Karl Lagerfeld, an emblematic figure in the world of fashion, left an indelible mark with his audacious designs and often controversial statements. One of his iconic remarks, “Fashion does not belong in a museum,” now ironically graces the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum's grand new exhibit, dedicated to the celebrated designer.
As the man behind the Met's renowned Costume Institute exhibits, Andrew Bolton shared an amusing anecdote about Lagerfeld's views on fashion's place. “During our interaction, Karl emphasized that fashion wasn’t art but rather a manifestation of street culture. It intrigues me to wonder how he'd react to this grand homage,” remarked Bolton while overseeing final preparations for the anticipated Met Gala.
The expansive showcase, named “Karl Lagerfeld: The Essence of Elegance,” magnificently delves into Lagerfeld’s illustrious career, tracing his iconic contributions not just at Chanel but also with Fendi and his self-titled brand. The 14-gallery display, designed with a mix of straight and curved partitions, mirrors the multifaceted essence of Lagerfeld's signature style.
Rather than focusing on his often contentious statements, the exhibit offers a deep dive into Lagerfeld’s artistic universe, underscoring how his innovative designs transcended mere fashion, evolving with and shaping contemporary culture. Bolton, during the curation process, meticulously sifted through a staggering 10,000 pieces, distilling the collection to an essential 200 that best encapsulated Lagerfeld's genius.
“Capturing the essence of Lagerfeld is no easy task,” Bolton reflected, emphasizing that understanding Lagerfeld's multifaceted persona was best achieved by immersing oneself in his creations. “Ultimately, it's this vast collection that stands testament to his enduring legacy.”
Bolton, known for his thematic exhibits, seems to have imbued this particular display with a personal touch, celebrating Lagerfeld's duality. A juxtaposition of themes resonates throughout: past meets future, softness contrasts with rigidity, and femininity dances with masculinity. A testament to Lagerfeld’s eclectic style, the exhibit showcases varied pieces, from delicate tulle dresses to edgier designs, capturing the breadth and depth of his creativity.