Breaking Down the 2023 Met Gala's Karl Lagerfeld Theme

Here's everything you need to know about the 2023 Met Gala's "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty," which is in honor of the iconic fashion designer who died in 2019.

By Tierney Bricker Apr 30, 2023 4:00 PMTags
Watch: 25 Jaw-Dropping Met Gala Looks of All Time

Prepare to see oh so many double-Cs on the first Monday in May.

The 2023 Met Gala is set to pay tribute to the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, with Vogue previously announcing that the theme for this year's benefit is "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty." The exclusive event, which takes place on May 1 and serves as a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, is intended to "honor" the iconic Chanel creative director, who passed away in 2019 from complications of pancreatic cancer.

With Karl having helmed some of the most recognizable fashion houses in the world (Chloé, Fendi, his own eponymous brand) in his 65 years in fashion, attendees will have plenty to pull inspiration from as they put together their looks for the Met Gala. But what does the theme mean exactly? And what is the dress code for the affair? 

Ahead of the Super Bowl of fashion, we're breaking down everything you need to know about "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty":

Kim Kardashian's Most Challenging Met Gala Looks

What Does the Theme Mean?
According to the Met, "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty," will "explore the artistic methodology and stylistic vocabulary of Karl Lagerfeld's designs through recurring themes across more than 65 years, from the 1950s to his final collection in 2019." 

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

What Inspired the Met to Choose This Theme?
Andrew Bolton, the head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said he became interested in paying homage to the late designer after hearing Karl's design assistants pay tribute to him at his memorial service.

"I was so fascinated by how they communicated [with Lagerfeld], which was by drawings," Andrew told CNN Sept. 30. "Every single design in his life was a sketch. And when I saw the drawings, I thought, 'These are so charming, so whimsical, so impressionistic.' But what I didn't realize was that they contained really precise information—about a shoulder line or the length of a sleeve. And [his staff] knew exactly what this line meant or what that dot meant, and they could decode it."

What Is the Dress Code Exactly?
To honor Karl, Vogue noted that the theme will give its "esteemed guests" the opportunity to "to salute one of fashion's greats, and from our perspective, the theme has multiple, wondrous ways into it."

So, basically, it's wide open to interpretation, given Karl's long and varied career that spans various luxury brands and eras of fashion.

Courtesy of John Aquino, WWD

Who Are the Event's Co-Chairs?
The lineup includes longtime Chanel collaborator Penélope Cruz, actress and writer Michaela Coel, singer Dua Lipa and tennis legend Roger Federer. And, of course, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who had a close friendship with the designer.

"Karl was so much more than our greatest and most prolific designer," Anna said in a statement after Karl's passing. "His creative genius was breathtaking and to be his friend was an exceptional gift. Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much."

How Long Will the Exhibit Be on Display?
The upcoming exhibition will be open to the public from May 2023 to July 2023 and will feature 150 of Karl's designs from his time as creative director of Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, Balmain and Patou, as well as items from his eponymous label.

The Most Jaw-Dropping Met Gala Accessories of All Time

Has the Met Gala Ever Paid Tribute to One Designer Before?
Yes, 2011's "Savage Beauty" was in Alexander McQueen's honor, and in 2017, the theme was "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between."

Don't miss E!'s Live From E!: 2024 Met Gala red carpet Monday, May 6, starting at 6 p.m. for every must-see moment from fashion's biggest night. And tune in to E! News Tuesday, May 7, at 11 p.m. for a full recap of every jaw-dropping look and all the behind-the-scenes moments.