The Met Gala is almost upon us, with the fashionable occasion taking place on May 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual star-studded fundraiser will feature an exhibit dedicated to the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld — as well as a dress code, “In honor of Karl,” to match.
Ahead of the event, we’re looking back on numerous viral moments throughout Lagerfeld’s storied career, including his controversial 2004 diet book.
Lagerfeld chose to publish the book with Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” in light of his own weight-loss journey in 2000, where he lost 93 pounds over 13 months. His core reasoning for the weight loss, he stated at the time, was to wear slimmer-fitting clothing by fashion designers like Hedi Slimane.
“One fine morning I woke up and decided that I was no longer happy with my physique. Although I was overweight, I had gotten along fine and had no health problems,” Lagerfeld said in the book.
“But I suddenly wanted to dress differently, to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane. But these fashions, modeled by very, very slim boys—and not men of my age—required me to lose at least eighty pounds .I did not think that it was possible to lose so much weight in one year….[But] in fact, it took me exactly thirteen months.”
Though the book’s emphasis on intense weight loss wasn’t positively received by all, it did draw attention for its range of unusual recipes and dieting tricks that Lagerfeld utilized himself.
Created by Houdret, the volume’s 120 recipes featured meals that emphasized calorie restriction across both the winter and summer seasons, including non oil-fried eggs, steamed fennel with lemon, baked rabbit spread, plain yogurt, cooked endive heads and smoothies that utilized sachets of Sunrex powders and supplements, according to the Back Row Substack by Amy Odell.
Aside from food, the book also included comments from Dr. Houdret and Lagerfeld on exercise, plastic surgery, stress management and smoking. Though it’s no longer in print, resold copies can be found on platforms like Amazon, retailing from $89-$147.
Today, the diet culture-focused book has remained controversial among fashion circles for its focus on superficial weight loss, as well as unhealthy dietary restrictions. In the years since, it can be clearly seen as having been a platform for Lagerfeld’s opinions to be shared with a wider audience outside of fashion — and ingraining him as a pop culture figure in the process.
Watch this space for more announcements on Karl Lagerfeld and the 2023 Met Gala ahead of May 1.
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