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What Would Karl Have Thought of It All?
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What would Karl have thought? Watching the stream of Lagerfeld-a-likes mount the steps of the Met Monday night in their black and white, it was hard not to wonder.
Yes, the evening’s dress code dictated “in honor of Karl,” the evening itself in honor of the opening of the Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to the designer’s work. Yes, Mr. Lagerfeld had made himself into a caricature, with his uniform of black jeans, high white-collared shirt, black jacket, fingerless gloves, black silk cravats and black shades. And yes, the gala itself often feels like high-fashion cosplay, with guests trying to outdo one another in the attention-getting sweepstakes.
But Mr. Lagerfeld, who attended the party seven times and was a co-host once, in 2005 when the subject was Chanel, was also a man who had no truck with looking back, and who once announced, “I don’t want to see all those old dresses” when asked about an earlier retrospective of his work. And this was a gala full of old dresses. (A positive change, for once, from all the one-offs of the past.)
Vintage was everywhere: a mint green Chanel from 1988 on Penélope Cruz, a co-host, and a white Chanel princess dress from 1992 on Dua Lipa, another co-host; a corseted 1993 Chanel on Margot Robbie and a pink and silver 2010 Chanel column dress on Naomi Campbell; even Nicole Kidman reprising the feathered Chanel she wore in a 2004 ad campaign for the brand. Also old Chloé: a remade violin dress, originally designed by Mr. Lagerfeld in 1983, on Olivia Wilde and a remade shower dress from the same collection, revived for Vanessa Kirby.