STYLE FILES: The Lagerfeld Legacy

STYLE FILES: The Lagerfeld Legacy

Once again, the Met Gala is upon us. 

Fashion’s biggest night out has garnered some strong emotions for us over the last few years: A wardrobe malfunction involving a certain person in a certain dress (which we are -not-  discussing further), The “Camp” theme that seemed severely misunderstood (except for RuPaul), and still missing the dynamic red carpet correspondence from the late Andre Leon Talley.

I know for myself, the night has left out some magic in Talley’s absence. I picked up a copy of his memoir “The Chiffon Trenches” almost as soon as it hit the shelves, knowing that his legacy of fashion journalism and editorial work spans generations of Vogue, WWD, and Interview magazines. It is one of my favorite books I have read in the last few years, and many of his stories revolve around his working relationship and friendship with Karl Lagerfeld - the subject of Met Gala 2023.

“In Honour of Karl” is this year’s dress code - however your opinion of Lagerfeld as an individual, the famously stoic designer’s body of work laid the foundation for countless fashion blueprints, revived Chanel’s house from near extinction, and is a quintessential fashion eccentric. It’s said that his birthdate wasn’t publicly known until 2013, and that he owned a personal library of over 300,000 books.

Beginning his illustrious career in the mid-fifties with some competition from up-and-coming designer Yves Saint-Laurent, Lagerfeld gained popularity through successful competition entries and as an apprentice to Pierre Balmain. After years of freelance design work for many luxury house brands, Lagerfeld landed his designer role at Fendi in 1967 - a role he would keep until his death in 2019. (That’s fifty-two years.)

Lagerfeld’s design aesthetic at the time borrowed from Rococo style, military accouterments, large shoulder pad, and landing at what he referred to as “intellectually sexy” in the 1980’s. Then begins his revival of Chanel and the beginnings of his namesake Karl Lagerfeld label. By this time, Lagerfeld had gained household-level fame. His ability to reimagine and elevate the history-laden fashion houses then came before him was revered across the world.


Lagerfeld was an enigma, a tipping scale between creative genius and controversial behemoth. Needless to say, we tip our hats to Lagerfeld’s legacy of design and are brimming with excitement to see how the guests interpret this theme. We have some guesses.

  1. There better be at least one Hula-Hoop bag. (Chanel SS 2013)
  2. An itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini. (Chanel SS 1996)
  3. A nod to Claudia Schiffer stunting in a flowy, blush colored dress (Chanel SS Haute Couture 1989)
  4. Some beautiful quilted looks! (Chanel SS 1990, Haute Couture 1984)
  5. Tweed. Lots and lots of tweed. (Chanel like, every year)
  6. A PVC boot or two.
  7. An ode to the classic Chanel skirt suit.
  8. Some dynamic tailored suits (Fendi)
  9. Some Evangelista-esque bodysuit glamour (Chanel FW 1985)
  10. Some elegantly draped looks (Fendi 1999)

These are our predictions and hopes for the Meta Gala! Follow Style Files on Instagram @thisstylefiles for more Met coverage, history of Karl, and other fashion goings-on today!

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