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Hang on, the Met Gala Theme This Year Is WHAT?

An elaborate white goen on display on a mannequin.

It’s Met Gala Monday! And for the last week or so, my feed has been jampacked with nearly nothing but pictures of past years’ Met fashion triumphs, flops, and total headscratchers. Gossip sites are teeming with news of who will be in attendance, i.e., Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz, Roger Federer, and who will be skipping it this year. Sadly, Blake Lively confirmed she’ll be missing the event this year, which is too bad because I noticed many people lamenting that she’s the only one who always dresses on theme.

But hang on, what is that all-important theme this year? I’ll tell you, but let me warn you first that learning it made me throw up a little in my mouth, so get ready. The biggest celebrity and fashion event in the world this week (which also raises a ridiculous amount of money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art) is a grand Gala celebrating the theme: “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty.” a tribute to the legendary German fashion designer.

But wait, you might say. Wasn’t Karl Lagerfeld a colossal asshole? Oh yes, gentle reader, he was. Lagerfeld was extremely vocal about hating fat women, immigrants, and women who didn’t like getting sexually assaulted. But isn’t it wrong to speak ill of the deceased, you might ask? After all, he died recently in February. And to that, I say, it’s fine to speak ill when one is so very much of an asshole and it’s definitely fine not to theme an entire prestigious event around him.

So why is Lagerfeld being honored at such a significant fashion event? Hmm, probably because society still gives rich and powerful men a full pass on basically anything they want to do, and also Anna Wintour organized the event, and she is not-great in her own right, as a woman who also has a long history of being extremely open about hating fat women.

It’s not the first time the Met Gala theme has been focused around one person, but previous years’ themes have been just oh-so-much cooler than one hateful old man. Recent themes have included “In America: An Anthology Fashion,” “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” and “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” Come on; these are more interesting themes that allow for more creative and artistic responses than all the repurposed vintage Chanel from the last 35 years we are sure to see on the red carpet tonight.

A legacy of body shaming

So just how much did Lagerfeld, the longtime creative director of Chanel, hate women who weren’t young, submissive size zero or two models? He fought back ferociously in response to a cultural movement to begin including models even slightly larger than the rail-thin frame of the heroin-chic trend. “No one wants to see curvy women,” he told the German language magazine Focus in 2009. “You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly. The world of beautiful clothing is about ‘dreams and illusions.'” Well damn, Karl, tell us how you really feel.

He also believed the reason none of us can ever retire is because of overweight folks, telling a French TV show in 2014, “The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat.” There are so many public incidences of Lagerfeld’s anti-fat hate speech that I don’t have room for them. So, let’s move on to his gross-ass quotes about sexual harassment and assault, shall we?

#MeToo victim blaming

The famous designer was an outspoken opponent of the #MeToo movement. In 2018, in response to three models accusing the former creative director of Interview Magazine of sexual assault, Lagerfeld told Número, “I don’t believe a single word of it. A girl complained he tried to pull her pants down and he is instantly excommunicated from a profession that up until then had venerated him. It’s unbelievable. 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.”

About the movement in general, he said, “I’m fed up with it … 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’s apparent complete lack of sensitivity or understanding for what anyone who isn’t a rich and powerful man might feel or go through in life was most likely heightened by the fact that he said he simply refused to use the internet. So, he was likely shielded within a community of people who shared similar beliefs or at least told him what he wanted to hear—something like our modern-day social media echo chambers, but even more limited in scope.

This year’s Met Gala will be based on a theme that is itself extremely limited in scope, as it is a tribute to a single man who fought to keep the fashion industry mired in its most harmful, regressive ways. I guess let’s see what those stars pull out of their butts to give us our bread and circuses.

(featured image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

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Author and independent journalist since 2015. Frequent contributor of news and commentary on social justice, politics, culture, and lifestyle to publications including The Mary Sue, Newsweek, Business Insider, Slate, Women, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Lover of forests, poetry, books, champagne, and trashy TV.