Pop superstar Rihanna showed up late as usual but shut down the red carpet all the same, tennis legend Serena Williams and supermodel Karlie Kloss debuted their baby bumps with flair — and two celebs dressed up as Lagerfeld’s cat.
Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Michelle Yeoh, singers Cardi B and Bad Bunny, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner and supermodels Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss were also among the hundreds of invitees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The guest list is tightly curated by Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue who took over the charity gala in the 1990s and transformed it into one of the world’s buzziest fetes.
This year, the extravaganza — which always falls on the first Monday of May, save for a pandemic-era schedule change — celebrates Lagerfeld, and ushers in the opening of a Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to the iconic designer, who died in 2019.
“Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” pays homage to his decades in the industry at the helm of Chanel, Fendi, Chloe and his own line, all the while molding the future of fashion.
And the celebs in attendance understood the style assignment, most of them sporting vintage looks from the elegant German-born designer — or silhouettes that reflected his aesthetic.
Rihanna was cloaked in white Valentino, with airy camellias — the flower synonymous with Chanel — adorning the hood of her cape.
Her white fingerless gloves mirrored those favored by Lagerfeld. Underneath? A sexy fitted white gown with spaghetti straps.
The singer, who is pregnant with her second child, told reporters on the red carpet she was “feeling good” as she entered the venue hours later than most guests.
“It feels amazing. I’m happy to be a dad,” said her partner, rapper ASAP Rocky, when asked about the impending arrival of their new child.
Williams timed the announcement of her second pregnancy with the event, writing on Instagram: “Was so excited when Anna Wintour invited the 3 of us to the Met Gala” — meaning her, her husband Alexis Ohanian and their new child.
– Diamonds and cats –
Kidman sported a blush Chanel gown that cascaded to the floor in feathers — a dress she first wore in an ad for the house’s iconic No. 5 perfume nearly 20 years ago.
“I’m so glad I’m still able to wear it,” she told AFP on the red carpet.
Singer Dua Lipa wore a cream-colored Chanel bridal gown from the 1990s, accented with black stitches and accessorized with a stunning Tiffany diamond necklace she said was taken from the jeweler’s vault.
Actress Olivia Wilde reached into another archive, wearing a Chloe “violin” gown designed by Lagerfeld in the 1980s.
Many attendees wore shades of black, white and cream, though a few pops of color emerged (and a bit of silver body paint on Lil Nas X).
And two guests showed up as Lagerfeld’s beloved cat Choupette — singer Doja Cat in full makeup, and actor Jared Leto in a full furry costume.
– ‘Immense talent’ –
Of course, Lagerfeld is not controversy-proof — despite his own public struggle with his weight, he criticized curvy women. And late in life, he derided the #MeToo movement and those who came forward with claims of sexual misconduct.
“The show is really focusing on Karl the designer, his works rather than his words,” said Costume Institute head curator Andrew Bolton. “We haven’t included any of his more controversial or offensive comments.”
Carla Bruni, a former model and once the first lady of France, told AFP before the event that she remembered Lagerfeld for his “immense talent,” “creative power” and “bewitching charm.”
This year, Wintour invited actresses Penelope Cruz and Michaela Coel, retired tennis legend Roger Federer and Dua Lipa to co-chair the gala.
The guest list was shrouded in secrecy until the main event, but some 400 people are reportedly expected.
The ball is invitation-only, with single tickets costing $50,000 and tables starting at $300,000.