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Quiet Luxury Has No Place at the Met Gala

An event built on viral moments is unlikely to move the discourse around stealth wealth forward. Plus, what else to watch for this week.
Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe's dress to the Met Gala in 2022.
Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe's dress to the Met Gala in 2022.

The great mystery of this year’s Met Gala — will Kim Kardashian attend — turns out to not be such a mystery after all. Last week, she showed up at the Time 100 event sporting a Chanel clutch designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Then she posted selfies from Paris with the late designer’s cat, Choupette.

This isn’t a “Met Gala at a crossroads” sort of year. The Lagerfeld theme is not without controversy, given the late designer’s many taboo comments about women’s bodies and other topics. But there’s little sign that the discourse will overshadow the looks on the red carpet. The evening will raise millions of dollars for the Met’s Costume Institute, and crowds will line up when the exhibit opens on May 5.

Still, this year’s event comes in the thick of the discussion around whether luxury fashion’s love of gimmicks has reached a point of diminishing returns (photos of Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress at last year’s ball, or in head-to-toe Balenciaga black in 2021, sometimes accompany these articles). Quiet luxury is trending, and old-school elegance was the dominant theme at the Oscars and other high-profile events. Could this be the year celebrities decide to tone it down?

Probably not. Loro Piana isn’t usually in the red carpet roundups for a reason. The Met Gala, and red carpets generally, are built around viral moments, and have been since before Instagram existed. Unlike the Oscars, if you’re a celebrity, there’s no bigger reason to be at the Met Gala other than to stand out. Quiet luxury has no place here; you can’t dress to blend in when you’re walking up the stairs to have dinner with Anna Wintour and Rihanna in the Temple of Dendur.

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Though this is the first Met Gala since 2017′s Rei Kawakubo-themed affair to centre on one designer, celebrities not contracted to wear a particular brand have plenty of options: over his six-decade career, Lagerfeld had ties to Balmain, Chanel, Fendi, Chloé and more. At the least, we can probably assume Jared Leto, who is producing and starring in an upcoming Karl Lagerfeld biopic, is cooking up something memorable.

The question isn’t whether there will be gimmicks, but who has the clout to bring Choupette as their date.

What Else to Watch Out For This Week

Monday

The Met Gala; guests begin arriving on the red carpet at 6 pm ET

May Day holiday

Tuesday

Aritzia reports quarterly results

Eurozone inflation data for April

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Wednesday

US Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates one-quarter percentage point

Revolve reports results

Thursday

Moncler, Hugo Boss, Next report results

Friday

“Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” exhibit opens at the Met’s Costume Institute

Adidas reports results

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US April unemployment data

Saturday

King Charles’ coronation ceremony

Editor’s Note: This article was amended on 1 May 2023. A previous version stated that Tapestry will report its quarterly results on May 2. It will report on May 11.

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

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