Review: 2023 Met Gala fashion round-up

Arts Reporter Zhenya Loughney examines the 2023 Met Gala and why celebrities wore what they wore for this year’s controversial theme, “In Honor of Lagerfeld.”

Zhenya Loughney, Arts Reporter

I’m no fashion expert. My 15-year-old Barbies with scribbles on their faces can tell you that. I don’t know or care about luxury fashion, but I really like to over-analyze wealthy people.

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising red-carpet fashion event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Each year has a different theme that all attendees must abide by. This year’s theme was “In honor of Karl.” The work of Karl Lagerfeld, a designer that passed in 2019, was examined.

Largerfeld’s fame was sparked by his work with Chanel in the 1980s, but spent most of his career hopping from luxury brand to luxury brand, including Chloé, Fendi, and Tom Ford.

Largerfeld preferred a black-and-white color scheme, making the gala’s Aqua-Fresh-colored carpet an odd choice when considering Lagerfeld’s history of designing wedding gowns.

To start off with the zaney, Jared Leto showed up in a full fur-suit in homage to Largerfeld’s pet cat, haunting my nightmares. Doja Cat also paid homage to the same cat, but she used prosthetics on her face and the white fabric of her Oscar de la Renta gown to achieve the look. Doja Cat did it better. It was like “Cats: The Musical,” but with glam. Andrew Lloyd Webber would be proud.

Kylie Jenner showed up in a satin red Jean Paul Gaultier gown and cape, seemingly off-theme from first glance. However, her look was inspired by Andre Leon Tally, a recently-passed journalist Largerfeld designed capes for. She looked great.

Elle Fanning looked like a garden fairy getting married. Her Vivienne Westwood gown was ethereal, perfect for sitting on a toadstool. I can only imagine her drinking tea with a gnome. Her outfit had an incredible execution.

Dua Lipa wore a gown from Largerfeld’s Chanel 1992 autumn and winter collection. She looked like a Barbie wedding cake, and the black trim looked like it was frosted onto her body. The gown also had pockets — a very critical point. Lipa debuted a golf-ball-sized diamond around her neck, the latest version of the Yellowstone Tiffany necklace that only four people have ever worn. This look was everything.

Rihanna wore a masterful cape from Largerfeld’s autumn 1997 Fendi collection that looked like she was being smothered by frosted flowers. It looked uncomfortable, but she also looked like the coolest frosted egg ever, and that’s a win in my book.

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Jessica Chastain showed up in a black Gucci gown, imitating Largerfeld himself with her freshly bleached hair and clad sunglasses. It’s feathery, sheer, and kind of confusing: I loved it.

Janelle Monáe wore a mismatched Tom Browne tuxedo-dress she dramatically unwrapped out of at the top of the stairs to reveal a glittery bikini underneath. It was a near-cinematic moment that left my jaw on the ground. I couldn’t stop staring at her.

Aubrey Plaza wore a white Stella McCartney gown with glittery chains bordering the cutouts. Largerfeld preceded McCartney as the creative director for Chloé.

From my research — this was my first time ever learning about this designer — Largerfeld held a lot of fat-phobic ideologies and apparently hated pink. Attendees that showed up in big pink ball gowns were my favorite.

Nichole Kidman wore a pastel-pink Chanel gown with a flowy, feathery train. This gown also deserved to be at a garden fairy tea party. Viola Davis spiced it up by wearing a fiery hot pink Valentino gown. Ginormous feathers sprouted from her bust like Truffula trees from “The Lorax.”

Ashley Graham wore a pastel-pink Harris Reed gown and looked like a doll. With the gown geometrically exaggerating her body, this dress was made to take up space.

Other notable pink outfits included Grace Elizabeth in a geometric Christopher John Rogers gown, Gwendoline Christie in an elegant Fendi gown, and Quannah Chasinhorse in a Prabal Gurung gown.

To me, the Met Gala always feels like a dystopian display of wealth and power, like “The Hunger Games,” but I thought every look was very creative and referenced Largerfeld in one way or another.

Not much celebrity drama either, other than A$AP Rocky making a dramatic appearance by jumping the paparazzi fence, the pregnancy announcements from Serena Williams and Karlie Kloss, and a cockroach that made its way onto the carpet. I’m excited to see what these rich designers think of next year.