made fatphobic, racist, and sexist comments throughout his career." One seemed to hope the whole thing was fake, and yet another came up with what they felt would be a more fitting theme: "Karl Lagerfeld — Someone who reveled in his own public disdain for marginalized people." 

On Instagram, actor and activist Jameela Jamil posted about the situation, saying Lagerfeld "used his platform [in] such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards women, so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life." She added, "Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren't bigoted white men?" Jamil then included a slideshow of screenshots from various publications that detailed some of Lagerfeld's behavior: he was a critic of the #MeToo movement, thought models should always be rail thin, and he was anti-refugee.

It seems to come down to whether one can or should separate the art from the artist. No public response to the backlash from Anna Wintour or Vogue as of yet.