Exhibition Dates: May 5–July 16, 2023
Member Preview Dates: May 2 and 4, 2023
Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, The Tisch Galleries, Gallery 899, Floor 2
With approximately 150 works, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty will explore the designer’s stylistic language through the aesthetic themes that recurred across his 65-year career.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s spring 2023 exhibition will examine the work of Karl Lagerfeld (1933–2019). Focusing on the designer’s stylistic vocabulary as it was expressed in through lines—aesthetic themes that appear time and again—in his fashions from the 1950s to his final collection in 2019, the show will spotlight the Germanborn designer’s unique working methodology. Most of the approximately 150 pieces on display will be accompanied by Lagerfeld’s sketches, which underscore his complex creative process and the collaborative relationships with his premières. Presented at The Met Fifth Avenue in the Tisch Gallery, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty will be on view from May 5 through July 16, 2023.
In celebration of the show’s opening, The Costume Institute Benefit (also known as The Met Gala®) will take place on Monday, May 1, 2023. The benefit provides The Costume Institute with its primary source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements. Co-chairs and additional event details will be announced in the coming months.
The exhibition and the benefit for The Costume Institute are made possible by CHANEL.
Major support is provided by FENDI.
Additional funding provided by KARL LAGERFELD and Condé Nast.
Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met, commented: “Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most captivating, prolific, and recognizable forces in fashion and culture, known as much for his extraordinary designs and tireless creative output as for his legendary persona. This immersive exhibition will unpack his singular artistic practice, inviting the public to experience an essential part of Lagerfeld’s boundless imagination and passion for innovation.”
Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, The Costume Institute, said: “The exhibition will explore Lagerfeld’s complex working methodology, tracing the evolution of his fashions from the two dimensional to the three dimensional. The fluid lines of his sketches found expression in recurring aesthetic themes in his fashions, uniting his designs for Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld, creating a diverse and prolific body of work unparalleled in the history of fashion.”
Drawing on the theory of art and aesthetics expressed by William Hogarth as the “line of beauty,” the exhibition is anchored by two lines: the “straight line” and the “serpentine line,” which delineate, respectively, Lagerfeld’s modernist and historicist tendencies. These lines explore different stylistic representations of themes that the designer returned to again and again, spreading in a rhizome-like configuration with intersecting moments—or “explosions”—that exemplify points of convergence. The exhibition will conclude with the “satirical line,” a section that focuses on Lagerfeld’s ironic, playful, and whimsical predilections expressed through visual puns that reflect the designer’s razorsharp wit.
Approximately 150 garments will be on view, spanning the designer’s career as the creative director of Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld, as well as his time at Balmain and Patou.
The exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton with support from Mellissa Huber, Associate Curator. Amanda Harlech will serve as the Creative Consultant for the exhibition. Renowned architect Tadao Ando will design the exhibition, which The Met’s Design Department will realize in the Museum’s Tisch Galleries. In addition, film director Loïc Prigent will produce original video content for the exhibition.
A publication for Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, written by Bolton, will be released in May 2023, published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press. Designed by OK-RM, the publication will feature new photography by Julia Hetta as well as afterwords by Ando and Harlech.
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