Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
Metropolitan Museum of Art Fifth Avenue, New York
May 05 – July 16, 2023
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. (NEW YORK, September 30, 2022) – 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 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 German-born 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 was 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 razor-sharp 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.
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