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The Karl Lagerfeld-Themed Met Gala Is Controversial, Just Like His Past

by Micaela Soler

The biggest night in fashion has arrived – The Met Gala. Extravagant outfits, high-end designers, and our favorite celebrities dressed to the nines…who could ask for more? The Met Gala  has become one of the most pivotal nights for fashionistas and critics alike. Each year, we eagerly await for the extravagance and specific theme elevating our expectations for the red carpet. This year’s theme, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, is a tribute to the late designer’s influence in the fashion industry, including an exhibit of 150 of Lagerfeld’s original sketches and designs. 

This theme has received a lot of controversy – and justifiably so. The German-born couture artist has made several fatphobic, islamophobic, and anti-gay comments. Lagerfeld has become one of the most iconic names in the fashion industry, but his influence is making us wonder if the value of his art outweighs his controversial legacy. Here’s a rundown of some of his most controversial moments, which will probably make you less thrilled about this year’s event. 

“No one wants to see curvy women.”

Lagerfeld said the appalling comment in a 2009 interview with German magazine Focus. The fatphobic remark was in response to another magazine’s attempt to have “real women” in their photos instead of models. He also mocked female readers of a popular German women’s magazine for wanting to see more realistic depictions themselves, saying, “You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips, sitting in front of the television, and saying that thin models are ugly.” No Karl, that’s far from what they’re saying. While Lagerfeld had previously been open about his own body issues, that didn’t stop him from continuously mocking body positivity movements. He’s stated how fashion is “the healthiest motivation for losing weight,” and that junk food and television is more dangerous than anorexia. Let’s also not forget when he called Adele “a little too fat,” and later tried to “apologize” to the singer… by saying that the comment was actually for Lana Del Rey.

Anti-Gay Sentiments 

In a 2010 interview with Vice, Lagerfeld stated his disapproval for same-sex marriages, specifically those occurring between two men, “I’m against [gay marriage] for a very simple reason: In the 60’s, they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life.” He went on to state how, “For me it’s difficult to imagine: one of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be, for the baby? I don’t know. I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies.” Later in 2013, Lagerfeld stated how he was “less keen” on same-sex couples having the right to adopt a child. What’s hard to get when two people love each other and decide to begin a family of their own?

Said He Was “Fed Up” With The #MeToo Movement

Lagerfeld has had a large history of misogynistic comments; including his disavow of the #MeToo movement. He claimed he was “fed up” with #MeToo efforts during his 2018 interview with Numéro magazine. “What shocks me the most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened…not to mention the fact that there are no witnesses.” It seems that Lagerfeld didn’t understand (or simply refused to understand) the trauma survivors experience, let alone having to speak on a soul-shattering moment. 

Defended Karl Templer After Sexual Assault Accusations

Karl Templer, one of the fashion industry’s most powerful stylists, received multiple sexual assault allegations back in 2018, and Lagerfeld did not hold back in defending his name. This came at the height of many well-known fashion figures, such as stylists and photographers, receiving sexual misconduct allegations from models who had worked with them previously. In the same 2018 Numéro interview, he stated, “I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It’s simply too much; from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything.” He went on to express his disbelief with sexual allegations, “if you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model! Join a nunnery; there’ll always be a place for you in the convent. They’re recruiting even!” So essentially, he’s saying that becoming a model makes you an open target for sexual harassment and misconduct…good one, Karl. 

Islamophobic Comments: Muslims Are The “Worst Enemies” For Jews

Lagerfeld has been heavily recognized for cleansing French luxury fashion company, Chanel, of its anti-Semitic, Nazi-filled past, but his large history of Islamophobic remarks are far too concerning to ignore. In a 2017 appearance on a French talk show, he stated that Muslims are the “worst enemies” of the Jewish community. The talk show received complaints after Lagerfeld suggested that one of Germany’s greatest inventions was the Holocaust. He also has expressed his disapproval with his native country Germany’s acceptance of refugees coming from predominantly Muslim countries, defending his outlandish logic that Muslim migrants were “an affront to Holocaust victims”. 

All the Met Gala buzz is normally filled with high-excitement, but this year, many aren’t feeling comfortable with the selected theme. As we live in a century where body positivity is a much-needed movement, we hope that these controversies will be a wake-up call for next year’s event.

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