Met Gala 2023: The best of the red carpet

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Grab your Chanel skirt suit and Fendi Baguette: the Met Gala 2023 is here and this year it’s all in honour of legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Held annually by American Vogue at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to raise funds for the museum’s Anna Wintour Costume Center (previously the Costume Institute), the Met Gala has become the biggest and most fantastical red carpet event of the year. Traditionally held on the first Monday in May to mark the opening of the AWCC’s latest blockbuster exhibition, the gala enforces a strict formal dress code which, while not technically themed around the exhibition, often sees designer houses and their celebrity guests donning looks that are at least loose interpretations.

However, while past themes, including camp, American fashion and punk, have offered designers plenty of room for flexibility and imagination, 2023’s exhibition – Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty – on the face of it offers decidedly less so. So, what exactly might we see on the red carpet as attendees attempt to dress, as the official invitation requires, ‘in honour of Karl’?

While best known for his decades-long career at the helm of Chanel – and there will undoubtedly be many attendees, including Vogue’s Anna Wintour, dressed by the house – Lagerfeld also held influential positions at labels including Fendi, Balmain, Patou, Chloé and his own eponymous brand. And with a career spanning more than six decades, there are plenty of eras, design signatures and archival pieces to choose from.

Also expect to see a lot of monochrome. Lagerfeld was famous for his Steve Jobs-esque adherence to a strict uniform of tailored black suit, high-collared white shirt and immaculate pompadour in the later decades of his life – and with black and white looks proving popular on the red carpets of the Oscars and BAFTAs, we could well be in for an evening of monochromatic styles.

Alternatively, those looking to put a more playful spin on the dress code may look to other symbols of Lagerfeld’s life and career, such as his devotion to his pampered pet cat Choupette, for inspiration. One thing is for certain, however: tonight will bring with it the biggest, boldest and most fabulous fashion you’ll see all year.

Join me as we discover who really understood the assignment…

Maya Hawke in Prada

maya hawke met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

This is nothing less than the elegance, grace and imagination we’ve come to expect from Mrs Prada. It’s no easy task to marry the aesthetic of a designer as iconic as Karl Lagerfeld while staying true to your own house, label and preferences but this incredible floral embellished cocoon coat and matching minidress is a perfect marriage of two of the most important designers of their day.

Lila and Kate Moss in Fendi

lila and kate moss met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

A saccharine sweet mother-daughter moment from the Mosses. Both are in blush Fendi: Kate in a bespoke gown based on a piece from the SS23 Couture collection by Kim Jones and Lila in a Fendi Couture AW18 gown by Karl Lagerfeld. Adorable.

Amanda Seyfried in Oscar de la Renta

amanda seyfried met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Amanda Seyfried went full showgirl for the Met Gala 2023. Constructed from little more than a nude corseted bodysuit and a lot of chains, it’s a brave choice but also one that immediately stands out as perhaps not fitting the bill quite so well as some of the other gowns we’ve seen so far. More news on the story behind the dress when it comes in…

Bryan Tyree Henry

bryan tyree henry met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

And we have our first Karl cosplay of the evening. Bryan Tyree Henry looks fabulous; he’s taken Lagerfeld’s signature look and turned it up to 11. The pearls. The exaggerated shirt sleeves. The Italian widow lace ruffles. Here for all of it.

Anna Wintour in Chanel and Bill Nighy

anna wintour and bill nighy met gala

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Tonight’s inimitable host, Anna Wintour, has been a loyal client of Chanel for decades so there was never any questions as to which house she would be turning to for this evening’s outfit. The coat is gorgoeus – as is her rather dapper escort, Bill Nighy.

Gisele Bündchen in Chanel

gisele met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Leave it to a super to really work the red carpet. Attending her first Met Gala since 2019, Gisele chose an archival Chanel striped sequin gown and dramatic feathered cape that she had previously worn for a 2007 Harper’s Bazaar Korea photoshoot.

Nicole Kidman in Chanel

nicole kidman met gala 2023

Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Now this is a clever one. Nicole Kidman is wearing the exact same dress (plus some Harry Winston dazzlers) that she donned to dash down the streets of New York for a Chanel No 5 perfume advert directed by Baz Luhrmann in 2004. And if Karl liked it then…

Gabriela Hearst, Maude Apatow in Chloé, Olivia Wilde in Gabriela Hearst and Vanessa Kirby

gabriela hearst, maude apatow, olivia wilde and vanessa kirby met gala 2023

Image: Associated Press/Alamy

Met Gala photographers love a girl gang and, when we they look this good, why not? If this image is anything to go by, embellishment and sparkle is going to reign supreme this evening. Loving Gabriela Hearst’s call back to Lagerfeld’s 1981 guitar dresses for Chloé.

Penelope Cruz in Chanel

penelope cruz met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Met Gala co-chair Penelope Cruz offered up a major bridal moment in this heavily embellished, hooded gown from the Chanel Couture SS88 collection. Lagerfeld was famed for his stunning bridal couture looks so I reckon he’d approve of this choice.

Dua Lipa in Chanel

dua lipa met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Co-chair of the night Dua Lipa stepped out in a voluminous corseted gown that is instantly recognisable as Chanel. An archival piece from the Chanel Couture AW92 collection, finished with an absolute gobstopper of a Tiffany necklace, this is a brilliant way for a young star to honour the theme while also tapping into current trends.

Rita Ora & Taika Waititi

rita ora and taika waititi met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Rita Ora kicked off proceedings in suitably dramatic fashion with the first oversized train of the evening. The dress has drama but I’m not sure exactly what homage it’s paying to Lagerfeld. Waititi’s silk dressing gown, slippers and pearls get-up, on the other hand, is exactly what I imagine Lagerfeld hosting dinner parties in.

Emily Ratjakowski

emily ratajkowski met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Emily Ratajkowski offered an interesting take on Chanel’s signature quilting in a gown finished with plenty of couture elements (the beading, the feathers, the tulle layers) that recall Lagerfeld’s many, many high fashion catwalks. It may not  be the most memorable look of the evening but it gets a big tick from me.

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