Art Basel Miami Beach Recap

We sent our man Dirk DeSouza on a rabid dash through all things social during ABMB. See if you can keep up.

January 30, 2013

Day 1—Tuesday
Even in a Champagne-sweating, event-driven party town like ours, nothing touches the electric chaos, the delicious sensory overload of Miami’s preeminent excite-fest that is Art Basel. I launched my journey at the jam-packed kickoff soirée for Serafina restaurant at the Dream South Beach hotel. Nothing like walking into a room full of stylish, worldly, and moneyed non-Miamians to start the race. Yet there were familiar faces, too: Flanking the DJ on the gorgeous Deco patio were Steven Worth and girlfriend Maria Borges, steps away from publicist Lyndsey Grimes Cooper and husband Dr. Matthew Cooper, and sultry Brazilian model Regina Sil. Only in Miami does a restaurant opening prioritize bubbly over food, so I scampered across to David’’s Café for a bite to fuel my impending efforts.

A quick taxi ride took me to the Interview magazine/Sotheby’s fête at The James Royal Palm hotel, the newly refurbished Collins lodge where socialites Tara Solomon and Swede Victoria Shvets partied alongside the New World Symphony’s Nathalie Cadet-James and Iva Kosovic on the pool deck, the temperature perfectly crisp, and everyone dressed in their New York best. Next stop? The downright amazing White Cube gallery party at Soho Beach House, where Russian billionaire Dasha Zhukova commingled with half-billionaire artist Damien Hirst and Soho founder Nick Jones. Enormous platforms covered the pool, with gazelle-like girls tossing their hair, dancing, smoking, dressed in obscure Belgian designer duds, and drinking with reckless abandon, just as the script calls for. By 2 a.m., I scurried to the Le Baron popup party at the Rec Room at the Gale South Beach, a sardine-packed basement romp where a trio of French-cum-Chinatown NYC DJs spun tribal house, disco, and Lou Reed classics with such aplomb that even nightlife fixtures Louis Aguirre, Alan Roth, and host Josh Wagner were sent into aural bliss until almost sunrise.

Day 2—Wednesday
Designer Stella McCartney held an intimate lunchtime British tea and Champagne party at Miami’s preeminent celebrity bastion of fashion, The Webster. Actresses Marcia Cross and Lori Loughlin browsed frocks aside our town’s most stylish women, sipping Veuve Clicquot and nibbling petit fours, while polished hosts Cedric Aumonier and Laure Hériard Dubreuil laughed and milled. Moments later, the Webster rooftop hosted an equally fabulous celebration for Valentino, with models Greta Jimenez and Anna Herrin strutting to the beats of Los Angeles DJ Lola Langusta while Martha Stewart perused the crowd. As night descended, the Design District ascended, with French fashion house Dior Homme putting on an impossible-to-get-into screening of Bruce Weber’s short film Can I Make the Music Fly at the Moore Building.

Day 3—Thursday
Legendary dress designer Diane von Furstenberg held an über-private lunch at Soho Beach House’s Moroccan-themed seaside tent, where I savored bubbly, lobster, and lamb chops alongside Chelsea Handler, André Balazs, Paris and Nicky Hilton, and supermodel Stephanie Seymour’s teenage socialite sons, known as the Brandt Brothers. Next stop was a VIP bayside party at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach for yet another Weber creation, his latest book, All-American Volume Twelve: A Book of Lessons, where true legends Calvin Klein and Donna Karan paid their respects and golden retrievers (of course) scampered about during a picture-perfect sunset. Taxis and packed causeways finally led me to the extraordinary lights and sound production that VH1 conjured for indie band Metric, which played to a thousand VIPs, including Annie Vazquez, Rob Sena, and nightlife pioneer Carmel Ophir, at the enormous Scope Art Fair tent in Midtown Miami. This wasn’t a South Beach crowd; the indie downtown kids were out, enveloped in a world of vocals, guitars, and LEDs, living in the moment. What a night!

Day 4—Friday
I started on the mainland and toasted my way east: In the Design District, Harper’s Bazaar’s popup shop, aptly named ShopBazaar, infiltrated the Buena Vista Building with dancers and superchefs Bobby Flay and Michael Schwartz sipping vino. Next stop: The Standard—yet again—for Terrywood, photographer Terry Richardson’s book-release party, where rapper Azealia Banks utterly killed, as a camouflage-tuxedoed Pharrell Williams, Stacy Keibler, Kelly Osbourne, and Demi Moore showed for the snapper. It seems Terrywood’s meticulously crafted guest list was all about Los Angeles and New York, which makes Basel kind of like a safari across a human Serengeti. Car service, please, to the SLS Hotel South Beach’s Hyde Beach for Hublot Watches’ impenetrable blowout party for nouveau-Expressionist artist Domingo Zapata. Near the Ferrari-lined pool, billionaire Micky Arison partied with Entourage actors Jeremy Piven and Adrian Grenier, and power publicist Ryan Hattaway milled about in a sea of hotties. After-hours I made off to Le Baron’s next popup party, at Nikki Beach’s cavernous Pearl Restaurant & Champagne Lounge—the trio this time spinning funk, deep house, and French folk songs as the star power of Beyoncé and Jay-Z startled revelers until the wee hours. Baselites by this point were running on fumes.

Day 5—Saturday
Barely alive, I hit the Sagamore’s VIP Brunch, the annual lovefest that helps close out Basel week. Hotel owners/art collectors Cricket and Martin Taplin greeted guests as General Manager Brian Vujnovic ran the show, securing drinks for Sean Yazbeck and Casa Morada hotel owner Lauren Abrams. This last of the Basel mornings was made gentler with breakfast cocktails, great conversation, and the breakfast of Basel champions: Nutella-stuffed crêpes. Smiling, exhausted faces abounded, each sporting hints of relief that this always epic week was almost over.

—Dirk DeSouza
photography by neil rasmus/ (leyland, ragone); david x prutting/ (balazs)

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