Are you dying to attend Milan and Paris Fashion Week next February, but don't have a fashion industry hookup to get you tickets? Thanks to the Watermill Center's Summer Benefit Auction, you don't need one. On July 26 the center will auction off two front row ticket packages: one to the Fendi, Prada and Giorgio Armani shows in Milan and another to the always celeb-packed Miu Miu show in Paris. The starting bids? Just a cool $25,000 for the trio of Milan shows and $10,000 for the Miu Miu show.
Should you want to secure your spot in Milan, which includes two front row seats to each show plus backstage access to the Fendi show, you can buy the deal now on Artsy for $95,000. Yes, $95,000. For that same price you could buy a base model Mercedes S-Class Sedan, get approximately nine tickets to fly around the world on Star Alliance or pay for one year of university at NYU with $20,000 to spare. (If you're on a budget, you could always choose the "Buy Now" option on tickets to the Miu Miu show in Paris for just $25,000.)
To put that in perspective, celebrities get paid to attend fashion shows (some even ask for six-figures to do so), while editors are also getting paid (by their employers) to attend.
But before you totally flip your lid over the cost of these fashion week tickets (which the auction actually values at "priceless"), remember that the Watermill Center Summer Auction is raising money so that it can continue to host artists at its six-acre Hamptons facility without having to charge them. OK, supporting artists isn't ending world poverty, but it's an important feature of a country that values freedom of expression.
What might actually be more interesting than the cost of the fashion show packages is their relation to the other art on sale – or the fact that fashion week tickets are being sold at an art auction at all. In fact, the "Buy Now" price of the Milan Fashion Week package ($95,000 in case you forgot) is the highest priced item in the entire auction, which also includes works by Julian Schnabel, Anselm Kiefer and Robert Wilson, and has the highest estimated value of all the works combined (nothing beats priceless, guys).
The centerpiece of the event is to be the United States debut and sale of Robert Wilson's video portrait of Lady Gaga, after Jacques-Louis David's "Death of Marat". The starting auction price for that work is $80,000 and the estimated value is $125,000, the second-highest starting bid price and value after Anselm Kiefer's 2012 painting "Samson". In the context of the current art-world climate, where Jeff Koons powerful Neo-Pop Art is closing out the Whitney's uptown building and the Museum of Modern Art is preparing to host a Björk retrospective next spring, it seems like pop culture might be winning out in the art market. That means next year's Fashion Week ticket prices could skyrocket, so when you have to justify the purchase on your taxes, you can just say you got these Prada seats on the cheap.