Ta-ta, Art Basel! Sure, the annual international extravaganza, which wrapped its 13th edition on Sunday, was squarely focused on art, but let’s be frank: It was also a chance to star-watch like mad. One of the many celebrities in town for the main event was one-time Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star, lifestyle expert Carson Kressley, who unveiled a collaboration Friday with the Oliver Gal contemporary art gallery in Wynwood. “Kressley’s infectious creative personality was a great source for our collaboration,” said Lola Sanchez, co-founder of Oliver Gal. “The pieces blend urban and abstract motifs — timeless with a modern edge.” We spoke to the New York-based Kressley, a Dancing with the Stars fan favorite, before the opening.
What inspired your latest project?
I’ve been a lover of art since I was just a child, and then studied fine art and art history at Gettysburg College. Even though my focus since then has been fashion and interior design, I’m also a very passionate competitive equestrian. I think that art is the finishing touch for a room. The final step that gives it personality and individual style. My collection combines my love of horses, dogs and fashion with interior design.
How did this all come to fruition?
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I’d been a fan of Oliver Gal’s fashion-inspired artwork and was thrilled to meet the team behind that great work at the famous High Point Market furniture and design show in North Carolina. We began talking, and I mentioned I would love to team up with them on pieces that I would like to see in my own home. They agreed and the capsule was born.
What do you want visitors to the gallery to take away from it?
I think just having art that is at an accessible price point is great and that there is wonderful artwork out there for every budget and every taste. Go out there and explore and become a collector of sorts. It doesn’t need to be an expensive or daunting process. Just buy what you love, and it will work.
What else are you doing these days?
You can see me on Logo TV this spring as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I also have a style guide coming out next fall with St. Martin’s Press. My fashion collection of affordable instant makeover pieces, Love Carson, is available at evine.com.
What did you think of the fashions during Basel and what trends are you seeing?
I love that Miami is truly an international design destination. I’m seeing a lot of artisanal, handcrafted jewelry and bags, and of course, lots of white on white. I really like the more bohemian way women pair great, quality pieces like a glamorous [Christian] Louboutin shoe with something simple like a white tee and jeans.
Did you watch “DWTS” this season?
I watch it every season. Being an alum of the show, I’m a fan for life. It was such a fun experience, and I love to see the journey other celebs take. From day one I fell in love with [winner] Bindi Irwin. Her spirit is incredible, and she really brought so much joy to the dance floor each week. Having Derek Hough as a partner doesn’t hurt. He’s got a lot of mirrorballs under his belt, so to speak. Naughty me [laughs].
What are your favorite things about visiting Miami?
I’ve been coming here since the late ’90s when I did photo shoots in South Beach as a stylist for Ralph Lauren. While it’s always been a fab and fashionable place to get away, it’s now a real art and design destination that can compete with any city in the world. And of course the eye candy at the beach is world class, too!
Info: Kressley’s pop-up shop is open until Dec. 29 at OG, 2819 NW Second Ave., Miami; 954-922-3374; Olivergal.miami