Wine Me Up, Dine Me Down: Art Basel Takes a Seat



Thursday night at Art Basel Miami was a night of dinners, with guests hopping from event to event before entrees even reached the tables. First up: ACRIA’s dinner hosted in conjunction with Equipment and Morgans Hotel Group in honor of Diane Pernet’s “A Shaded View on Fashion” film festival. The collection of short films by photographers, artists, filmmakers, and personalities had been streaming throughout the Delano since Tuesday, but last night was its official US premiere. Bryan Adams, Ellen von Unwerth, and Bruce Weber tapped into their connections with the likes of Drew Barrymore, Vivienne Westwood, Kate Moss, and more to create short films that bled onto the drizzly wall of The Delano’s roof for a crowd that included Timo Weiland, Isabel Ratazzi, Gareth Pugh, and more. Ratazzi, an ACRIA board member, led Diane and the group who had assembled for an earlier dinner up to the Solarium for the midnight screening.  “I flew in from Nassau yesterday. I try to make it in for Basel every year, but there was really no way I could miss these films. That one they’re showing now is Stewart Shining’s. Do you know Stewart? He’s a brilliant photographer who makes gorgeous films too.” Pernet, who annually hosts the festival at the Centre Pompidou, remarked, “I’ve never been to Miami but it’s right that we’re here now. I care so much for these films and their filmmakers. They’re each so special, it’s right that they’re first screening in the US is here at Art Basel.”

A few blocks down at BLT Steak, The Whitney hosted a decidedly civilized fete at its annual Artists & Collectors Dinner. At pre-dinner cocktails, Nigel & Cristen Barker marveled at the vertiginous 8-foot reflective surface that dropped from the ceiling. Over dinner, Eleanor Propp and a gaggle of Soul Cycle regulars invited by friend and mega-watt art collector Amy Phelan, reveled in the pleasures of a sit-down dinner amidst the craziness of all night Art Basel ragers. “If I have to go to one more party that starts at 11 I might cry. This is a nice way to kick off the night, no?” Propp asked. Richard Phillips, newly minted in Thursday Styles as a darling of the synergistic worlds of art, fashion, and celebrity, talked about the pleasures of being at an art fair that brings together all of the above. On Friday night, prints reproduced from Phillips’ “Most Wanted” show at White Cube will be on display at The Standard for a party with Exhibtion that benefits The Whitney. “Any kind of collaboration – with a hotel, a brand, anything – brings people into contact with art in unexpected ways,” Phillips mused. 

Meanwhile, at The Webster, Ever Manifesto guest-editor Stefano Tonchi brought together a group of dinner attendees (that all seemed to know each other from parties the night before) to toast the latest edition of the sustainability focused magazine. Louis XIII cognac awaited guests on the tables and fueled a rather refined, fashion-heavy dose of partying as guests jumped from table to table to talk art and plans for the rest of the evening. Late-comers Waris Ahluwalia, Max Vallot, and Johan Lindberg pulled up chairs at table ends and marveled at The Webster’s rapid party turnaround since Lindberg’s BLK DNM perfume launch in the same space the night before. Lauren Remington Platt, a table away, sold her recently launched hair and make up sitel Vensette, to model-cum-restaurateur Elettra Wiedemann. Laure Heriard Dubreuil, owner of The Webster, explained, “Art Basel Miami is the best platform to celebrate the influence of fashion and art.” Dubreuil studied Chinese culture and wrote a thesis on pandas, but hadn’t thought of Bamboo, the focus of the second issue of Ever Manifesto, as a particularly fashionable perennial evergreen. Attendees who flipped through the magazine, though, were quickly made aware of the ways the grass could be refashioned into a sustainable and attractive addition to the art landscape.

As simultaneous dinner parties came to an end, most of the crowds hurried to Wall at the W, where Dom Perignon Luminous joined forces with Aby Rosen’s dinner crowd and the Nadine-Johnson-coined faces of young art: Vito Schnabel, Stavros Niarchos, and Alex Dellal. Dejected guests were three deep at the queue as they watched Nicky Hilton, Ali Wise, Stavros Niarchos, and other young party animals breeze in to a packed club comprised of an A-list version of bottles and models. Models the likes of Maryna Linchuk, Kiera Chaplin, and Tom Guinness. Booze the likes of Dom Perignon.  A very Basel affair.