“Nobody wants to see curvy women.” What a shocking claim! Anybody willing to make such a claim publicly would likely be met with scrutiny, and at the very least you might hope they are not praised. Unfortunately, this statement was said by none other than Karl Lagerfeld, and he is in fact being honored regardless.
With the Met Gala, one of fashion’s biggest nights out, less than two months away, there is lots of buzz around this year’s theme. It was announced last year that the Met exhibition theme, and therefore the gala’s theme, will be “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” This comes in the wake of Lagerfeld’s death in 2019. The choice to honor him with this year’s exhibit and gala was praised by many, but it also caused the conversation to shift to the many reasons he is not deserving of such an honor.
Source: Harper's Bazaar
Karl Lagerfeld had a very impactful career in fashion, designing for brands like Fendi and Chloe. One of his biggest successes was with Chanel, a brand that he brought new life to and would lead him to become one of the biggest names in fashion. He also saw great success with his own personal brand and was given the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards just four years before his passing. With such an incredible body of work behind him, it might seem like he is completely deserving of being honored by the Met, but there is a darker side of Lagerfeld that was brought back to people’s attention recently.
Throughout his long career, Karl Lagerfeld was outspoken about his views, and they were often deeply offensive and bigoted ones.
Source: Harper's Bazaar
After launching a collaboration with Lagerfeld in 2008, H&M decided to make the pieces from the collection in larger sizes. Though this does not seem like something that would be controversial, there was outrage from one man in particular. In response, the designer stated, “What I created was fashion for slim, slender people.” This reaction alone is enough to warrant people to dislike Lagerfeld, though some claim he should be forgiven for making such a heinous claim. It is hard to forgive this statement, because it is far from an isolated incident.
In 2009, Brigitte magazine announced they would begin depicting “real women” as opposed to only showing ultra-thin models as most magazines did. While this might seem like a perfectly good decision to make, Lagerfeld did not agree. In response, he said, “These are fat moms sitting with their bags of chips in front of the TV and saying that thin models are ugly.” He went on to explain that the world of fashion is about “dreams and illusions,” implying that plus-size women do not belong in such a place.
As if constantly trying to one-up himself, Lagerfeld decided to bring specific people into his fatphobic rampages as well. In 2012, he spoke out about singer Adele, about whom he said, “She is a little too fat.” By then, it was obvious that Karl Lagerfeld was a hateful man whose criticisms should be ignored, but it is hard to ignore someone who is so widely loved and admired. Adele responded with love and grace, simply saying that she “never wanted to look like models on the covers of magazines” and that her weight has nothing to do with her career.
His disdain for fat people is not limited to just fashion. In 2013, Lagerfeld took to a French television program to share that he believes fat people are to blame for the problems with France’s healthcare system.
As abundant as his career in fashion was, Karl Lagerfeld was not an honorable man. The fashion industry is already one that is known to discriminate against plus-size people, and he managed to make it even worse. Fatphobia was not even his only fault. He also notably made Islamophobic comments and even criticized women for coming forward about sexual assault during the MeToo movement. So, when the Met Gala claims to be in honor of Karl, it is hard to imagine which parts of him they are honoring.