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    The Met’s Next Massive Fashion Show Is Dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld

    For only the third time, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will mount an exhibition dedicated to a single designer: Karl Lagerfeld. The late prolific German designer, the New York Times reports, follows Alexander McQueen and Comme Des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, who each received blockbuster shows—and saw their work interpreted on the red carpet of the Met Gala, which celebrates the annual exhibition.

    Lagerfeld’s own feelings about retrospectives of his work are well-known: “I am sure he would hate it,” Andrew Bolton, the curator for the Costume Institute responsible for the exhibition, told the Times. “He’d probably still refuse to come,” Bolton added, referencing Lagerfeld’s no-show at his own Chanel retrospective held at the Met in 2005.

    Before he passed in 2019, Lagerfeld oversaw a large handful of collections and fashion shows for Chanel, Fendi, and his own namesake label. Add what he designed in the early stages of his career at Chloé, Balmain, and Patou, and there is a massive archive of Lagerfeld’s work to sift through. While the exhibit will only showcase roughly 150 of Lagerfeld’s designs, Bolton said that he started with somewhere in between 5,000 to 10,000 pieces.This is great news for museumgoersand Met Gala attendees, who will have a buffet of options to choose from.

    Specifically, the exhibit will focus on the relationship between the designer’s sketches and the garments they eventually became. “[The sketches] can seem very charming and expressionistic to the untrained eye, but they were almost mathematical in their precision, almost like a secret language between Karl and the ateliers,” Bolton said. Featured pieces will be accompanied by video interviews from heads of the ateliers Lagerfeld worked with (Chanel alone boasts 26 houses).

    A rocketship blasts off at Chanel’s fall 2017 show

    Peter White/Getty Images

    The exhibit will feature all manner of wink-winks, elbow nudges, and Lagerfeld nerdery to the knowing fanatic. Bolton is breaking the exhibit into 10 sections, as a nod to the designer’s September 10th birthday, and each of these will include seven pieces, because that was Lagerfeld’s lucky number. These sections will then be organized in a straight line—representing “Lagerfeld’s more modernist, classical work”—and a “serpentine” line, which represents his “historicist and romantic designs,” according to the Times. The reasoning? “In Roman mythology the straight line entwined by an S line is the symbol of Mercury, the god of commerce and communication,” Bolton said. “And arguably the modern god of commerce and communication was Karl.” Also, there might be a drone buzzing above attendees’ heads because Bolton believes Lagerfeld would have been reincarnated as a drone.

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