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August 1 2014

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Blasblog: Miami Mallrats

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Being down in Miami for Art Basel, it’s been impossible to avoid a few MIA stereotypes. We all know them: the surgically enhanced, tackily dressed beach clubbers. But as a few days here has shown me, the city’s home to some incredibly classy ladies, too—precisely the ones that Lanvin hopes to attract to its new boutique at the luxe Bal Harbour Shops mall (yes, mall). “I’ve seen the sort of older woman in skin-tight jeans and a tube top,” said Alex Woo, Alber Elbaz’s confidant and design consultant. “But I’ve also seen some really chic girls—that’s who we think will come here.” The name, the location, and the festive opening should be enough to lure them: A French musical trio was set up outside, and fruity French cocktails were passed around with croque monsieur canapés. Squint, and you could even believe you were on the Riviera, not the Biscayne.

But the shop that truly ruled Miami during the Basel festivities was the Webster on Collins Avenue, a luxury department store stocking so many high-end brands it’s almost a mall unto itself. The Webster staff worked overtime this week, hosting dinners at the ground-floor restaurant, Caviar Kaspia (the resto’s first outpost outside of Paris), for Peter Dundas and Viktor & Rolf on Thursday and Friday night, respectively, and a cocktail party to welcome Joseph Altuzarra’s collection to the boutique on Saturday. By the weekend, there was definitely some fashion fatigue: The designer explained that the art was inspiring to see and the week’s worth of parties were fun, but it came with a bit of exhaustion. “Kind of like New York fashion week,” he smiled. “Or rather, kind of like half of the fashion industry on spring break.”

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