...until someone stepped on it, giving new meaning to Fashion Killas
Last night, the spirit of Karl Lagerfeld dispatched a swarm of cockroaches into the Metropolitan Museum of Art to taunt Anna Wintour for hosting a retrospective (something Lagerfeld hated: “I don’t want to see all those old dresses,” he once said) and to tear through looks that surfaced on the Colgate-flecked (red, white, and blue-striped) carpet. As the guests thinned out and the livestream came to a halt and photographers waited and waited and waited in anticipation for Rihanna, at least one roach was caught on camera, but there were probably millions of them ascending the vaunted steps. Perhaps they were dressed in archival Mugler, or perhaps they were a prophetic harbinger of a Met Gala doomsday.
It was a fitting addition to the guest list considering at least part of the exhibition explores Lagerfeld’s fascination with “the salon and the street” and the whole thing threatened to upstage the late arrivals. After all, those bugs are the only things capable of surviving Nuclear War... and the Met Gala. Rihanna’s long-awaited appearance could be framed as a refusal to bend to the whims of celebrity – in an era when people want more albums and a bigger Super Bowl, she remains an unbothered queen – but it was above all a power move. The threat of a no-show – to the point where literal cockroaches are the only things remaining on the red carpet – is the ultimate wielding of status. And when Rihanna did arrive in a custom Valentino Haute Couture cape, which had been festooned in 3D Camelia flowers by Perpaolo Piccioli's Roman team, she told the expectant crowd that she felt “expensive”.
A$AP Rocky, meanwhile, was dressed as a Gucci Lagerfeld in a long-line kilt, starched shirt, fingerless gloves, and a hulking brooch affixed to the lapel of his blazer. It was inevitable that someone was going to turn up to the Met Gala in a Karl Lagerfeld costume – the man codified the archetype of a poe-faced fashion designer with his unique, vampiric uniform. “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that. It is like a mask. For me, the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long,” he said. With the addition of the scarlet skirting, it was much better than Kendall Jenner’s spangled iteration, which seemed to reference Kris Jenner as much as it did the famed designer – and then there was Kristen Stewart, James McAvoy, and Cardi B, all of whom looked a bit like a Karl Lagerfeld Memoji in their own designer cosplays.
But on to the bad news. It was with great sadness that Variety reported the death of that lone cockroach. It was, according to the magazine, stepped on. People were so concerned with the ethics of Choupette making an appearance – which she did, kind of – that they seemed to forget about New York’s most beloved, homegrown creatures. Perhaps it was trampled under the weight of Rihanna’s superstardom, a tiny Navy member crushed trying to catch a glimpse of its queen like the rest of us. Though nobody knows the real perpetrator, its life and death give new meaning to the term “Fashion Killas”. For the rest of this year’s Met Gala looks, click through our gallery here.