By Ben Kellerman
NEW YORK (Reuters) – An enormous fluffy, white, blue-eyed Burmese cat mascot ascended the Metropolitan Museum of Art steps on Monday in homage to Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved pet “Choupette,” who later revealed himself as actor Jared Leto, bringing a whole new meaning to this year’s Met Gala dress code “in honor of Karl.”
In another homage to the famous feline, American rapper and singer Doja Cat wore a prosthetic cat nose and a hooded Oscar de la Renta gown fitted with cat ears.
The invitation-only Met Gala, famed for its A-list celebrities and extravagant outfits, is a benefit for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.
The upcoming exhibit, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” celebrates the work and life of the late German designer who was creative director for fashion houses including Chanel and Fendi as well as his namesake brand. This year’s guests were told to dress “in honor of Karl.”
“Karl loved romantic but he also loved something a little edgy and nasty,” said American fashion designer Michael Kors.
Many celebrities opted for looks that were très romantique and ancien, with no shortage of pastel vintage Chanel gowns, pearl necklaces and Camellias, the official flower of Chanel, on the red carpet.
There was also no shortage of bling.
Meta Gala co-chair Dua Lipa wore a vintage 1992 Chanel Haute Couture Fall cream tweed gown and paired it with a never before seen 100 karat Tiffany & Co. diamond necklace.
American Rapper Lil Nas X brought the edge arriving covered head to toe in metallic silver body paint, crystals and pearls along with a bejewelled cat mask.
Meta Gala co-chair and Ghanaian-British screenwriter and actress Michaela Coel wore a nude semi-sheer long sleeve Schiaparelli gown encrusted with 130,000 crystals, straight back corn rows and gold statement accessories including a diamond-and-gold turtle-neck necklace.
Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, who has organized and presided over the event since 1995, told Coel that she selected her to be a co-chair because she is unafraid to be herself and felt Karl’s journey was to try to learn to be unafraid of being himself, the actress told Vogue.
The so-called Oscars of the East Coast this year is also co-chaired by Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, Swiss tennis great Roger Federer and Wintour.
“(Lagerfeld) has been naughty and fun and has just given us such brilliant fashion for his entire life,” American fashion designer Marc Jacobs told reporters on the carpet.
American basketball star Brittney Griner stepped onto the red carpet dressed in a champagne Calvin Klein suit and said it feels “crazy” to be in the spotlight at an event like the Met.
Singer Rihanna was the last to saunter up the stairs telling reporters that she was feeling “expensive” in an all white, hooded Valentino gown covered in extra large Camellias.
(This story has been refiled to fix formatting in paragraph 13)
(Reporting by Ben Kellerman in New York; Writing by Doyinsola Oladipo in New York; Editing by Michael Perry)