Karl Lagerfeld; A Line of Controversy?


Zoë Newbold and Sophia Tharas

On the first Monday in May, the Met Gala takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which is considered a fundraiser charity event. The very few who are invited are purely based on social status ranging from people like Beyonce and Patrick Mahomes. This years Met Gala theme was to honor Karl Lagerfeld and his iconic work, “Karl Lagerfeld; A Line of Beauty” For those who do not know about Karl Lagerfeld and his legacy, he is best known for being a fashion visionary working working with high-end brands such as Chanel, Fendi for over twenty years whilst upholding his his own brand named after himself “Karl Lagerfeld” found in 1984 midway through Lagerfeld’s career. But throughout his career he had many controversies which now leaves people questioning if he was as fluent on controversy as he was in couture and if he was the correct person to honor at the Met Gala. 


Within the walls of fashion, Karl’s influence is extensive. But many have asked the question if his influence over fashion outweighs his controversial comments. Although his work with Chanel was iconic and will never be forgotten his comments have been ingrained into fashion society and just like his designs, will never be forgotten. Lagerfeld made comments concerning women models bodies, saying, “no one wants to see curvy models on catwalks.” If you don’t see how this could be controversial, then you need to reevaluate. Not only does he diminish plus-size models, he continually has pushed islamophobia and anti-semitic comments. “The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust.” Karl throughout his fashion career has had a consistent stream of backlash for his comments, rightfully so. He consistently showed that he had no concern for models safety saying, “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 even recruiting!” Unfortunately models have many issues that they go through daily, a lot of them concerning their safety. And such an influential person such as Karl should have protected and shown his support for the safety of his models. 


The safety and discrimination of models is continually a widespread issue. It’s shown throughout plus size models, the jobs they aren’t chosen for specifically because their size doesn’t match the “look”, all models being treated as dolls and not actual humans. Karl Lagerfeld was only one example of the misogynistic ideals of the fashion industry, and showing him attention is idolizing the wrongful treatment of models everywhere.