United States: Behind The Spotlight Of The Met Gala: Insurance Considerations

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, otherwise known as the Met Gala, "the Oscars of the East Coast," or "the party of the year," is a black-tie affair that takes place on the first Monday in May every year. Sponsored by Gucci and exemplifying an exciting and prominent crossover between the art and fashion worlds, the Met Gala will kick off and provide fundraising support for this year's "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition, displayed in The Met Fifth Avenue's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall from May 9 through September 8, 2019.1 Each year, as we watch the photos from the Red Carpet in real time, we also think about the less exciting, behind the scenes issues that may arise, including various insurance considerations relating to art and fashion.

The camp theme was inspired by Susan Sontag's 1964 essay "Notes on Camp," which classified camp as the "love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration…style at the expense of content…the triumph of the epicene style."2 The exhibition will explore how irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration have been expressed in fashion, and will begin with the origins of camp in the court of Louis XIV at Versailles.3 The exhibition will feature approximately two hundred objects, placing womenswear and menswear, including the iconic swan dress worn by Bjork to the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001 and designed by Marjan Pejoski, alongside sculptures, paintings, and drawings dating from the seventeenth century to the present. Additional designers featured include Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Sui, Gianni Versace, and Vivienne Westwood.

The Met Gala originated in 1948 as the brainchild of publicist Eleanor Lambert,4 but it was not associated with an exhibition until 1972, when former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland joined the Met as a consultant. Vreeland developed the gala as an opportunity to inaugurate some of the most ambitious and popular exhibitions in the Costume Institute's history, including "The Glory of Russian Costume" and "The World of Balenciaga."5 However, the Met Gala attained its current visibility with the appointment of Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue and the artistic director of Condé Nast, to chairwoman in 1999. Wintour began recruiting celebrities as honorary chairs or co-chairs and inviting A-list stars to attract more attention to the event and the exhibition. This year she has invited Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, and Serena Williams to be co-chairs, demonstrating the Met Gala's clout in a variety of industries including fashion, music, film, art, and sports.

Lady Gaga already made fashion waves earlier this year at the 91st Academy Awards when she became the third woman ever to wear the priceless 128.54 carat "Tiffany Diamond" necklace, and the first woman to wear it to an awards show.6 Before Lady Gaga, the last person to wear the necklace was Audrey Hepburn, in 1961, when she wore it for publicity photographs for her new movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

With such notoriously valuable objects of fashion, both on guest and on display at the Met under one roof, the casual onlooker may wonder at how such high-value items are adequately protected so that they can be made accessible to the public or wearable by celebrities. After the release of the movie Ocean's 8, which featured a jewelry heist involving guests and a royal jewels costume display at a fictionalized Met Gala, this question may be increasingly compelling, despite the (unjustified!) reputation of any insurance inquiry as a dreary and disorienting rabbit hole.

There will be three types of items at the Met Gala that may require insurance, many of which may be on loan: (1) fine art displayed as a part of the Costume Institute's exhibition; (2) costumes displayed as a part of the Costume Institute's exhibition; and (3) costumes worn by Met Gala guests (such as the custom Versace gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, worth more than two million dollars, worn by Blake Lively to the 2018 Met Gala;7 or the Guo Pei yellow dress worn by Rihanna in 2015).8

With respect to fine art, insurance is an intensely and carefully negotiated part of any loan agreement, as the highest risk of damage to artwork tends to transpire when it is being transported or installed. It is therefore important to clarify when each party's risk of loss begins and ends, as well as the dollar value that is being insured. Further, it is important to clarify that commercial fine arts insurance policies are subject to standard exclusions. These include wear and tear and inherent vice, as well as damage resulting from the process of repairing or restoring the insured objects. In addition, it is important to confirm that both parties understand the process the insurance policy provides in the event of partial loss or damage. Each policy will have provisions that set forth the process. With fine art, parties may agree upon a specific appraisal process post-damage in order to determine that percentage. For example, if a lender wants to require a specific conservator in advance, often the insurance company will need to agree in advance to such requests. The insurance coverage also includes a provision for the total loss of a work of art, in which case the agreed insurance value will be paid to make the lender whole following a total loss. If the parties cannot agree, the appraisal language in the fine arts policy will govern the resolution.

There are many commonalities between the art and fashion industries when it comes to insurance considerations. In part, this is because the clothing on display by the Costume Institute as part of the exhibition would typically be covered under the same type of insurance policy that covers paintings or sculptures being exhibited. And such clothing will be protected by the same measures that the Met takes for other loans of fine art – including display on platforms and behind glass as appropriate – to protect from damage and comply with insurance requirements.

However, for clothing that is worn to the Met Gala, certain fine arts exclusions would apply if the clothing is covered by a fine arts insurance policy. For example, a common exclusion to such insurance coverage, which becomes particularly relevant for clothing, is the exclusion for inherent vice. Inherent vice is the deterioration of an object because of the instability of its components. Clothing materials are generally more susceptible to inherent vice than are fine art media and must be carefully handled whenever moved and while exhibited to prevent deterioration. Costumes that are not displayed as art, but rather worn as current fashion, bear the additional wrinkle that they are meant to be functional and are, therefore, subject to wear and tear, which is also typically excluded from insurance policy coverage.

Therefore, for loans involving high-value fashion items such as jewelry or one-of-a-kind gowns, the lender and the guest who is wearing the work of art should have a clear agreement as to what will happen in the event of a snagged hem, a spilled glass of wine or, as in Ocean's 8, diamonds replaced with cubic zirconia. The insurance coverage for such clothing and jewelry may require additional security measures that both the lender and guest should follow to ensure coverage in the event of such loss. We can only speculate about the security requirements that Lady Gaga observed while wearing the iconic "Tiffany Diamond" necklace and what behind-the-scenes measures are in place on Monday evening to protect similarly stunning objects adorning guests.

This article was also published by Flash Art International.

Footnote

1 See "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Presents 'Camp: Notes on Fashion' for Its Spring 2019 Exhibition," Vogue, April 1, 2019.

2 Hamish Bowles, "The Met 2019 Exhibition and Gala Theme Has Just Been Revealed: Camp: Notes on Fashion," British Vogue, October 10, 2018).

3 Press Release, "Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute's Spring 2019 Exhibition to Focus on Camp in Fashion," October 9, 2018.

4 Alice Newbold, "Met Gala 2019: Everything You Need to Know," British Vogue, February 22, 2019.

5 Veronica Rocha, A Brief History of the Met Gala, CNN.

6 Carrie Goldberg, "Lady Gaga Just Showed up to the Oscars in One of the World's Most Famous Pieces of Jewelry," Harper's Bazaar, February 24, 2019.

7 Jennifer Calfas, "Blake Lively's Insane 2018 Met Gala Look Had $2 Million Worth of Jewelry and a Dress That Took 600 Hours to Make," Money, May 8, 2018.

8 Cheryl Wischhover, "Chinese Couturier Guo Pei Reveals How Rihanna Ended Up Wearing Her Gown to the Met Gala," Fashionista, May 5, 2015.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions