By: Dr. Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
To quote Vanity Fair, “Like a magnet, it draws them. Free champagne, celebrity wattage—and, let’s not forget, the spectacular art of Art Basel Miami Beach—creates private-jet gridlock in South Florida the first few days of every December. If everyone is an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is a ‘collector’ during Art Week Miami.” While we can’t quite disagree with the sentiment, a commonality during this year’s Art Week was the altruistic nature of many of the events. From UNTITLED’s VIP opening to benefit Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, to Omar’s Gala Dinner for Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, to ELLE DECOR Modern Concept House’s contributions to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bombay Sapphire/Russell Simmons’ dinner to help emerging artists to the crown jewel of the week: the PAMM Gala- event hosts, art collectors, celebrities, socialites, artists and partygoers gathered for good. That’s not to say that extravagant parties for the sake of the party and over-the-top art soirees were amiss- nor that FOMO (fear of missing out) did not reach fever pitch-even among celebrities last week. For now, we cover the tip of the iceberg- with art parties for charities and a spattering of celebrity sightings. Check back next week for more of the biggest parties and celebrities of Art Week 2013.
Omar’s Sexy Gala Dinner Bash Omar Hernandez, owner of famed private supper club, Omar’s NYC, held a Gala dinner followed by a blow-out dance party for Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, on Wednesday, December 4 at the old Playboy Hotel. The intimate 55 person dinner, held in an opulent, dimly-lit ballroom, was filled with notables and influencers including Art Basel co-founder, Marc Spiegler, Kaufman Franco, Brian Atwood, Crime by Design’s Ray Mariscal, Pucci’s Creative Director, Peter Dundas, Dori Cooperman, Patrick Duffy, Pippa Cohen, Stacy Engman (who “crashed” the party with the founder of LVMH Couture!), Nina Chanel, Mille Brown, Amber Arbucci and Raphael Mazzucco. The stylish, jet set crowd feasted on signature items from Omar’s menu, highlighted by the main course: Hen of the Wood Mushroom Filet Mignon. Throughout the event, Lady Gaga’s Creative Producer, Nicole Ehrlich, curated a premiere Art Auction, honoring some of the artistic world’s most influential female artists, such as: Lady Gaga, Hilary Harkness, Cass Bird, Amber Arbucci, Deborah Willis, Floria Sigismondi, Millie Brown, Sophia Wallace, Natalie Frank, Nina Chanel, Sophia Muller, Peggy Sirota, K8 Hardy; in conjunction with auction house Paddle8. All proceeds raised benefited the Born This Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. The foundation aims to empower youth and inspire bravery for a kinder, braver world. After the decadent dinner, the party continued to the main theater (that remains intact from the 1970s) where hundreds danced to music by DJ Honey Dijon and Ebony Bones and an art-deco inspired performance by Linda Clifford. A handful of VVIPs were invited to the third floor secret room- about which all we can say is- MUM!
ELLE DECOR’s Modern Life Concept House
ELLE DECOR launched its Modern Life Concept House during Art Basel with an elegant, private grand opening celebration on Tuesday, December 3, presented by Scavolini and hosted by ELLE DECOR Editor-in-Chief, Michael Boodro, and Vice President/Brand Publisher, Barbara Friedmann. David Bromstad, Iran Issa-Khan, Criselda Breene, Suzy Buckley Woodward, Barbara Becker, and Nancy & Jon Batchelor were only a few of the hundreds in attendance along with the ELLE DECOR Modern Life Concept House roster of designers—Sam Robin, (our favorite) Brad Huntzinger and Kate McIntyre, Daniele Busca, Fernando Wong, Samuel Amoia, Sofia Joelsson, Wade Hallock and Iris Wilson. ELLE DECOR paired top designers, selected by the magazine’s editorial team, with prominent lifestyle brands to transform an expansive $16.5 million waterfront home on Miami Beach’s Sunset Island II. The evening offered guests an exclusive first look as they enjoyed passed bites and cocktails courtesy of ABSOLUT ELYX throughout the indoor/outdoor setting. A luxurious, Italian-made Ferretti Yacht was also on display for guests to explore. Proceeds from the show house benefitted the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Dinner
The setting for the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Finale Dinner hosted by Rush Philanthropic’s Russell and Danny Simmons and Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio seemed surreal: steps from the ocean, on a perfectly breezy night, inside the posh tent on the sand at Soho Beach House, surrounded by uplifting music and inspiring art. Not to mention the most exquisite dishes- courtesy of Chef Colicchio. The ultra-private dinner party was held in honor of the 2013 Artisan Series Competition winners for which Bombay Sapphire and Rush Philanthropic gathered an elite group of celebs, art aficionados and industry influencers to engage in a special meet and greet with Russell and the 12 winners of the competition, whose art was on display. Colicchio paid homage to the winners by creating an “edible art” pairing menu inspired by the 4th annual competition, much to the delight of the guests’ palates. Each dish was complemented by a specialty crafted Bombay Sapphire cocktail. Celebrity guests included Paris and Nicky Hilton, Tommy Hilfiger and Lizzy Somerby, Stephen Dorff and China Chow, who mingled, relaxed and enjoyed music by DJ Irie and performances by musical genius, Elew, who mixed symphonic and highly melodic beats on the piano, including everything from the theme from Gilligan’s Island to Avici’s “Don’t Wake me Up.”