The Student Newspaper of Oxford Academy

The Gamut

The Gamut

The Gamut

Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Bigotry


The most illustrious event in fashion, the Met Gala entails a glamorous night of flamboyant couture, sparkling suits, and flashy photoshoots exclusive to its high-profile attendees. Located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (recognized as The Met) in New York, the annual charity gala is set to host renowned names in fashion and entertainment from Timothee Chalamet to Kim Kardashian on May 1. 

This year’s theme — “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” — will honor the legacy of the late Karl Lagerfeld, the designer esteemed for shaping Chanel’s 20th century image as its creative director for over thirty years. Thanks to Lagerfeld’s revolutionary design contributions, the luxury brand’s identity is swathed in chic, feminine silhouettes and exquisite furs, affixed to the iconic CC monogram.

The decision to honor Lagerfeld, however, was met with controversy; Lagerfeld, whose name is tarnished with instances of fatphobia, misogyny and #MeToo criticism, raised questions from celebrities and fashion enthusiasts alike. 

While Lagerfeld’s collections were undoubtedly gorgeous, his bigotry should not be looked past by admirers of his work as it serves as a reminder of the misogyny and toxic body standards sustained by many men in the high fashion world. 

A notable critic of plus-size inclusivity on the runway, Lagerfeld was an adamant defender of high fashion’s infatuation with skinny models. 

“You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly,” he said in a 2009 interview with Focus Magazine.   

Though his shows were incredibly innovative — Lagerfeld initiated runways set from supermarkets to rocket launch pads — his runways were absent of any size representation.

“No one wants to see curvy women,” he told Focus when questioned about the detrimental beauty standards of the modeling industry. 

Lagerfeld had also made flagrant remarks on multiple female celebrities; he told Metro Magazine in 2012 that singer-songwriter Adele was “a little too fat,” and to GQ Germany described Heidi Klum as “too heavy” for runway modeling. 

On top of fatphobia and body shaming, Lagerfeld’s history of misogyny and dismissive views toward sexual assault also drew dispute over the Met Gala theme. 

“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,” he said to Numero Magazine, in response to the #MeToo movement. 

Demeaning sexual assault into the norm for female models, Lagerfeld essentially advised women to stop “complaining” when assaulted by men in the industry, a concerning disposition transparent of his blatant misogyny toward women.

While Lagerfeld may have been one of the most accomplished designers in recent history, there are non-white and female designers whose dedication to fashion could have been honored by The Met instead. The late Virgil Abloh, the Black-American designer who founded the fashion label Off-White and pioneered a new, modern image for Louis Vuitton Menswear as its creative director, could have been honored for his revolutionary contributions to streetwear by the Met following his 2021 passing. In a field oversaturated with white men,  British iconoclast and prominent fashion figure Vivienne Westwood served as representation for female creativity in the industry. 

A well-beloved and highly-respected designer in couture, the Met’s theme honoring Lagerfeld is no surprise, and neither are his controversial comments. Although changes are being made to emphasize body diversity and self-expression in fashion, his comments regarding women are reflective of the misogyny and fatphobia men in power perpetuate toward their female counterparts in the the industry. 


About the Contributor
Nathan Perera, Staff Writer
Nathan Perera will be beginning his second year in Gamut as a writer. He enjoys writing A&E, alternating between scathing reviews to praiseful columns. Writing is at the heart of Nathan’s passion, having first joined the Gamut to become part of a group of people that shared his love for writing. In addition, he is also the Vice President of the Creative Writing Club at Oxford Academy. Outside of school, he enjoys thrillers and dramas in the form of both books and TVs. “Cruel Summer” is among his favorite TV shows. He also enjoys alternative rock and pop. Lana Del Rey is his favorite artist, and his favorite album from her is Norman F. Rockwell. When asked what he likes most about her songs, he admitted he loved everything about it, ranging from their attractive visuals to heartfelt lyrics. Nathan is excited for the rest of his time in Gamut and Oxford, and he will continue to follow his passion for writing. 
Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Oxford Academy
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Bigotry