A Day with Base Boutique's Steven Giles
By Jon Warech
You could say that the success of Base, the one-stop shop for the perpetually hip, is a reflection of the editing skill and gimlet eye of cofounder and Creative Director Steven Giles. The boutiques—and his life—are one big, well-crafted exhibit of style and whimsy.
RISE AND GRIND
A late 9 am start sees the relaxed Giles at a dining-room-size wood table decked with dueling Apple iMac desktops and surrounded by four white leather chairs. “I’m not an early riser, but I have a long day,” he says, still often at his desk at 1 am inside his downtown loft. Most days start with The New York Times while streaming anything from Daft Punk to Carole King on his Parrot speakers. When he pulls himself away for a quick weather check out his balcony, he overlooks the oldest cemetery in Miami—“a view to die for,” he jokes, noting it’s the final resting place of such names as Tuttle and Burdine. Giles dresses in what he calls “relevant casual,” working through a to-do list that, in a loft devoid of clutter, seems aesthetically pleasing on his desk. “My ideal environment would be a clean concrete shell,” he says. “Order in my personal environment has always been important to me.”
Midday might mean a 2 pm lunch at Gigi or hopping on his Vespa and scooting through Wynwood’s vibrantly mural-ed streets to grab a fresh brew at Panther Coffee. When he’s conducting business at home, the loft acts as a conversation piece: A Kehinde Wiley marble bust contrasts with a ceramic heart by The New English; Pop Art hangs on the wall; and a kitschy porcelain bear rests next to books on Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior. Off to the side, a large Virgin Mary statue from OCD (his projected design group) faces his bed, and a troll doll sits atop his out-of-the- ordinary toilet. “It may not translate, but I am actually a minimalist at heart,” he says. “My loft is as close to a hallowed space as circumstances permit. I love the sense of space, the building, and the silence.”
Finding the next cool thing involves a lot of travel, so Giles is almost always on the go. That’s why there is usually Muji luggage with travel-size Aesop products ready to be either packed or unpacked. When he’s out of town, he’ll spend his evenings with a glass of Malbec, catching a dance or music performance, but in Miami he likes to relax. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem like Giles knows the definition of the word: He’ll watch Breaking Bad or House of Cards on the couch or read in bed, but he’ll never just kick his feet up, he says while sitting straight up in his big orange chair with his legs crossed. “This is as loungey as I get.”