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Arts / Galleries

The Hot Restaurants, Art Deco Shopping and Outfits of Art Basel

It’s Getting Humid in Here

BY // 12.09.18

MIAMI — As promised, you will now be receiving play-by-play commentary from the current epicenter of the design, fashion and art worlds – Art Basel Miami. I just have to make one aside, on the flight (for which I am thankful to American for the great upgrade on one of its larger planes that normally flies international) from Dallas, I finally got a chance to see the charming and incredibly relevant for our current world, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary that poignantly shares the story of television’s benevolent Fred McFeely Rogers. Two words – amazingly moving.

The moment (annually) I truly realize that I have arrived in Miami is when the automatic doors to the airport open and I am hit in the face with the humidity. I always like to travel in a chic outfit (in this case a double-breasted Michael Bastian blazer, vintage New Order concert T-shirt, Ralph Lauren camouflage cargo pants, and Gucci Princetown slides), but I questioned that choice as I begin walking through the sponge-like climate that is South Florida during Art Basel.

I joined my partner-in-crime, art advisor Meredith Harper (you hopefully read about her in the first post about my Art Basel excursion), poolside and began strategizing our week’s itinerary and comparing notes on various collections visits, exhibitions, and parties to which we had been invited. After oohing and aahing over the outfits each of us brought as we hung them in the hotel room’s closet, we got dressed for our dinner.

Meredith had secured an 8 pm dinner reservation in the magical, garden patio of Casa Tua. Joining us were two couples, Denver art collectors, she had invited since they were also in Miami for Art Basel. (BTW—they are all gaga for the Dior show that is at the Denver Art Museum and is coming to the Dallas Museum of Art).

Casa Tua is a restaurant, hotel (with a very limited amount of suite-only rooms) and members’ only club with its other location outside of South Beach being Aspen. (Alas, two of the spots where the swellegant set vacations.) The homemade Northern Italian pastas we savored were shared family style with too many bottles of Valpolicella as the conversation moved seamlessly between cuisine, design and questionable trends in the art world.

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A Miami Shopping Vice

Monday was a day of shopping with a friend from high school, Susan Bannon. Since our teenage years, she went on to super smart schools like Wellesley and Columbia. Along with her husband and kids they have been in Miami for almost 10 years now and since she does some interior design work, Bannon is the ultimate insider.

She made sure we made a shopping stop at the nirvana of high-end retail, The Webster. I first discovered this store back in 2009 when it opened in a small little set of conjoined vintage art deco apartments. Similar to Dallas’ Forty Five Ten, it is one of most well-curated selections of men’s and women’s fashion in the United States.

Founded by Laure Heriard Dubrueil, The Webster sits in the heart of Miami Beach in a historical Art Deco building designed in 1939 by famed architect Henry Hohauser. Additional locations include Bal Harbour, Houston (it’s wonderful that Texas has an outpost), and Costa Mesa, plus the recently opened The Webster SOHO in New York.

I will say this about the garment that immediately grabbed my attention — it was very dramatic. When in an over-the-top setting, like Miami Beach during Art Basel, all seems to make sense. Like the midnight blue, long duster coat with numerous straps and fasteners, from Haider Ackermann that was beckoning me.

I put it on and thought how can I live without this $3,000 beauty? Then I sobered up for a moment and realized (A) I barely have $30 to spend on a coat right now and (B) how possibly does this coat fit into my domestic life in Dallas that is filled with glamorous tasks like grocery shopping at Kroger and walking my dog in my wrong-side-of-the-tracks neighborhood?

Slightly winded, early evening drinks were desperately needed. Susan suggested a chic, little, off-the-beaten-path Spanish Mediterranean tapas restaurant, Barceloneta. My white Sangria with strawberries was so up-my-alley. It was perfectly sweet and fresh, which is how I was envisioning myself this trip (instead of the sweaty mess that I probably resembled at that point).

I definitely recommend Barceloneta if you are feeling parched and peckish on South Beach. The patatas bravas made with potatoes, spicy tomato sauce, aioli and the boquerones del cantabrico which were layered with white anchovies from Cantabria Spain, garlic, yuzu truffle vinaigrette, and tomato gelee were just the amount of nourishment needed after hours spent in glamorous dressing rooms.

The first 24 hours of Art Basel Miami were now under my belt and a good night’s rest was required before the madness of art and design fairs began on. Catch my next few stories to see how the adventure continues.

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