Following the highly anticipated 2023 Met Gala – Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty – Vogue Education Presents hosted a panel of industry experts to debrief the glamorous and controversial event.
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
Whether you love it or hate it, every fashion enthusiast has something to say on the first Monday in May. A-list attendees and the world’s top designers stir up passionate discourse for weeks to follow about theme consideration, execution, and fashion politics. This year, host Dame Anna Wintour chose a theme rich in fashion history and personal affection to honour late designer, Karl Lagerfeld.
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty was chosen to illustrate the visionary’s immense impact on the luxury fashion industry and popular culture in general. Most known for establishing the likes of Chanel, Fendi, and Chloé into the luxury hall of fame, his reach has spread to every corner of the world. The red, white, and blue carpet was adorned with Lagerfeld signatures such as Chanel tweed, pearls, and the timeless ‘less is more’ design philosophy he lived by.
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Meet the Experts
To debrief the event, the Vogue Educations Presents team assembled a panel of specialists. This included Valeria Garnica, Fashion Publicist, Eva Hinteregger, Event Executive at Louis Vuitton, Brian Conway, Fashion Stylist, and Konca Aykan, stylist and Fashion Content Director. Each one of these accomplished professionals provided varied insights into the end-to-end workings of a fashion event of this calibre. From the press release process, to the styling, to the actual production of the evening. Here are some of the top insights from each perspective:
Valeria Garnica, Eva Hinteregger, Brian Conway, and Konca Aykan with VEP hosts Chloé Janssen and Victoria Bederov. Image Credit: Alyssa Mullings Photography
Styling & Creative Direction
From the celebrity styling and creative direction side, a Met Gala look is not a small feat to produce. Upon receiving the 2023 brief, a stylist must open conversations with their clients right away. This process might have begun as early as September for the May event. If operating independently, the stylist could choose a Lagerfeld legacy house, such as Chanel, Fendi, Chloé, Balmain, Jean Patou, or his eponymous brand, to dress their client. Alternatively, this is a great opportunity to feature young and emerging designers, while also honouring details of Lagerfeld’s signature design styles. Stylists and Creative Directors ensure that every last decision is strategic leading up to the big night. This involves multiple rounds of sketches, fittings, brand research, and detail management – from socks, to nails, to hair accessories. Deep theme knowledge and immaculate attention to fine details are essential for the Creatives behind the Met Gala.
To execute an event of the highest calibre, such as the annual Met Gala, event managers and planners must meticulously translate thematic elements while retaining charitable foundations of the Gala. For this year’s event, it rooted back to facets of Lagerfeld’s personal life and professional legacy, such as the white carpet, Diet Coke offerings, and spatial design to replicate his own library. Anna Wintour’s close relationship with the late Lagerfeld gave extra emphasis into the importance of creating a luxurious, unique, and above all, profitable event to benefit the Metropolitan museum. The event managers translated the event into a 360 marketing campaign through close collaboration with publicists, suppliers, brand partners, and the overall task force.
On the public relations front, the media for the Met Gala requires careful consideration of brand awareness and public standing to create a unique strategy for the client. The process starts months in advance, where account managers look at their roster and take into consideration who the brand is, who the client is, and desired associations. After securing placements for clients, signing many contracts, and overseeing execution, only half the job has been completed. For 48 hours following the event, publicists are awake writing, editing, and ensuring that all press is out in the world to strike while the iron is hot.
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These unique industry perspectives proved that each stakeholder in the Met Gala is equally as important as the next. The one evening is carefully orchestrated throughout the year, employing and illuminating all corners of the fashion sphere. The energetic panel felt like a conversation between friends, yet was incredibly insightful and inspiring for the audience. The Met Gala is unique in its ability to unite and excite subsets of the fashion industry.
By Chloé Janssen, MA Luxury Brand Strategy & Business