Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couture

From Roger Federer and Alia Bhatt to Kim Kardashian and Dua Lipa, celebs pay homage to designer Karl Lagerfeld's legacy at Met Gala 2023

Published: May 2, 2023 02:23:14 PM IST
Updated: May 3, 2023 12:17:44 AM IST

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couture(L-R) Michaela Cole (Image: Noam Galai/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images) Penélope Cruz and Dua Lipa (Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue) and Roger Federer (Image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

A bride studded in pearls. A feline form in beads and feathers. An actual, fluffy cat costume.

Celebrities brought out their most creative ensembles for fashion’s biggest night of the year. This year’s theme for the Met Gala was "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty", celebrating the legendary designer, whose work across Chanel, Fendi, and Chloe, among others, changed fashion's course. While the odd pinks, reds, and blues turned heads, the walk on the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute was filled with references to Lagerfeld's Chanel bride, his love for black and white, stiff collars, pearls, chains and the Chanel staple: The Camellia flower.

The Met Gala is a highly watched fundraising component of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, for its Costume Institute and its famed annual exhibit. The gala, organised by Vogue magazine, is themed around the exhibit.

Karl Lagerfeld’s work has not been without controversy: He has been called out for his comments on homophobia, speaking against the #MeToo movement, and for being notoriously fatphobic. On the red carpet, however, body positivity icons including Ashley Graham, Serena Williams (who revealed a pregnant belly) and Cardi B lent Lagerfeld’s legacy some much-needed perspective.

While we’ve seen Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Natasha Poonawalla walk the carpet in past editions too, actor Alia Bhatt and businesswoman-educationist Isha Ambani Piramal made their Met Gala debuts this year. Here’s a round-up of the most noteworthy looks.


Isha Ambani Piramal

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Cindy Ord/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Hot off the launch of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, which focusses on India’s contribution to global fashion in its inaugural show, Reliance’s Isha Ambani Piramal chose a custom saree gown designed by Prabal Gurung. Pearls and crystals gave the shining outfit a cascading effect and added movement to the fabric. She paid homage to Lagerfeld's love for cats with a rare Chanel Paris - Bombay 2012 Matryoshka doll bag.

Alia Bhatt

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Writing about how she was always inspired by Lagerfeld’s Chanel brides, Alia Bhatt chose a billowing pearl-encrusted gown in eggshell-white, with a structured corset and an edgy, fingerless glove. The Prabal Gurung creation was custom-made in India.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The desi girl and her husband now seem to be regulars at the Met Gala--making their third appearance together. Both stars were dressed in black-and-white Valentino creations by Pierpaolo Piccioli. Chopra Jonas’s column dress featured a thigh-high slit, an abstract white bow and a puffy train. She wore the rare Bulgari Laguna Blu diamond on a necklace, which will reportedly come up for auction in Geneva soon, and has a presale estimate of more than $25 million. Nick Jonas wore a sharp leather jacket and slender tie.

Natasha Poonawalla

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

In her second Schiaparelli look for the Met Gala in a row, Natasha Poonawalla dazzled in a futuristic cat-shaped couture piece, made with more than 1,000 mirrors. She toed the 'line of beauty’' on her terms.

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Neilson Barnard/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky walked in fashionably late, to close the red carpet event outside and kickstart the shenanigans inside. The 'Diamonds' singer wore custom Valentino couture that paid tribute to Camellia flowers. Each of the 30 fabric flowers had 500 petals each. Her date for the night wore a Lagerfeld-inspired custom look by Gucci.

Florence Pugh

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The newly minted brand ambassador of Valentino walked the carpet with the creative director of the fashion house, Pierpaolo Piccioli, with a fresh buzzcut. There was white, there was a bow, and there was headgear worth noting.

Viola Davis

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Viola Davis in a fuschia Valentino gown with feather details was a sight for sore eyes in the sea of black-and-white.

Kim Kardashian

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

It seems like Kim Kardashian decided not to risk damage to any historic pieces for the famed walkabout this year. She collaborated with Schiaparelli's Daniel Roseberry to create a gown that used more than 50,000 freshwater pearls and 16,000 crystals. If you have been 'keeping up with the Kardashians,' this is a deja vu. "You are doing great, sweetie."

Cardi B

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

We’ve seen this gown on Natasha Poonawalla recently, but Cardi B added a Lagerfeld twist to the Chenpeng Studio structured ballgown, with a white shirt and black tie. The gown’s full skirt sports a bevy of Camilla rosettes overlaid, reminiscent of Chanel's Boy Bag.

Jennifer Lopez

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Ralph Lauren created a sultry silk velvet halter gown with a draped satin skirt for JLo. With a floral collar, silk evening gloves and a netted fascinator, Lopez served up Hollywood-meets-royalty.

Kendall Jenner

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld

The supermodel and Met Gala regular walked in a custom Marc Jacobs body suit, with a sharp collar and sequins to bring out the bling. One of her simplest looks for fashion's biggest night outs so far, but a true homage to Karl.

Bad Bunny

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The Latino singer let his inner fashionista out with a custom Jacquemus outfit. A bridal look was claimed. It served a sharp jacket, a backless shirt, and a taffeta train of Camellia flowers. 

Anne Hathaway

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Then walked in Versace's newest brand ambassador, Anne Hathaway. She wore a Chanel-inspired version of Gianni Versace's iconic safety pin dress. The look had an ethereal feel, thanks to the soft waves on her head and a sleek jacket to layer up.

Salma Hayek

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Cindy Ord/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Salma Hayek turned on the red siren charisma in Gucci, with a glossy red bustier paired with pearl straps and a crimson ruffled skirt. Three large red rosettes in her hair topped off the look.

Gisele Bundchen

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Is this the snow-white Chanel bride? Gisele Bundchen has special, sentimental memories attached to the column dress she chose for Met Gala. It was the final dress from Chanel's spring/summer 2007 collection and Bundchen had worn it for an editorial shoot.

Nicole Kidman

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Cindy Ord/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Nicole Kidman looked ethereal in a vintage Chanel gown, which she last wore for a short film for the Chanel No. 5 perfume in 2004. Baz Luhrmann, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicole Kidman, and a Moulin Rouge storyline made it one of the iconic ad films of the time.

Serena Williams

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Serena Williams' Gucci look was impeccable but her big announcement at the 2023 Met Gala--she is expecting baby no. 2--stole the spotlight from the structured tulle dress, embellished with rhinestones.

Jeremy Pope

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and couturePhoto by Neilson Barnard/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Pope brought the dramatic train back to the gala. The American actor was styled by Balmain's creative director, Olivier Rousteing, and the look featured an oversized train with a massive portrait of Karl Lagerfeld.

Rami Malek, Jeremy Strong and Pedro Pascal

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and coutureRami Malek (Image: Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue), Jeremy Strong (Image: Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images), and Pedro Pascal (Image: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

The three men showed up in perhaps the most daring outfits of the night. Pascal sported an ensemble straight from Valentino's fall 2023 runway. Rami Malek and Jeremy Strong both wore Prada.

Doja Cat, Jared Leto and Lil Nas X

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and coutureDoja Cat (Image: Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue), Jared Leto (Image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images), and Lil Nas X (Image: Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Lagerfeld's love for his cat, Choupette, was a clear theme across the carpet, and these two celebrities took the theme literally. Doja Cat's Oscar de la Renta feathered outfit was complemented with face prosthetics, and she answered reporters’ questions with in-character ‘meow’s.

Jared Leto appeared in a full-fledged white cat costume.

Lil Nas X rocked up covered in silver body paint, silver rhinestones, and a matching face mask, injecting a dose of drama amidst the black-and-white affair.

Michaela Cole, Penelope Cruz, Dua Lipa and Roger Federer

Met Gala 2023: Of cats and coutureMichaela Cole (Image: Noam Galai/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images), Penélope Cruz and Dua Lipa (Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue), and Roger Federer (Image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Michaela Cole, a co-chair for the celebration, was another Schiaparelli muse. For her look, the fashion house took inspiration from Chanel's famous costume jewellery and combined it with their signature human anatomy motifs.

Penelope Cruz chose a vintage bridal gown from Chanel's spring/summer 1988 haute couture, an ice-blue number finished with a delicate cape.

Tennis legend Roger Federer, co-chair of the night, wore a classic tuxedo from Dior Men.

Dua Lipa dug into the Chanel archive for the fall 1992 haute couture gown designed by Lagerfeld, first worn by Claudia Schiffer on the runway. Dua Lipa became the first to sport Tiffany’s new Legendary diamond, over 100 carats and set on the Lucida Star Necklace.

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