The theme of the 2023 MET Gala is Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary designer. While no one denies that he was a legendary and talented designer and one of the most important in the history of fashion, there are those who have not stopped pointing out the fatphobia and misogyny that he exhibited (and for which he never apologized).
Why would a character who openly despised women’s bodies have to be the main theme of such an important event? Many people are asking themselves the same question, including the actress and presenter Jameela Jamil.
“Karl Lagerfeld is the theme of the entire MET Gala next year,” wrote Jameela Jamil, who was also critical of the designer when he had just passed away. “This man was indeed extremely talented, but he used his platform with hate, especially towards women, so repeatedly and until the last years of his life, without showing any remorse, no attempt to redeem himself, without apologizing… without helping the groups he attacked. There was no explanation for his cruel episodes.”
Karl Lagerfeld was one of those designers whose vision not only of fashion but also of the bodies of models and women in general had a great impact on the way thin models continue to be the norm on the runway.
For him, ideal bodies ranged from size 0 to 2, and he publicly scorned and despised all others with fatphobic phrases that, for some reason, were still acceptable and that everyone let pass. Lagerfeld hated women so much that he forced them to stop eating because he was fat.
In 2009, Lagerfeld told the German magazine Focus that “no one wants to see curvy women.” When another German magazine, Brigitte, announced that it would include more images of “real” women on its pages, Lagerfeld declared that “there are fat mothers with bags of potato chips, sitting in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly. The world of beautiful clothes is about dreams and illusions.”
Lagerfeld also went on to say that the health and social security crisis had to do with “people who are too fat.” And when asked about his habit of hiring only extremely thin models, the designer (who was never a teenage girl but felt entitled to comment on the matter) replied that “there are less than one percent of anorexic girls, but in France (I don’t know about England) there are more than 30 percent of girls who are overweight. And that is much more dangerous and very bad for health. I think today, with junk food in front of the TV, it’s dangerous for girls’ health. The models are thin but not that thin. None of the new ones are that thin.”
“Those groups were women who had been sexually abused,” continues Jameela Jamil about the groups Lagerfeld attacked. “The entire Me Too movement, gay couples who wanted to adopt, all fat people, especially women, and the biggest harm he caused was towards Muslim refugees, with the despicable way he spoke about people fleeing their homes for fear of losing their lives.
Why do we celebrate this person when there are so many incredible designers out there who are not white and intolerant men? What happened to his principles and his responsibility? You can’t speak out for justice in these areas and then attend the celebration of someone who revealed his own public disdain for marginalized people.
I’m sorry, but no. These are not the 90s. We don’t fight against all this sh*t just to throw it all away just because a white guy made some nice clothes for thin people.“