"A Higher and Higher Level"
A Night of Nonstop Parties at Art Basel Miami Beach
If the trick to party-hopping at Miami Basel were, as the old Froot Loops saying goes, to just follow your nose, then everybody would have ended up at BLK DNM. Johan Lindeberg launched his brand's new fragrance at the Webster, where his marketing director, Max Vallot, was generously spritzing the air with it. Driving the point home was a video projection by the team at Post, Alex Dellal's forward-thinking iPad publication; they'd filmed the scent's particles vaporizing using different zoom distances and frame speeds, and the result (backed by a slowly pulsing original track by Twin Shadow) was an oozing abstraction that suggested everything from an eclipsing moon to molten lava.
Since unveiling the line earlier this year, Lindeberg seems to have launched a new BLK DNM project every month. Explaining this one's change of venue, he said, "It was good timing before Christmas, and I like the energy in Miami." (Never mind that the room, like many at Basel, was dominated by Parisians and New Yorkers.) And it's the perfect time for a unisex eau de parfum, he added: "I think right now girls want to be more masculine and men want to be more feminine. That's how I feel, at least. It's a little bit like in the seventies."
Jeffrey Deitch's L.A. MOCA dinner, meanwhile, was a little bit like in the Maghreb. With the Kingdom of Morocco (along with Maybach) sponsoring, guests found themselves being served couscous and baklava and seated on leather cushions. A Basel ringmaster of sorts, Deitch knows this particular circus pretty well. "It gets at a higher and higher level. Many of the major international collectors are here," he noted. A few tables to his right, Paris Hilton could be seen placidly powdering her face.
Deitch had booked Soulwax as his after-dinner act; interestingly, his former employee, Kathy Grayson, had organized a rival performance for her gallery, The Hole, in the exact same time slot two doors down. "I was surprised. But sometimes that's what your protégés do—they take you on head-to-head," Deitch said. "We're over capacity anyway, so they're taking some of the runoff." Whether or not it was about outdoing the old boss, The Hole's Salem show at the Delano certainly made a splash. With smoke billowing around the band, a pair of exotic dancers did things in the shallow end of the pool that you definitely wouldn't want your children to see. At one point, Aurel Schmidt locked lips with a topless performer poolside.
Meanwhile, out at the Opa-Locka Airport, Van Cleef & Arpels was throwing a black-tie benefit for the Wolfsonian-Florida International University that saw an airline hangar transformed into an enchanted forest, complete with performances by Nick Cave and Vanessa Beecroft. Van Cleef's Stanislas de Quercize personally greeted patrons at the door. "I find joy in discovering new artists," he remarked. "I believe Baudelaire was right when he said, 'The artists are the ones able to discover the future of the world.' " Back in town at the Fondation Cartier and W magazine dinner, Naomi Campbell, Roberto Cavalli, Adrien Brody, Pharrell Williams, and Bebel Gilberto gathered to fête Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes and her hanging mobile sculpture Aquarium. Asked if it was made specifically for the space, the artist exclaimed, "No! The space was made for it!"
Basel event planners tend to forget that Miami has all kinds of beachfront—but not the ones at Louis Vuitton and Art.sy, which threw a barbecue bash in the sand way out back of Soho House. "It was Dasha's idea, not mine," explained the site's young founder, Carter Cleveland. (Zhukova co-hosted with fellow Art.sy investor Wendi Murdoch.) Outside, waiters served up mountains of seafood paella and snow crab. Inside the tent, guests were invited to try a beta version of the site at a computer station—safe to say this was a more popular attraction earlier in the evening, because by midnight the place had become as genuine a dance club as you're likely to see at Basel, with house music pounding and Champagne bottles tipping in all directions. Sounds like the native habitat of a certain hotel heiress—and, indeed, there she was. Cleveland, who is quickly learning party politics as he and his fledgling site gain exposure, said he'd been warned in advance. "I was told not to be photographed with Paris Hilton."