Inside the Met Gala: Furry Cat Star, Late Cinderella

By Jocelyn Noveck

May 2, 2023 GMT

Jared Leto was looking for a place to hang his hat. Er, actually his head.

Leto was hanging out at the cocktail reception at the Met GalaShortly after his grand entrance on the carpet As Choupette, designer Karl Lagerfeld’s famous cat, in an all-white fur outfit with very real-looking eyes. Once into the cocktails, it was too hot to hold the whole suit, but he wouldn’t drop his head.

Some friends wanted to see the head carried off as a war trophy. For example, Rami Malek and director Taika Waititi tried it.

But what happens at dinner? Leto said, “I’m going to find a nice quiet seat so Chow Chow can rest a little.”

And so it goes at the Met Gala, where an Oscar-winning actor looks for sleep while carrying a giant cat head.

Here are some moments and scenes from Monday’s Met Gala:

Lots to recycle

As guests entered the Metropolitan Museum’s Great Hall, they passed a towering centerpiece — surrounded by an orchestra playing music — and then ascended the grand staircase to the reception, with hosts Anna Wintour, Mikaela Goel, Beniope Cruz, Dua Lipa and Roger Federer. waiting for last year, The centerpiece and staircase were carpeted with bright pink roses — 275,000 of them. This time recycled water bottles. Meade officials estimated the number received from the recycling plant at 100,000 – and went back to the recycling plant. It was the inspiration of exhibition designer Tadao Ando.

I remember Carl

Often, celebrity guests skip the show and go straight to the cocktails. This year, museum officials really wanted to see Lagerfeld perform extravagantly – so they helped things along by diverting the crowd from the reception line to the exhibition with a cocktail and dinner upstairs.

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The exhibition was more crowded than usual, and one of the first to arrive was Baz Luhrmann. The Australian director worked with Lagerfeld on a Chanel No. 5 ad starring Nicole Kidman, and said the designer is constantly working, learning and creating. He also praised his intelligence: “Often we don’t celebrate intelligence.” He wore a high-collared, starched white shirt, part of Lagerfeld’s personal uniform, with his Thom Browne ensemble. He recalled meeting Lagerfeld at his home in Biarritz, where he said: “There was a whole room of these shirts.”

Broadway Reunion

The Met Gala is filled with stars from film, music, sports, fashion and more, but Wintour has a penchant for Broadway and often invites actors from her favorite shows to the gala. At this fair, the space on one side of the airy Charles Engelhardt Court became a happy reunion spot for Broadway actors. Josh Groban (“Sweeney Todd”), Philippa Chu (“Camelot”), Ben Platt (“Parade”), and Jonathan Graf (“Merrily We Roll Along”) were among the group gathered, laughing and hugging. Sue called the party “amazing and strange. I feel so lucky to be here with these artists and celebrate another artist.

For Platt, this is her fifth Met Gala, and she can’t believe her luck. “Anna is the greatest champion of theater!” he said. “Parade,” he said, was his favorite gala since he was able to enjoy it with his friend and co-star Michaela Diamond.

An education in fashion

Platt got a big congratulations from Groban, who plays the murderous barber in “Sweeney Todd.” She was at her second Met Gala and said she appreciated getting to know Lagerfeld, the German-born designer who worked in luxury fashion for 65 years until his death in 2019.. “When you come to an exhibition like this, it’s impossible not to appreciate the impact and inspiration and influence he had on all kinds of fashion,” she said. “It was very educational for me.”

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Dennis, anyone?

It’s no secret that Wintour also loves tennis. He is a US Open seed, especially close to the recently retired Swiss superstar Federer. Federer, who was this year’s host, said he had a more relaxed experience at his second Met Gala. “It’s a much more relaxed lifestyle now, so you can really indulge,” he said. “I can really look forward to it and be ready for it.” Federer strolled from cocktails to dinner with Serena Williams, who recently retired from tennis and announced her pregnancy. At the gala with husband Alexis Ohanian. Also on the show former Girls star and current commentator Mary Jo Fernandez brought her college daughter as her date.

And some basketball

NBA star Russell Westbrook, attending his third gala, said it was still surprising to meet “so many style icons” at fashion’s biggest night. But one major new face from the game this year is Brittney Griner, smiled as she expressed how happy she was to attend the cocktail reception. On the carpet, the WNBA star talked about helping families working to free Americans in prisons overseas through the organization Bring Our Families Home.

Leto, still carrying the cat’s head

Leto, the actor, didn’t leave Choubet’s head, explaining that his relationship with Lagerfeld (and the cat) was both personal and professional. “It was made with so much love,” she said of the dress. “I know Carl. One of the first times I met him I said, ‘I want to cast you in a movie,’ and he said, ‘You’re the only one, my love.’ I feel he would have had the biggest smile on his face if he had seen it in glory.

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A chance meeting in the rain

Many guests reflected on past interactions with Lagerfeld — some of whom they had met only once. Hugh Jackman explained while sampling the exhibit that he met the designer over dinner and was struck by a man who never stops, whose ethos is “keep creating, keep creating, keep creating.” Rapper Pusha D, who recounted the encounter once, said he met Lagerfeld in Paris as he left his store, as do many others decked out in Thom Browne. “He was walking in and I was walking out. I was like, ‘OMG Carl, I have to take a picture.’

Waiting on Cinderella

The clock soon struck midnight and Cinderella still hadn’t arrived at the ball. It felt like midnight. Either the crowd outside on Fifth Avenue or the crew on the red carpet awaited Rihanna’s arrival. Inside the museum, a hard-working crew of waiters, photographers, and museum staff waited as most of the guests headed for dinner. They heard screams outside, hoping it signaled Rihanna’s arrival – but in one case, it was confused by a cockroach.

Finally, the singer showed, past 10pm some guests were already leaving dinner. She appeared in her dramatic Valentino ensemble in white with partner A$AP Rocky in a kilt-type layer over jeans before disappearing down a runway. But Cinderella is finally here, and everyone else can consider turning into a pumpkin.

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