If you touched your phone or opened your laptop at all during the past 12 hours, you’ve probably been inundated by coverage of this year’s Met Gala, which was held Monday night. This year’s theme honored Karl Lagerfeld, the globally lauded fashion designer and artist who became Chanel’s creative director in 1983 and who died in 2019.
While Anna Wintour and company sing his praises, many have seemingly forgotten that the designer, whose controversies included his vocal disdain for “curvy” women and his reported contempt for the Me Too movement, was far from a beacon of progressive thought.
Quannah Chasinghorse, a Native American model and activist, didn’t appear to forget. While she didn’t directly acknowledge Lagerfeld’s problematic past, Chasinghorse was one of the celebrities at the Met Gala who threw subtle yet iconic shade at the late designer through her outfit. For one, it was very punk rock, a rebellious style that Chanel began to delve into the year after Lagerfeld died with its Punk Princess collection.
The dress, which was created by Prabal Gurung and punctuated by jewelry from Sota Scowi Designs, was pink from head to toe — a color that Lagerfeld famously loathed.
It’s also not lost on me that pink was the primary color of the Me Too movement, which Lagerfield frequently and publicly criticized. Like many other old, white men in the industry at the time, Lagerfeld characterized Me Too as some sort of witch hunt.
“If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model!” he said in an interview with the magazine Numero. “Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent.”
While his openly unsavory stances weren’t surprising, the fact that he was honored at the Met Gala in such a big way was (to some people, at least). Instead of skipping the event, though, other women of color also hopped on the all-pink train. Among them were Viola Davis and Naomi Campbell.
While we can agree that Lagerfeld was a great designer, it feels important to acknowledge some of his hurtful and ass-backward behaviors. Thankfully, certain celebrities have a conscience, aren’t blinded by glitz, and are courageous enough to get theirs while disrupting the system.
Sometimes, finally having a seat at the table means having the last word, too.
CORRECTION: A prior version of this story misidentified the designer of Chasinghorse’s dress.