The 2023 Met Gala Theme Is Out & Here’s Why People Are Fkn Pissed About It

2023 Met Gala theme causes outrage because of Karl Lagerfeld

The Met Gala theme has been announced for 2023 and it’s brought a whole lot of controversy.

The Met Gala, despite being for A-List celebs only, is always fun for even the most cynical haters (me) because let’s be real, judging those fancy outfits is a sport. Am I an expert on fashion? No. Do I stand by the fact that clearly most of the celebs who went to last year’s Gala didn’t know what the Gilded Age represents? Yes.

I, like many other people who enjoy roasting the rich while also gawking at their wealth, have been eagerly awaiting the announcement for next year’s theme. And now that it’s here, I’m reminded of why I turn my nose up at this event.

What is the Met Gala theme for 2023?

If you’re on TikTok, you’ve probably seen speculation that next year’s theme is “space” which sounds sick AF but unfortunately the theme isn’t nearly so broad.

The theme for Met Gala 2023 is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, after the longtime creative director of Chanel who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019.

Who is Karl Lagerfeld?

Karl Lagerfeld was a prolific (some would say legendary) German fashion designer who worked at the helm of Chanel. He also worked on Fendi and his own famous collection, and was known for having a disdain for exhibitions.

“He would say, ‘Fashion is not art—fashion belongs on the street, on women’s bodies, on men’s bodies’,” the Costume Institute’s Curator In Charge Andrew Bolton said about the theme, per Vogue.

Lagerfeld wore mostly black and tweed and he loved a little black dress, but Bolton doesn’t think that means guests at the Gala will dress in all-black.

“Well the one thing I knew for certain is that we could not do a traditional retrospective. For one thing, I think Karl would have hated that,” he said.

“He was always looking to the future in his own work—he hated looking back at the past. It was something he had a very conflicted relationship with.”

Lagerfeld wasn’t just known for his iconic looks. He also had some wildly controversial (read: fucked up) opinions that some dismiss as “eccentric”. Classic old white man, amirite! Which brings me to the next section of this article.

Why are people angry at the 2023 Met Gala theme?

I’m glad you asked, dear reader. You see, Karl Lagerfeld may be a creative genius, but he was also an absolute dick. Like, supreme overlord of bigotry. It’s bad. Fatphobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia — you name it, there’s a good chance there’s a controversy with him at the centre of it.

Below is a list of just some of his bigoted comments.

Lagerfeld’s legacy of fatphobia

Lagerfeld openly defended gatekeeping modelling and runways for skinny women (specifically women who were a size 0 to 2 in American sizing, which would translate to 4 to 6 in Australia). He showed frequent disdain and disgust for women who didn’t fit his idea of the perfect body, including supermodel Heidi Klum who he said was “too heavy“.

He told German magazine Focus in 2009 that “no one wants to see curvy women” on runways. He frequently made it clear that fashion and class were incompatible with being fat. At one point, he even said his critics were just “fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly”. Fkn yikes.

Lagerfeld also believed being fat was one of the biggest societal issues we face right now. Yes, seriously. Being fat, not white supremacy which he actively aided — but more on that later.

“The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat,” he said on a French television program in 2013.

When asked if Chanel had a responsibility not to promote and normalise bodies that were dangerously underweight, Lagerfeld said being fat is worse than having an actual eating disorder.

“There are less than one percent of anorexic girls,” he said.

“But there are — in France, I don’t know in England — over 30 percent of girls [who are] big, big, overweight. And that is much more dangerous and very bad for the health. So I think today, with the junk food in front of TV, it’s something dangerous for the health of the girl. The models are skinny, but they’re not that skinny. All the new girls are not that skinny.”

Misogyny and the #MeToo movement

Lagerfeld didn’t just target women who he deemed were too fat. He was also a vocal critic of the #MeToo movement and said if women didn’t want to be assaulted, they shouldn’t become models. Victim blaming at its finest!

“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,” he told Numéro in 2018.

His comments came after three models accused Interview creative director and stylist Karl Templer, who formerly worked at Vogue, of sexual harassment.

“I’m fed up with it,” Lagerfeld said.

“What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened. Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses.”

Lagerfeld and his war against Syrian refugees

Both Lagerfeld’s parents were part of the Nazi Party, though maybe that’s not surprising given Coco Chanel was literally a Nazi agent.

This context is necessary for understanding the bizarreness of extremely hateful and incendiary comments he made about Muslim Syrian refugees, who he linked to… the Holocaust.

Lagerfeld slammed Germany’s open border policy for Syrian refugees on a French TV show in 2017.

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” he said.

No, Syrian refugees are not the sworn enemies of Jewish people, btw.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said: ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust’,” he added.

Mind you, 2017 was not that long ago: this is a man who was unapologetically bigoted until his dying days.


Lagerfeld openly supported same-sex marriage and was praised for ending a runway show in 2013 with two models in bridal wear holding hands. Which would have been fine if the conversation ended there. But then Lagerfeld felt the need to clarify that while he supported gay marriage, he was “less keen” on gay couples being allowed to adopt children.

And that’s just a quick round-up of his most well-known comments. Imagine what else he said in his 95 years of life.

Jameela Jamil was one of the first celebrities to openly condemn the 2023 Met Gala theme for honouring Karl Lagerfeld.

“[Lagerfeld] 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,” she wrote.

“Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren’t bigoted white men? What happened to everyone’s principles and ‘advocacy’?

“You don’t get to stand for justice in these areas, and then attend the celebration of someone who revelled in his own public disdain for marginalised people.”

“Sorry, but no,” she continued.

“This isn’t the 90s. We didn’t fight all this shit just to throw it all away because some white guy made some pretty clothes for people’s skinny faves… come on now.”

Well said!

Should we forget about all his creative work or boycott it? No, because honestly, a lot of the world’s fashion legacy would no longer exist. But uncritically honouring Karl Lagerfeld in one of the most prestigious events of the year is definitely Not It.

I mean, Virgil Ablohwho passed away shortly before last year’s Met Gala — was right there. Imagine the possibilities if the 2023 Met Gala’s theme honoured him instead.