No one can rain on Russell Simmons’ parade. At Thursday’s Fifth Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, which he hosted with brother, artist Danny Simmons, a well-dressed crowd occupied a pop-up venue that was at once gallery and intimate speakeasy on the sands of Miami Beach behind the Soho Beach House. A quick downpour threatened to douse the crowds, but it was gone before the first round of empty cocktail glasses was cleared.
The event showcased the winners of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, a program of his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which Russell and Danny founded.
“The art you see here is a reflection of the times,” Russell Simmons said. The collection of art displayed at the event was by 12 finalists in the annual competition. “Good art captures where we are as a people and as a society.”
Grand finale winner Kristine Mays, whose piece The Entanglement of Black Men in America, a hoodie crafted from hundreds of pieces of wire, speaks to the explosive consequences of racial assumptions, a conversation that is being held in the streets of NYC and Ferguson, Missouri, even as Basel patrons shuttle through Miami traffic.
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The VIP-only crowd enjoyed an intimate set by singer Miguel, cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and classic hip-hop jams by DJ M.O.S.
Guests included actress Rosario Dawson, model (known for shimmying in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video) turned Gone Girl actress Emily Ratajkowsk, Sports Illustrated cover girl Nina Agdal (with realty agent boyfriend Reid Heidenry) and models Garrett Neff and Chanel Iman. Former boy bander Lance Bass arrived as the party was winding down with the future Mr. Bass, fiancé Michael Turchin, but took time to pose with fans.
WHAT A DOLL
Yes, Thursday night was perfect for celebrity-watchers. Barbie, the doll, made her Art Basel debut at the Thompson Miami Beach for the Jeremy Scott and Moschino party celebrating their Barbie-inspired collection. There, Miley Cyrus was seen sipping Belvedere cocktails alongside Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and rapper A$AP Rocky discussing their Art Basel plans to the tune of a soundtrack spun by none other than DJ Paris Hilton.
Over on the seventh floor of the Lincoln Road parking garage, Paper magazine and Svedka Vodka threw a party for Kim Kardashian’s Break the Internet behind-baring cover. There, the newly ubiquitous Joe Jonas, Glee’s Darren Criss and Scout Willis joined a bunch of “VIPs” as Kanye West’s “creative director” Virgil Abloh spun. Hmmm, where was West? Guests did not spot the rapper, but his famous wife did play hostess, saying hello to guests, who dined on a lavish family-style meal of seafood paella, filet mignon and oak-grilled duck breast. Earlier, Kardashian and little North linked up with former Real Housewives of Miami star Larsa Pippin and her daughter Sofia. The two girls played on a tire swing in a pic Kim posted to Instagram.
Lesley Abravanel, Fred Gonzalez and Maddy Marr contributed to this report.