Much like weddings or New Year's Eve, Art Basel, the annual Miami art show, is an expensive, cleverly worded euphemism for "party". Last year may have seen a temporary dampening of spirits and closing of wallets but the recession is technically over and hotel rooms are pretty cheap in a city with an unemployment rate that hovers above 11%.
The real art aristocracy might flock to the Venice Biennale, but the celebrity following crowds know that South Beach brings the heat with five solid days of hedonistic shopping, sunning and socializing. While there are exhibitions and sales happening at the official event, the most exciting things to invade Miami since Don Johnson aren't what you'll find in a booth or at an auction. We've rounded up the best splurges, bacchanals and scenesters who will be holding court down south.
You're sick of 5 Factor, Now Try the F Factory: Fendi's pop-up shop "F Factory" in the Moore Building will be churning out personalized must have handbags complete with on the premises customization by their Roman artisans.
Why Hit Up Ocean Drive When The Vending Machine's So Close?: The Standard did it first, but Interview Magazine just may do it best. Vending Machines, that is, full of outrageously desirable items ranging from Prince of Scotland t-shirts, Vena Cava flats and most importantly - art from the Gossip Girl set! Stop by the Mondrian Hotel and bring a lot of change because this special edition stock costs more than a candy bar.
Let's Get This Party Started: The Viceroy is doing the ribbon cutting honors with a beach front opening party that will get sand in the toes and god knows where else, of the incoming buyers, sellers, and socials [Details] A Very Public Happy Ending: Vito Schnabel, yes, of those Schnabels, is a budding Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld has put together a show at the W South Beach. Entitled Happy Endings, the after party may be the main draw here as there is a rumored beach BBQ dj'd by Theo Wenner [Details]
Dueling Dinners: Larry Gagosian, the art world mogul, will be feteing friends and patrons at a private Mr. Chow Dinner on Wednesday [Details]. Down the beach at Solea, Peter Brant and Aby Rosen are hosting a competing party that we assume Stephanie Seymour wasn't invited to [Details]. New York New York: You can't have a gathering of the party crowd without an homage to the city that never sleeps. Marilyn Manson, Ben Moon, Olivia Wolfe and others will be part of a carefully curated and completely wild shout out to the big apple dj'd by none other than downtown's own Francesco Civetta [Details]
What's Miami Without A Greek Shipping Heir?: Professional partier Stavros Niarchos will lend his considerable talent to hosting a late night blow out at Wall. Bets are being laid that a Hilton or Lohan will end up in ensconced in his booth by sun up. [Details]
Make Time For Supper:The always on the move Supper Club takes a break from L.A. and NYC to set up shop for a Saturday brunch at the Viceroy, home to all variety of debrunchery during Basel. [Details]
In Case It Snows: Moncler, the North Face for Millionaires, tapped Pharrell Williams to design some of their winter wear and what better place to celebrate than sunny Miami? The marathon party will last all night at Casa Tua [Details] Be Awesome: There are parties worth checking out if the line's short or the booze is free and then there are gatherings that transcend wait times and vip lounges. Be it Paris, the West Village or St. Tropez, Andre Sarraiva knows how to create the scene where everyone clamors to be seen. For a second year in a row, the Le Baron and Beatrice founder will bring his ineffable brand of cool to Basel for one week only. Holding court at the Florida Room of the Delano Hotel, the late night goings on here will be hosted by Purple and Jalouse Magazines as well as Design Miami. If you didn't get your limited edition, one of a kind invite already assume you're not invited
Make Peaces of Art: In a nod to the art fair everyone is technically in South Beach for, Interview Magazine, Ben & Jerry's and Morgans Hotel Group have enlisted public space artiste Natalie Kovacs to transform 3000 passersby into a giant peace sign. How very John Lennon Christmas song of the, [Details]