High Crime Is In Fashion
The Ocean’s franchise strikes again, this time with a new criminal mastermind (Sandra Bullock) assembling an all-woman murderer’s row of felons, fences, cons, and counterfeiters for the attempted robbery of fashion’s biggest night: The Met Gala.
With Ocean’s 8 now available on Vudu, in up to 4K UHD (high definition haute couture), we’re wondering just how possible this high-fashion heist really is. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work researching what it might take for the average movie-buff to pull off such a caper (You know, for science. Please don’t try this at home).
Ocean’s 8 was filmed at the real-life Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute (there were even some actual high stakes happenings that occurred on the film’s set). The Met is home to the annual themed Gala that raises funds for the museum and is the social event of the year for the filthy rich, famous, and fabulous.
Unsurprisingly, even getting into the party is no small feat. The Ocean’s 8 team may be able to infiltrate the soirée with a little string-pulling and cyber-subterfuge, but in reality, the 500-800 annual invites are generally reserved for fashion tastemakers, Hollywood royalty, the museum’s largest private donors, and a who’s who of the trending-est names in pop culture. In other words, no fashionista shirt or shoes, no service.
That’s not to mention the $30,000+ price tag for a single ticket, but if money’s no object there could be an empty seat with your name on it. Ultra-wealthy fans of the event have been known to waitlist tickets in the event of a celebrity dropout (say, a last-minute shooting conflict or pregnancy). With deep pockets and a little bit of luck, you could be sashaying past confused red carpet photographers and onwards towards your big score.
If you’re stealing on a budget though, an alternate route may be through the kitchen doors. The waitstaff for the event are meticulously selected and trained by Vogue editor-in-chief and Met Gala organizer Anna Wintour’s private chef, but the only requirements are catering experience and (according to one anonymous server from this year’s event) model good looks. so, if you or a friend have the place-setting and eye-catching qualities to make the cut, this could be your in.
ARTSY & CRAFTY
Of course, getting in is only the tip of the iceberg-sized diamond. The larcenous ladies of Ocean’s 8 have to get past magnetic locks, a round-the-clock security detail, and state-of-the-art surveillance to try and lift the $150 million Cartier Toussaint necklace from an A-list actress (Anne Hathaway).
If your target is a sparkly specimen as well, you’re in for the same types of challenges. In addition to each celeb’s personal security entourage, the jewelry brands that loan out such expensive bling provide their own highly-trained jewelry guards to boot. If that’s not bad enough, brands like Tecori utilize Radio Frequency ID tags to track the jewels’ location in the unlikely scenario that they’re not where they’re supposed to be.
You might think that at this point the museum’s art itself might make for an easier target, and you might be right—kind of. Famed street art provocateur Banksy notoriously smuggled one of his pieces into England’s Tate Britain Museum, where it hung amongst the official artwork for hours before falling down of its own accord. As if to double-down on the point, another artist reenacted the same stunt with their own painting at an exhibit of Banksy’s own work, so the idea of secretly adding or subtracting from the exhibits may not seem so far-fetched.
Times are a-changing, however. In response to rampant pilfering (French art thief Stéphane Breitwieser stole over 200 pieces of art from over 172 museums between 1995 and 2001, simply by picking them up or prying them off the wall), museum security professionals have upped their game. Individual pieces may be outfitted with the same RFID tags used to locate the previously mentioned jewels, and motion sensors are sometimes attached to the frames of valuable paintings.
In regards to the Met, metal detectors and bag/package searches are now in full effect. While these methods are by no means foolproof (a police detective has reported surprisingly lax security checks on multiple visits), you may find yourself agreeing with the pros of Ocean’s 8 that the designated exits don’t make for the best escape plan.
NOW MUSEUM, NOW YOU DON’T
Slipping away from couture’s hottest night is—as you’ve probably guessed by now—easier said than done. Even a momentary regrouping or stealthy switcheroo in the restroom may prove difficult, as the event organizers are cracking down on bathroom loitering in response to excess selfies and unauthorized smoking.
There’s also the exhibit’s normal security staff to contend with. These are no mere rent-a-cops; a current LinkedIn job post for Met security calls for both a Bachelor’s degree and previous security experience.
However, the veteran guards may, in fact, represent one of the few possibilities for a clean getaway, at least according to designer Zac Posen. When Posen needed space to help Christina Ricci change outfits in 2011, Met guards that he knew personally from having interned at the museum allowed him to use a back room and even escorted the original ensemble out the back entrance. Seems like the perfect avenue for some stolen goods…if you’ve got those kinds of connections.
HEISTING AIN’T EASY
If you’re starting to feel like infiltrating and robbing the scenesters and socialites of a famed public institution is more trouble than it’s worth, you’re not alone. Even the badass burglars of Ocean’s 8 find themselves sweating, squabbling, and improvising in their pursuit of the biggest haul of their criminal careers. With a little luck, a few double-crosses, and one or two happy accidents they just might pull it off, and the rest of us are better off enjoying the movie.