The 2023 Met Gala theme — “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” — celebrates one of fashion’s most revered designers and controversial figures. Famous for bringing life back to the Chanel brand, reinventing runway shows and redirecting the future of fashion, Lagerfeld was also notorious for his self-proclaimed “big mouth.”

Lagerfeld’s controversial commentary towards “ugly” people, the #MeToo movement and migrants has drawn criticism. Several critics have questioned the Met Gala’s decision to celebrate such a controversial figure — begging the question: does someone’s controversial behavior outweigh their accomplishments?

We saw it happen last year with Kanye West. Following a slew of antisemitic remarks, the accomplished rapper was dropped by Adidas and lost several other brand deals. West suffered the consequences of cancel culture.

Public figures have gotten canceled over varying degrees of offensive behavior. But the late designer has escaped the menacing grasp of cancel culture. Despite Lagerfeld’s questionable commentary, the designer is being celebrated beyond the grave for his fashion genius.

“He offended people right and left, making as much of an art out of the cutting aside as the perfectly cut double-face gown,” New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman wrote soon after Lagerfeld’s death.

Lagerfeld earned a reputation for begin openly fat-phobic, repeatedly criticizing the #MeToo movement and sexual assault survivors, calling people “ugly,” speaking out against LGBTQ rights and migrants without apology, per AP News.

Lagerfeld’s controversial comments

To better understand the sort of comments the pony-tailed man in chunky black sunglass was known for making — here a a few of his controversial quotes.

Lagerfeld’s fat phobia

“These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly,” Lagerfeld said in an 2006 interview with Focus magazine, “No one wants to see curvy women.”

On the royal family

“Kate Middleton has a nice silhouette and she is the right girl for that boy. ... On the other hand, her sister struggles,” Lagerfeld said of Pippa Middleton, according to The Sun. ”I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.”

Criticisms of the #MeToo movement

“What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened,” he told Numero magazine in 2018. ”Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses.”

“I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything,” he said.

“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. They’re recruiting even!”

Speaking on German migrants

Lagerfeld criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for offering refuges to refugees.

“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 told French talk show Salut les Terriens! in 2017.

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

On “ugly short men”

“Life is not a beauty contest, some ugly people are great. What I hate is nasty, ugly people. The worst is ugly short men. Women can be short, but for men it is impossible. It is something that they will not forgive in life — they are mean and they want to kill you,” per Paper Magazine.

Lagerfeld’s strides in fashion

Lagerfeld is a fashion legend. The 65 years he spent in the fashion industry defined fashion for several generations.

“Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most captivating, prolific, and recognizable forces in fashion and culture, known as much for his extraordinary designs and tireless creative output as for his legendary persona,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met.

“This immersive exhibition will unpack his singular artistic practice, inviting the public to experience an essential part of Lagerfeld’s boundless imagination and passion for innovation,”

Hollywood, sports and fashion nobility are tasked with embracing Lagerfeld’s designs in whatever way they see fit.

“It’s a moment for all the esteemed guests to salute one of fashion’s greats, and from our perspective, the theme has multiple, wondrous ways into it,” wrote Vogue. “No matter which way guests go, the assignment is clear: Let’s do him proud!”

Critics of the 2023 Met Gala theme

Hundreds of celebrities and Hollywood elites will don Lagerfeld designs at the invite-only fundraiser in May. But one celebrity has already said she has no intentions of attending.

Jameela Jamil, known for her role in “The Good Place,” refuses to celebrate the fashion figure.

“Karl Lagerfeld is the theme for the entire Met Gala next year. This man ... 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,” Jamil wrote on Instagram.

“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 reveled in his own public disdain for marginalized people” Jamil added.

Twitter users have also expressed their distaste for the theme.

When is the Met Gala?

In typical Met Gala tradition, the event will take place on the first Monday of May, which lands on May 1 in 2023. It is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as reported by the Deseret News.

To watch coverage of the Met Gala red carpet from home, livestreams are typically available online from Vogue, Rolling Stone and E!. Coverage historically begins at 4 p.m. MDT.

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