In news that surprises no one, but satisfies much of the fashion world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art looks set to dedicate its annual fashion exhibit to Karl Lagerfeld in 2022. After a six-decade career, three simultaneous creative directorships for half that time, and countless spectacular reinventions of the Grand Palais for Chanel, the designer appears to have earned the most over-the-top exhibition possible.
Given the potential show (and accompanying gala) is still nearly three years out, few details are available. WWD reported the news after hearing it from sources, learning that Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton will supposedly organize the show as per usual, but they also noted that the Met refuses to comment on future exhibitions. So as of now, all speculation is just that, but the potential plans seem to be the most obvious choice the museum could make, and this writer has been remarking on a potential future Lagerfeld tribute while basically giving tours to friends during too many trips to the Met's Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibition this summer.
This wouldn't be the first time Lagerfeld's designs would take the Met spotlight. The museum hosted a Chanel-focused exhibition in 2005, and after 22 years at the helm of the iconic French maison, the German-born designer's presence was almost as large as that of founder Coco. Additionally, the range of his work across so many houses and aesthetics meant one has been more likely than not to see a Lagerfeld creation somewhere within the exhibit during years in which the museum has opted for a more general theme.
Lagerfeld hated the idea of a "retrospective," preferring to constantly look forward instead. To this end, he was working on his final collections for Fendi and Chanel until his death, giving final instructions to his close collaborators only when the end was near and also repeatedly expressing a desire not to have a major funeral. A private ceremony kept to the late designer's wishes, but ultimately his career warranted a memorial hosted by Chanel, Fendi, and his eponymous brand, attracting industry fixtures to say their goodbyes within his creative home of the Grand Palais. A dedicated tribute from fashion's biggest annual exhibition event seems just as inevitable, and due to Lagerfeld's status as a household name, it has great potential for success. Remember when the Alexander McQueen exhibition, held a year after the designer's untimely death, required extended hours to accommodate the massive interest? While there's no certainty this would create the same situation, expect much larger crowds than usual.
For now, the next the world will hear about the Costume Institute's exhibitions is its 2020 theme, so keep your eyes open in the coming months. It's unclear just what the ultimate decision for that may be, but the Met has previously commented their plans to mark the museum's 150th anniversary and incorporate elements from the institute's permanent collection.
Reflect more on Lagerfeld's career through the images below.