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Anna Wintour unveils Karl Lagerfeld exhibition ahead of Met Gala: His work "deserves celebration"

Wintour unveils new exhibition for Met Gala
Anna Wintour unveils Karl Lagerfeld exhibition ahead of Met Gala: His work "deserves celebration" 10:57

Politicians, celebrities and fashion's finest will be on the red carpet Monday night for the Met Gala, a lavish fundraiser that celebrates the opening of an annual fashion exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Anna Wintour, Vogue's longtime editor-in-chief, and Andrew Bolton, the exhibition's mastermind, gave CBS News a sneak peek of the show, which honors the late Karl Lagerfeld.

"When we go back and we look at the work that he has created over so many years, I think that deserves celebration," Wintour told CBS News' Gayle King about the iconic fashion designer who died in 2019. "It deserves acknowledgment. I think there will be extraordinary interest in this exhibition."

The show features nearly 200 of Lagerfeld's pieces, narrowed down from over 10,000. And it focuses on his creativity, said Bolton, curator at the Met's Costume Institute. It's also thematic, centered on the different design houses that Lagerfeld worked in, including Chloé, Chanel and Fendi, Bolton said.

Lagerfeld "knew so much about history," Wintour said. "But he was always focused on the future. ... He was an historian, but is also intensely modern and looking forward."

The decision to celebrate Lagerfeld at fashion's biggest night has received some criticism. Lagerfeld made fat-phobic and sexist comments throughout his career, including saying he was "fed up with" the #MeToo movement in 2018, and criticizing Adele's weight a decade ago.

But Wintour said, "Karl was provocative, and he was full of paradoxes. And I think sometimes he would say things … to shock, and not necessarily things that he believed in."

According to Wintour, he said things that she and Bolton don't agree with. 

"Karl was a complicated man," she said, adding that the exhibition focuses on Lagerfeld's work and is not a biography.

Bolton said the exhibition is a team effort and that one of his favorite aspects is the collaboration that went into creating it. 

"In the end, we're trying to raise the funds," Wintour said, "and we're trying to bring people into the museum. And we hope they have a good time, too," she said about Monday night's party. 

Wintour has hosted the Met Gala for nearly three decades. In 2022, it raised a record-breaking $17 million.

When it comes to choosing who will be on the exclusive guest list, Wintour said, "We're always interested in trying to reflect a cultural moment, and what we feel is happening in the world at any given time."

King asked how Wintour handles the "hurt feelings" of those not invited.

"We try and curate the guest list in a way that makes sense for whatever the theme of the exhibition is or the people that have known and loved and supported Karl over so many years," Wintour said. "So, you know, there's always another year, and every year we try and make it different, have different people come. So obviously there's always next year."

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