Review Round Up: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, The Met

We take a look at what is being said about The Met’s exhibition looking at the work of the controversial fashion designer.

The Guardian: “The final room tackles Lagerfeld the man, displaying what the show argues was his “greatest deception” – his self-presentation – via his famous fan, sunglasses, and fingerless gloves displayed in Perspex boxes like relics. It is not until the end of the show that you see the man himself, which was intentional, said Bolton, who believes Lagerfeld’s design work is more intimate than his persona.”

Fashionista: “By focusing as much as possible on the pieces themselves (which, it must be said, are pretty spectacular, especially when you see the level of craftsmanship and detail up close) and presenting them as existing within these dualities, Bolton attempts to hold multiple truths at the same time. He acknowledged the hurt Lagerfeld, the man, caused: “Karl said things that were funny, that were incisive, that were very controversial and some, very offensive, which, obviously, we don’t support.” His goal with this, he explained, is to “get to the contradictions of Karl through the work.” “

The New York Times: “But the exhibition also fails entirely, and deliberately, to address the complications of the man. Bolton admits as much in the introduction to the exhibition’s catalog. “We did not want to emphasize ‘Lagerfeld the man,’” he writes, but rather “Lagerfeld the designer”; to find the connective tissue in a career that could often seem profligate in the extreme: flitting here, there and everywhere; reluctant to commit. In an interview this week, the curator elaborated on his stance, saying he wanted to leave the judgments on character to historians and biographers. And yet Lagerfeld the man is also the ghost in the machine of the show: impossible to ignore.”

Vogue: “The change of scale from outsize to human-size, and of venue, professional (the 7L studio) to personal, right at the get-go, hints at the explicit and existential queries posed in the exhibition, namely: how do you go about understanding someone? And is it really possible to ever know another person?”

Herald “Each gallery combines contradictory moods: romantic and military, historical and futuristic, feminine and masculine, floral and geometric. Filmy tulle coexists with shiny black plastic. It’s striking to think the same mind conjured up the pastel pink gown with cascading roses, and a jaunty design with huge block alphabet letters, which Lagerfeld loved because, Bolton says, “L comes after K in the alphabet. So, KL.”” “Throughout there are peekaboo views that allow Met-goers to glance forward and back at the myriad designs Lagerfeld brought to life. The opener is a close-up video of Lagerfeld’s fast-moving gloveless hands sketching the coat that won him a 1954 Woolmark Prize and subsequently an assistant’s role with one of the judges, Pierre Balmain.”

Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty is on display at The Met until the 16th July 2023.

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