Splash Landing

Art Basel Miami Beach Comes to a Soggy and Sweet Conclusion


Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting   
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Over the weekend, the Miami Basel party scene didn't let its hair down so much as remove its clothes. By the end of Saturday night, Daphne Guinness and David LaChapelle were splashing about in the legendary pool at the Raleigh, while over at Nikki Beach, the team from New York burlesque club The Box was baring its flesh for the likes of Christian Louboutin, André Balazs, and Vito Schnabel. But first…

Friday night was fashion night, with—and this is a partial list—parties for Bruce Weber, Visionaire magazine, Viktor & Rolf (whose caviar-and-cocktails bash at the Webster drew that other designing double act, Dean and Dan Caten), and Pharrell Williams' new collaboration with Moncler. "It's not bulletproof," the musician-turned-designer said of the military-style vest he was wearing from the collection. "It's fashion-proof, though." Other guests at Casa Tua, meanwhile, were giggling over a new plaque that listed—complete with idiosyncratic spellings—the popular Italian restaurant's founding members. "Well, maybe they spell von Furstenberg different in Italy," Genevieve Jones offered.

At the Standard, meanwhile, Bruce Weber was signing copies of Roberto Bolle: An Athlete in Tights. The photographer used a very close-up shot of the ballet dancer in his skivvies for the party invite, but he had opted for something a little less racy for the book's cover. "We thought about it," Weber said. "But I want the cover to be forever. I like it that people don't have to hide my books in drawers." Among those on hand was avowed Bolle fan Lorenzo Martone. "It's nice to see a big, sexy man that is not gay—clearly, you can see he's a heterosexual," Martone said. How was he so sure? "It's called gaydar."

Anyway, one party led to another, and before you knew it, it was Saturday night and Daphne Guinness was hosting a bash for her photographer pal David LaChapelle and their recent collaboration on a series of images for Maybach. After a press conference and dinner in the penthouse of the Raleigh hotel, the duo decided it was time to get wet, following a dozen synchronized swimmers into the pool—she in her diamonds and couture, he in only his underwear. There, they destroyed the giant ice sculptures of the cars, much to the delight of observers like China Chow, James Franco, Nicky Hilton, and Leigh Lezark.

After several years "spending too much time in a fast crowd," LaChapelle now prefers to hang out at his house in Hawaii pursuing personal work. He also brings his own edge to the commercial projects he agrees to take on. In one of the images for Maybach, Guinness stands in her meticulous, glamorous best in front of a shiny silver car, while the backdrop is a burned-out, desolate desert. "Luxury in the face of the coming of the apocalypse" is how the photographer describes it. "He's a genius," Guinness said, and then, ending the weekend on a tender note, she added: "But most of all, he's like my best friend in the world."

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