Style / Insights

Hail to McQueen

Alexander McQueen debuts a new store concept with its Bal Harbour boutique.

August 29, 2012

A fantastical look from McQueen’s Fall/Winter runway

One of the world’s most talked-about labels arrived in the Magic City this summer when the Alexander McQueen boutique opened its doors. The London-based label is positioning this nearly 700-square-foot Bal Harbour flagship as the kickoff of a new store concept for the brand, based on ideas conceived by the late designer and Sarah Burton, the woman long by his side, who ultimately took over the creative direction of the house. In keeping with the eccentric-meets-artful aesthetic that has come to be associated with McQueen, the store’s décor finds inspiration in the unexpected. “It’s very McQueen to see something from a distance and think it’s one thing, and then to look up close and discover something else,” Burton notes. And while it’s all too easy to wax rhapsodic over the often-fantastical creations Burton sends down the McQueen runway, the label’s commercial Fall collection, newly arrived in stores, is highly wearable— as i s the house’s must-have bag of the season, the aptly named Heroine. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-866-2839



Lust-Worthy Beach Bags

Forego blah-and-basic canvas in favor of a beach carryall that’s tote-ally chic.

July 02, 2012

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Turquoise drawstring bag with houndstooth trim, Salvatore Ferragamo (price on request). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-866- 8166; . Soho large shoulder bag in grape royal/roccia python, Gucci ($4,500). Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-441-2004. Straw-beaded Glam tote, Valentino Garavani ($3,745). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 305- 865-1100. Blue leather bag, Versace ($2,195). Bal Harbour Shops, 305-864-0044.

A day on South Beach is all about transitional moments—from soaking up the sun to checking out what’s newly arrived on the racks at The Webster to cocktail hour on the eighth-floor rooftop at Soho Beach House’s Ocho. Chances are the last thing you want to lug around is the standard canvas beach tote. Why be practical when you can opt for posh? This is what leaped to mind upon viewing the Spring/ Summer collections and discovering just how many bags looked both positively beautiful and beach-friendly. And with the Swim shows fast approaching, you’ve got another reason to make a statement as you negotiate the golden sands next to The Raleigh. After all, standing out amid stylish A-listers is no day at the beach.

—Laurie Brookins


New Exhibit: A Traveler

Miami's Hernan Bas toys with the contrast of luxury and the unfettered vagabond.

May 07, 2012

Being homeless never looked so good. That’s the tongue-in-cheek takeaway from A Traveler, a new installation from the Miami-raised and now Detroit-based artist Hernan Bas. Commissioned by luxury retailer Louis Vuitton and housed within its Aventura store, A Traveler offers a playful spin on the alluring waifs and wasted dandies known to fans of Bas’s lush paintings. Here, the young man in question is brought to life in a short film, captured afoot in a forest. In one hand is a hobo’s bindle fashioned out of leather emblazoned with Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram and then tied to a birch branch. In the other is a bottle of Moët (a nod to the Champagne maker’s corporate parent, which also owns Louis Vuitton). On either side of the installation’s video screen are several of the bindles in question, bringing the cinematic spin on Depression-era chic into the third dimension. “I initially studied the history of Vuitton as a brand and as a cultural entity,” Bas explained to Artinfo about his inspiration for the project. “One notion kept coming to the surface: the art of travel.” But this wasn’t just any brand—it was a billion- dollar entity he’d been hired to artistically invoke. “It was a bit of friendly ‘monkey on one’s shoulder’—of course, a very stylish monkey.” A Traveler is on exhibit through November at Louis Vuitton, Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-931-3887


—brett sokol


Alber Elbaz Reflects on 10 Gorgeous Years

Elbaz takes readers behind the looking glass in a splendid book commemorating his first decade at Lanvin.

April 16, 2012

Devotees of the exquisitely draped dresses Alber Elbaz has conjured throughout his first decade as Lanvin’s artistic director have reason to rejoice: The designer is releasing a covet-worthy book to celebrate his tenure at the iconic (and oldest) Paris atelier.

Alber Elbaz: Lanvin hits select stores this month (locally at Lanvin’s boutique at Bal Harbour Shops) and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a collection—in this case, Fall/Winter 2011. Elbaz partnered with German publishing house Steidl—known for producing such tomes as David Bailey’s Birth of the Cool and Vivienne Westwood by Juergen Teller—to craft a book that tells a concept-to-runway story largely through photography (by acclaimed shooter But Sou Lai).

A simple note pinned to an as-yet-unfinished dress, for example, reveals not only the intricacies of its construction, but also the thought that can go into something as seemingly simple as the length of a zipper. Those who wonder why a fabric might be chosen for a particular dress, or why an embellishment is deemed vital, will likewise be sated by the plethora of sketches and notes that trace the origins of a collection—from inspirations to swatches to sessions with fit models to ultimately the high-wattage presentation of a Paris runway show. But in a nod to the ultimate source of ideas, Elbaz kicks off the 704-page, gilt-edged volume (at $450, it’s undeniably a fashion keepsake) with the moment his own thoughts commence: sitting in front of a piece of stark white sketch paper. “Day after day, season after season, I face a blank page, and I have to fill it with a dream. That’s my work,” he says in this feast for the fashion senses. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-4254


First Look: The Webster at Target

Laure Heriard Dubreuil and Target team up to produce an easy, breezy, cheeky collection of summer staples.

April 13, 2012

Looks from The Webster at Target collection

Attention The Webster shoppers: The luxe Miami Beach boutique is bringing its impeccable style to your neighborhood Target store. Co-created by The Webster owner Laure Heriard Dubreuil and Target, The Webster at Target limited-edition line launches May 6 and includes apparel and accessories for women, men, kids, and baby with a SoBe sensibilty. Get ready for palm-print shorts, flowing maxi dresses, graphic tees, sky-high wedges, flamingo-print tanks, colorblock cardigans, cheeky bikinis, chevron woven belts, and sand dollar chandelier earrings.



Revved Up Spring Accessories

Designers inject a little Miami-friendly, metallic cool into spring's pastel accessories.

April 09, 2012

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Merry-Go-Round mule in patent leather and suede, Louis Vuitton ($1,460). Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-931-3887. Vernice leather clutch, Prada ($2,280). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-9111. Mint YSL Cardinal pump, Yves Saint Laurent ($1,695). Bal Harbour Shops, 305-868-4424

Pastel shoes and bags as staples of your spring wardrobe always run the risk of seeming a bit too precious, as though you never quite got over the idea of being 10 years old and dressing up for Easter Sunday. Designers are hip to this notion, which is why this season you see so many icy undertones injected into otherwise-sweet shades for a hint of fashionforward edge. A much-talked-about hit when it debuted on the runway, Yves Saint Laurent’s Cardinal pump is crafted in a sorbet-like mint green, with a brilliant gold accent that no doubt contributed to its status as one of spring’s most coveted shoes. For his strappy Merry-Go-Round mules at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs sent out a variety of icy shades, mixed with a metallic silver that likewise imbued the look with modernity. But for artful whimsy, it’s tough to top Miuccia Prada, who opted for iconic ’50s influences such as flame-fendered cars (said autos adorned leather skirts, while the flames also found their way onto sling-back sandals), as well as pinup girls—hence the use of brilliant yellow bows on posh clutches in pale blue. Rarely has sweet looked so sophisticated.


—laurie brookins


Petal Perfect Spring Fashion

Fall in love with spring’s bounty of floral accessories.

March 05, 2012

From Top: Cruise Antibes sandal, Chanel ($850), Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Colins Ave., 305-868-0550. Small Glam Tote, Valentino ($2,745), Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Colins Ave., 305-868-1215. Daisy Bead & Necklace, Talbots ($79), The Falls, 8888 SW 136th St. Miami, 305-254-6951

You can always count on designers to offer up some variation on floral as a spring trend, but this season the choices seem particularly lush and inventive. We loved Jason Wu’s digitally printed petals on his breezy dresses and high-waisted shorts, and waxed rhapsodic over the brilliant beaded and lace floral treatments on a variety of Valentino totes. Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy conjured up van Gogh’s sunflowers on their ’50s-inspired dresses, while the birds of paradise blooming throughout Joseph Altuzarra’s Spring collection had us thinking he’d been hanging out at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Meanwhile, the ubiquity of spring florals also comes with one decided advantage: With equally lovely entries from the likes of J.Crew and Talbots, it’s also a trend that’s highly accessible, no matter whether your budget tends toward a bunch of daisies or a bouquet of hothouse flowers. 



By Laurie Brookins


Jewelry Designer to Know: Nektar de Stagni

The pioneering Miami jewelry designer expands her horizons, while bringing it back home with a new collection in our poshest boutiques. 

March 05, 2012

De Stagni at The Standard

Though she’s currently braving a cold New York winter, Nektar De Stagni looks down wistfully at the flamingo-adorned flip-flops she is fond of wearing because they are so stereotypically Miami. “I’m fantasizing about lying on the beach at Soho Beach House, eating fruit and drinking Evian,’’ she confides.

The 28-year-old designer—best known for whimsical jewelry—has recently closed NDS, the clothing and accessories boutique she opened in the Design District five years ago; she has plans to open a new Miami shop by year’s end. While searching for a fresh location, she’s taking her store on the road, with plans to open pop-ups in New York this winter and East Hampton over the summer. “The [NDS] store was a creative platform that happened to have a retail aspect,” she explains of the space in which she held art and fashion events as well as showed her designs.

De Stagni was born in Miami and raised in Napa Valley, California. “I grew up picking blackberries and eating apples off the tree,” she muses. “But design was second nature to me; I still have piles of sketches I did as a kid.”

She began researching back then, studying illustrations by Erté and Aubrey Beardsley and examining shapes and fabrics. “I was always wearing costumes, and I started altering my own clothes when I was six,” she recalls. Her first design experiment was pasting pennies on the bottoms of her flat Mary Janes to imitate the click-clack of high heels. “I wish I still had them,” she says with a sigh. By the time she was in her early teens, her family had returned to Miami and she was taking sewing lessons and buying every book she could find about the fashion business. “Miami has always been a strong source of inspiration. It’s a city of contrasts with a lot of different aesthetics merging,” she says.

De Stagni’s sartorial ambitions soon took a backseat to her jewelry. “It became so popular and consumed all my time, so I stopped making clothes.” Her plan is to pick up fabrics again, but right now, she is readying her new collection, which she plans to unveil this month at both The Webster and the STND/OHWOW boutique at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach.

Like much of her work, the soon-to-debut pieces celebrate contrast. They are largely based on Baroque jewelry interrupted by minimal metal forms—ornate designs intersected with squares or simple shapes of rose gold, bronze, and oxidized “black gold.” There are also white-pearl necklaces with bursts of bright cobalt and lavender velvet.

Her signature collections feature pearls pavéd with happy faces, and natural rope wrapped with crystal or silk. “I am always playing with opposites, combining classic or natural with humor or popular symbols,” De Stagni explains.

It turns out those symbols that wind up as beautiful adornments come from her dedication to pop culture, and hours of viewing old shows and videos on the computer. “I get a lot of images and influences from YouTube!” she reveals. 


—Beth Landman


Carlos Miele’s Spring Collection

The designer's newest line is suited for sultry Miami.

February 06, 2012

Silk-chiffon caftan in goldfish print, Carlos Miele ($2,850). Ever After,
2977 McFarlane Road, Miami, 305-444-7300

OCEAN DRIVE: You called your spring collection Perpetual Sun. How do you translate this idea to fashion?
Perpetual S un is related to the virtual image of a perfect world, where the sun is always out, bright and shining, [and this] natural exuberance was translated in my collection through vivid colors, liquid and fluid lines, sleek sculptural forms, and vibrant digital prints.

It’s a collection that seems very much at home in Miami.
It’s very suited to both warm weather and a simultaneously sexy and relaxed environment; the clothes are colorful and textural and very body-conscious in their construction. M iami is international and cosmopolitan and loves all these ideas.

Which looks are best for our town?
The chiffon caftans are the most Miami-looking pieces to me. They are colorful and fluid, like the city’s atmosphere.

Ultimately, what is it about this city that inspires you?
Miami has a great energy and is such an exuberant place with vibrant people, which is fascinating. I t is one of the only A merican cities where you can either relax going to the beach or while attending an elegant black-tie event. F or all these elements, the environment provides a perfect source of inspiration.



Luxe Bag: the Étribelt

Hermès introduces the Étribelt to its Bal Harbour clientele.

February 06, 2012

Étribelt bag in Togo calfskin, Hermès ($7,600). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave.,

The storied French label never disappoints when it comes to chic styling that effortlessly conjures the brand’s heritage. Just arriving in stores, the Étribelt’s trapezoid shape calls to mind that most iconic of Hermès bags, the Kelly, though we love the contemporary (and comfortable-to-carry) update of the rounded handles. And while many a wraparound strap has adorned generations of Birkins and Kellys, this one takes its cue from the house’s signature Étriviere belt, seen in both its men’s and women’s collections. While the Kelly has never failed to dazzle since its introduction in the 1930s, we can say nearly 80 years later that we’re equally charmed by her younger sister, indeed.

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