Carla Bruni, Roger Federer Help Unveil Karl Lagerfeld Exhibition at The Met

ALL ABOUT KARL: France’s former first lady Carla Bruni and Roger Federer turned up Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s unveiling of the Costume Institute’s “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.”

The museum’s director Max Hollein, the Wendy Yu chief curator in charge Andrew Bolton and Condé Nast’s global content officer Anna Wintour headlined the morning press preview. After their remarks, many of the few hundred members of the media flooded into the exhibition, which highlights the confluence of the late designer’s designs for Chloé, Fendi, Chanel and the Karl Lagerfeld label. The designer died in 2019 at the age of 85.

More from WWD

Tory Burch, Thom Browne and Philip Treacy were among the designers in the crowd. Although Bruni was not doing interviews, she told a few videographers how fashion is a gift that can make people feel better in trying times.

That gift appeared to have already been given, based on the dozens of smartphone-wielding people camped out on Fifth Avenue in front of The Met’s main entrance. Some speculated about which pathway Met Gala guests will use to enter the celebrity-studded affair. The event’s “in honor of Karl” dress code is expected to translate into lots of Chanel, Fendi, Chloé and Karl Lagerfeld choices. That black-and-white-centric style was embraced by many of the media types that poured into the Met’s Temple of Dendur.

Browne, whose partner is Bolton, has been living the exhibition for a while. “I think you can really feel the personal connection between Andrew and Karl. Of course, I saw throughout the year as he put it together, the care and attention that he put into it. You really see it in the show,” Browne said.

What some might not appreciate is the amount of intellect and thought that go into Bolton’s shows, the designer said. “I often say to so many people that Andrew is the most important person in fashion because he elevates fashion to a level of being worthy of being at The Met. The work he does is so important. The energy that Andrew’s work generates is overwhelming. It’s amazing to see how excited people are to see his shows. It’s a testament to the importance of his work and the amount that people love seeing his shows,” Browne said.

Kaleidoscope Consulting’s Miki Higasi agreed, saying, “It’s never just a costume exhibit or a historical show. It’s extremely analytical yet still fulfilling too. Of course, in the end like any other exhibit at a museum, it’s extremely educational. I like the fact that it’s not too black-and-white or too narrow. It’s based on a strong concept. It’s visually and intellectually compelling. How you present things, whether it’s an exhibit or a book, is so important. Andrew really nails it down.”

Karl fever’s peripheral economic effect can be seen in the black-and-white portraits of Lagerfeld in Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue windows, and Lagerfeld’s sketches in Fendi’s Madison Avenue store windows. On Friday, 20 to 30 people were lined up outside of Chanel’s Fifth Avenue store. Winding through the galleries, Karl Lagerfeld chief executive officer Pier Paolo Righi said that he knew the exhibition would be great, “but was surprised by how stunning it is and how emotionally impactful it is.” As someone who worked very closely with Lagerfeld for more than a decade, Righi said, “It really feels like as he was, when he was in the room. It’s amazing to see and very touching.”

The replica of Lagerfeld’s beyond-messy desk is dead-on, according to Righi. “To see the desk, it looks as if he had left it the day before. It really was like how he used the desk.”

As for what all of the Lagerfeld-laden publicity will mean for Lagerfeld’s namesake company, Righi said beyond the exposure, it will have an emotional impact on the company’s team. “Karl never was one to look back at the achievements, because he always wanted to look forward to create the future. This is the first that we can actually gift him somehow, the homage that he did not allow himself to give to himself. That is an emotional moment, particularly for us. As the sole house that carries his name on the door and the only ones that are taking his legacy into the future, it’s an amazing milestone for us to integrate into the future.”

Best of WWD

Click here to read the full article.