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Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and global editorial director of Condé Nast, has been the maestro of every Met Gala since 1999. But this time, it’s personal.

Not just because the exhibition the party honors is devoted to the work of the much celebrated designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, but because Mr. Lagerfeld was one of Ms. Wintour’s closest friends for decades. He created the clothes that, she said, “I’ve worn to the most important events in my life — to my wedding, to my children’s weddings, to Met Galas and state dinners and tennis championships at which I watched my heroes compete for their dreams.”

For her, she said, Mr. Lagerfeld’s designs were “a uniform, a kind of armor and a way of holding certain moods and memories close. His fashion does for me what fashion should. It makes me feel more confident in being myself.”

Now, when she wears his work, she said, “I still feel that I have him near.” The Times asked Ms. Wintour to pick some of the favorite Lagerfeld designs that still hang in her closet and describe the memories they evoke.

I wore this collaged Chanel dress to the amfAR gala in New York alongside Hillary Clinton when she was in the middle of her first term as senator in 2003. I wanted to feel both chic and confident. I was delighted when, some years later, my daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, wore the same dress to her first Met Gala. Karl, who liked to strike a pose against nostalgia, took one look at her and said, “Recycled!” In fact, Karl’s dresses are enthusiastically recycled in my family, treated with reverence — but not

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