Fashion designers are flocking to South Florida this week for Art Basel Miami Beach, to enjoy the art — and find inspiration.
Perhaps a delicate shade of blue brush stroked onto a painting, or the swirling shape of a sculpture discovered in Miami will wind up gracing a fashion runway next year.
“Fashion and art go hand in hand,” said women’s luxury fashion designer Naeem Khan, who is based in New York and owns a penthouse near the Design District in Miami. “Creatively, there is a lot of inspiration from art for what I do. So I get inspired from it, and I buy art.”
Khan cleared his schedule for Art Basel this year, after missing it last year.
“It’s a time when a lot of my friends come to Art Basel,” Khan said. “We all get together and spend time together and look at art and have a good time.”
Other leading designers heading here include Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka; Alesandro Sartori, Berluti’s artistic director; Lubov Azria of BCBG Max Azria; Mary Katrantzou; Jonathan Simkhai; Rebecca Taylor; Robert Rodriguez; Deborah Sawaf of Thalé Blanc, and others. Based in New York, London, Milan, Los Angeles and elsewhere, they will add another dimension to the international glitterati in Miami this week.
Some, like Khan and Lubov Azria, chief creative officer of BCBG Max Azria, have vacation homes here. “I think art is one of the biggest single inspirations in my life,” said Lubov Azria who owns a condo with her husband Max Azria on Fisher Island. “I wanted to be an artist.”
Never able to make it before, this year will mark her first time at Art Basel, said Azria, who held a fashion show debuting her spring collection at the Soho Beach House on Monday night.
Others also enjoying Art Basel for the first time will be Badgley and Mischka, designers of the luxury eveningwear and daywear label, who have an apartment in Palm Beach.
“We’re looking forward to it. We have lots of friends who go all the time and we look forward to catching up with them,” Mischka said. “It’s an incredible rendezvous.”
An appearance at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour Friday night was the impetus for the visit, he said. Nearly a dozen designers, including Katrantzou, Taylor and Simkhai, will also be there to celebrate the store’s recent remodeling. Taylor will also appear Thursday at Neiman Marcus at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables; Katrantzou will also be at Nordstrom Aventura on Friday.
This year will mark Simkhai’s fifth time at Art Basel Miami Beach. He said he especially likes the satellite shows, Pulse and Scope, to see the work of emerging artists.
“The different uses of color are inspiring, and the shapes and feelings you get when you see something new for the first time,” he said.
Sawaf, who founded the luxury clutch and accessories line Thalé Blanc three years ago in Los Angeles, will visit Art Basel for the first time. Harpers Bazaar’s pop-up at the Soho Beach House is featuring her clutches, which will also be available at Alchemist in Miami Beach.
“For me it’s the best of both worlds,” said Sawaf, of melding fashion with art.
“I want it to be a surprise,” she said of Art Basel. “I want to be able to discover it for myself — I’ve heard so much about it.”