The Time Katy Perry's Met Gala Dress Spawned A Lawsuit

Kim Kardashian caused quite the controversy by wearing Marylin Monroe's iconic 1962 dress to the 2022 Met Gala, according to ARTnews, but she wasn't the first celebrity to cause a stir on the steps of the Met. In 2015, Katy Perry inadvertently sparked a lawsuit with her outfit choice, designed by Moschino's Jeremy Scott. Wearing a strapless black gown embellished with graffiti artwork, Perry completed the look with a clutch in the shape of a spray can, according to Hollywood Life.

While the pop star's punk aesthetic didn't exactly match the China: Through the Looking Glass theme of the 2015 Met Gala, The Mirror noted it certainly got people talking. Especially when Brooklyn street artist Joseph Tierney, known as Rime, realized Scott had used his graffiti tag on the dress without his permission (via Vandalog). Tierney promptly filed a lawsuit in August 2015, accusing Scott of compromising his "credibility as a graffiti artist," according to the filing shared by Page Six.

Joseph Tierney said he was never asked to use his design

Jeremy Scott's graffiti-inspired design first debuted on the runway in February 2015, worn by Gigi Hadid, before perhaps becoming one of the most iconic outfits at the Met Gala that year. "Not only did Ms. Perry and Defendant Scott advertise, wear, and display the clothing at the event," the lawsuit read (via Page Six). "They arrived at the event in a spray-painted Rolls-Royce and even carried around Moschino-branded cans of fake spray paint during the event as if Defendants were responsible for the work."

Joseph Tierney's lawyer David Eriksen went on to tell The New York Post that he believed the "commercialism of the use negatively impacts [Tierney's] credibility" as an artist. As the American University Intellectual Property Brief notes, the artist "never consented or had knowledge" of his work being used by Moschino and that he hasn't received any compensation from the revenue that the design made. 

Jeremy Scott said he wasn't responsible for the use of Tierney's design

In November 2015, Jeremy Scott filed to dismiss the copyright infringement and claimed that he wasn't responsible for the design choice. The Moschino designer said the graffiti used on the dress "were selected and created by a graphic artist...and completely independent of me," per Page Six. Acknowledging Scott's comments, Joseph Tierney asked how "if he doesn't design anything for Moschino, then what exactly does he do?" Tierney went on to say that the designer "seems to think of himself as an artist, but he really doesn't seem to care about other artists all that much."

By January 2016, a Los Angeles judge ruled against Scott's motion to dismiss, saying that as he was "the high profile head designer" of the dress, he was like to have participated "in the design of its most high-profile garment of the season," as Page Six reports. According to The Art Newspaper, the suit was eventually settled out of court in April 2016.