Basel’s Tenth Year of Dazzle (Part 1)

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On December - 12 - 2011

Pharrell Williams and Seth Browarnik

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore 

Art of Night 

We’ve said it time and time again:  navigating the nightlife on South Beach and surviving to tell about it, particularly during a party marathon week such as Art Basel is an art form.  Documenting it for posterity- is for the masters.  Speaking of such, no one shines a light on the art of the social scene like celebrity lens man, Seth Browarnik, whose aptly named, Art of Night exhibit (his first ever) drew the who’s who of the local, national and international social sets to the newly remodeled Shelborne South Beach on Wednesday, November 30.  The evening started with an intimate VIP dinner hosted by media mogul Jason Binn and his wife Haley at Vesper American Brasserie, sponsored by Dom Perignon.   

Following dinner, Bing hosted an invite-only party, styled by iconic event producer, Susanne Bartsch who used to throw the Delano New Year’s Eve parties back in the day.  Upon arrival at the early hour of 9:30, the crowd in front of the hotel entrance was 300 deep (the party was shut down by 10:00 p.m.).  We were delighted to see the one and only Fabrizio Brienza at the door, who welcomed us night after night to Bar Room back in the day, manning the ropes and only allowing those deemed worthy to enter. 

Once inside we meandered around the celeb studded, bash, which took over the entire lobby, pool area and beach front of the hotel, packed with just about everyone we’ve ever met EVER, who came to fete Seth and admire his incredible work- much of which was a pictorial trip down memory lane for those in attendance.  We were struck by the sheer artistry of the photos, many of which had been enlarged to poster size, showcasing Seth as a true artist versus merely a celebrity photographer. 

“Art of Night is a look at the world through my eyes over the last decade– it’s a momentary peek behind the velvet rope. All of these photos capture people and places at their best, and they all tell the story of a moment,” says Browarnik.  “In its 10th year, Art Basel Miami Beach is a celebration of art, fashion, revelry and glamour – it felt like the right time to finally reflect on some of these moments and celebrate them once again.”  This “best light” to which Seth is referring, is the reason that he has been respected and trusted by celebrities, often exclusively, to photograph them over the past 10 ++ years. 

We could barely pull away from the gorgeous photos in the hotel’s lobby and the great music by DJ Paul Sevigny who incidentally spins vinyl (gasp) to the sparkling deck of the brand new infinity pool, where hundreds of suspended disco balls illuminated the characters- both invited and performing-to the sounds of musical team DJ Mia Moretti and violinist Caitlin Moe.  Amid the dancing, we marveled at the performance artists many of whom resembled characters out of a comic book/ Tim Burton movie typical of Susan Bartsch’s outrageous parties.  These included: a human disco ball, huge inflatable swans, geishas, the guy under the umbrella from the Stefano Tonchi party during NYC- complete with umbrella IN THE POOL (see photos here sounds like a script for Stefon from SNL, doesn’t it?  The crowd danced and danced to pulsating club beats while a model in a g-string roller skated on top of the pool. No, we are not making this up.  

Among the many fabulous guests, we spotted: Gabrielle UnionPharrellIvana Trump, Paul ShafferAlanis Morissette, Mario and Ramona Singer, David Barton, and Menin Hotels’ Keith Menin and Jared Galbut, and lots of friends who commented that the Art of Night party took them back to the halcyon days of South Beach. 

The fun didn’t stop after the poolside soiree, as guests brought the festivities with them to the Shelborne South Beach’s basement karaoke lounge, the Studio until the early hours of the morning. In the miniscule space, Parisian nightclub, Le Baron hosted a cabaret-themed club called “Paris-Paris”. The club recreated the atmosphere of the Parisian club of the same name that closed its doors in 2005. From Wednesday through Saturday nights, Paris-Paris featured a variety of entertainment including cabaret performances, live shows, costumes and karaoke.  Mixologist, Charles Vexenat, creator of Pernod Absinthe’s “Green Beast” signature drink, kept the late night crowd well hydrated.


Going Dutch and Hitting a Wall

Big on celeb muscle but not nearly as fun as Wednesday’s party was the dinner hosted by Aby Rosen and Samantha Boardman on Thursday, December 1st, at The Dutch at the W Hotel. We risk running out of ink on all of the bold-named dinner guests, which included Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones, Sean Penn, Gina Gershon, Alexander Acquavella, Andre Balazs, Giovanna Battaglia, Maria Bell, Klaus Biesenbach, Ivor Braka, Coco Brandolini, Peter M. Brant & Stephanie Seymour, Edythe & Eli Broad, Ginevra Caltagirone, Roberto Cavalli, Eva & Michael Chow, China Chow, Ricky Clifton, Bob Colacello, Jeffrey Deitch, Todd Eberle, HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan, Yvonne Force & Leo Villareal, Mark Fletcher, Larry Gagosian, Ant Genn, Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Roberto & Joanne De Guardiola, Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, Damien Hirst, Victoria Hopper, Rachel Hovnanian, Will Kopelman, Aerin Lauder, Adam Lindemann, Lorenzo Martone, Ghislaine Maxwell, Tamara Mellon, Tobias Meyer, Carlos Mota, Alberto Mugrabi, David Mugrabi, Daniel & Brooke Neidich, Jon Neidich, Stavros Niarchos Jr., Tripoli Patterson, Richard Pandiscio, Enoc Perez, Lisa Perry, Jean Pigozzi, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, Thaddaeus Ropac, Sir Norman Rosenthal, Allison Sarofim, Olympia Scarry, Tony Shafrazi, Eva & Bob Shaye, Vito Schnabel, Patrick Seguin, Izak Senbahar, Carlos Souza, Lizzie & Jonathan Tisch, Steve Tisch, Blaine Trump, Andy Valmorbida, PC Valmorbida, Joyce Varvatos, Alexander Von Furstenberg, Elisabeth Von Thurn Und Taxis, Neville Wakefield, Diana Widmaier-Picasso, and Dasha Zhukova. 

After dinner, throngs rushed the roped off garden area of the W Hotel to check-into the party hosted by Alex Dellal, Stavros Niarchos and Vito Schnabel at the Wall, to celebrate the launch of Dom Pérignon’s new “Luminous” label which actually glows in the dark- lest you blame the effects of the bottle’s contents. Much to the dismay to many an A-Lister, the club reached capacity by 11:30 p.m. at which time no-one was going within a 1000 feet of the door.   A “fetus” holding an iPad had the ignorance and nerve to turn Sam Keller away!  Once inside, we were crushed in the packed house but spotted many of the fabulous faces who had no trouble getting in, such as:  Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen WilsonWaris Ahluwalia, Princess Alia Al Senussi, Ara Arslanian, Maria Baibakova, Anna Beatriz Barros, Jason Binn, Hannah Bronfman, Gavin Brown, Alex Calderwood, Seth Campbell, Kiera Chaplin, Roman Coppola, Jamison Ernest, Noor Fares, Flo Rida, Guy & Andrea Dellal, Joel Fitzpatrick, Anthony Haden-Guest, Robert Hanson, Angela Ismailos, Josh Kushner, Johan Lindeberg, Stavros Merjos, Oskar Metsavaht, Alexandra Richards, Keith & Inga Rubenstein, Amy Sacco, Julio Santo Domingo, Sean Souza, Liz Swig, Harley Viera-Newton, Poju & Anita Zabludowicz, Andres Balazs, Larry Gagosian, Dasha Zhukova, Alberto Mugrabi, the ubiquitous Hilton sisters, Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld, Andy Valmorbida, Diane von Furstenberg, Sean Penn, Tony Shafrazi, Alanis Morisette, Jeffrey Deitch, Kim Heirston, and Alexandra Richards to listen to the musical stylings of DJ Nick Cohen.  The party showed no sign of ending at 4 a.m.



Warhol Flash Mob

Earlier on Thursday evening, Interview magazine and the Andy Warhol Museum hosted a cocktail to present portions of Andy Warhol’s never-before-seen film, San Diego Surf, in conjunction with Maybach at the Standard Spa with special guest DJ,  Wolf.  The mood was mellow, as guests enjoyed a multimedia installation by artnet® including five of Andy Warhol’s works while sipping on specialty cocktails courtesy of (BELVEDERE) RED Special Edition to celebrate World AIDS Day and Perrier. Then, suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, and in keeping with Interview’s reputation for throwing outlandish  Art Basel parties a flash mob of 30 “Dancing Andys” from South Florida-based Focal Point Dance Studios and Tae Talent flooded the party clad in black donning blond Andy Warhol wigs and the artist’s signature black sunglasses-  so much for the “mellow” part.  Again…not making this up! VIP guests in attendance included Interview’s editor at large Christopher Bollen, president Dan Ragone, editor-in-chief Stephen Mooallem, entertainment editor Lauren Tabach-Bank,  director of the Andy Warhol Museum Eric Shiner; DJ and socialite Harley Viera Newton; filmmaker Matt Sinnreich; outdoor living designer Fernando Wong; music stylist Coleman Feltes; DJ Chelsea Leyland; director and curator of  Milk Studios Jenne Lombardo; artists Aurel Schmidt, Nate Lowman, Todd DiCiurcio and Luis Monteagudo; New York-based designers Eddie Borgo and Joseph Altuzarra; Jefferson Hack; Addison O’Dea; vice president of James Graham & Sons art gallery Cameron Shay; gallerist Leon Benrimon; chief curator of contemporary art at The National Arts Club Stacey Engman; designer Oskar Metsavaht; and journalist and socialite Cator Sparks.


Sean "Diddy" Combs and Ralph Mazzucco

Culo by Mazzucco party at Mr. Chow

One of the “sceniest” most celeb-studded events of the week was Friday night’s dinner at Mr. Chow at the W hosted by Andy Valmorbida, artist Raphael Mazzucco and Executive Editors Jimmy Iovine and Sean “Diddy” Combs, in collaboration with VistaJet.  On display was a selection of works from the newly launched, Culo by Mazzucco (yes, the title of the book means, “ass,” refer to the Pitbull song, “Tiene tremendo …”).  The party was packed by 9:00 p.m. forcing many a dinner guest to troll the area looking for a seat.  We were told event organizers only ordered dinner for 250 guests, erstwhile a billion or so showed up.  Once inside, we had the chance to rub elbows with:  Andy Valmorbida, VistaJet Founder and Chairman Thomas Flohr, Raphael Mazzucco, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Will Smith, Damien Hirst, Russell Simmons, Chris Bosh, Roberto Cavalli, Naomi Campbell, Adrien Brody, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Robin Thicke, Brett Ratner, Lance Bass, Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, Lisa Anastos, RETNA, Eva Chow, Ronald W. Burkle, China Chow, Waris Ahluwalia, Allison Sarofim, Mr. Brainwash, Hannah Bronfman, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Renzo Rosso, Carter Cleveland, Eleanor Cayre, Karim El Chiaty, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Kim Heirston, Richard Evans, Noor Fares, Stellan Holm, Jane Holzer, Nellee Hooper, Johan Lindeberg, Lorenzo Martone, Alex Marshall, Joel Mesler, Shamim Momin, Lea Muses, Jared Najjar, Joe Nahmad, Stavros Niarchos Jr., Anne Pasternak, Jean Pigozzi, Lauren Remington Platt, Alexandra Richards, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, Keith & Inga Rubenstein, Bob & Eva Shaye, George Simon, Aurel Schmidt, Pat Tenore, Larry Warsh and Aaron Young.


Fendi Casa  

Also on Friday, in the mobbed Design District, Beats by Dr. Dre and Fendi Casa held an exclusive celebration honoring artist Nick Cave. A fashionable crowd from the worlds of art, fashion and music gathered at the luxury showroom to be wowed by a mini-concert by adorable, award-winning artist Robin Thicke.  Thicke, whose album is debuted on December 6, did not disappoint and played on a one of a kind Fendi piano while rocking out with his very own red colored Beats by Dr. Dre (who was a no-show).  Also in attendance were Alberto Vignatelli, President, FENDI Casa Luxury Living,  Giovanna Golnelli  and Andrea Minnucci also of Fendi Casa.



An Evening in Vogue

For the fifth year in a row, Vogue magazine presented the annual Evening in Vogue event at the picturesque Miami estate of Loren and JR Ridinger –the invitation to which is the piece de resistance of Basel invites.  The stellar fete took place on Saturday night, during which the beautiful inside-and-out, Loren Ridinger, SVP of SHOP.COM and Nordstrom’s Jeffrey Kalinsky hosted over 600 stylish guests in the Ridingers’ lavish pool garden.

Angela and Vittorio Missoni celebrated Missoni’s summer 2012 collection with an exclusive runway fashion show presented by Nordstrom which showcased 33-looks by models who walked around the pool.  DJ Frank Delour provided the music during the show, which was followed by a live piano performance. Guests sipped on vodka cocktails compliments of Grey Goose, while they mingled and compared Basel war stories.

“It is always amazing working with Vogue every year for one of the most incredible evenings of Art Basel”, said Loren Ridinger. “Working with Angela and Vittorio, legends of Missoni, just helped make it even more spectacular!  This is always my favorite event of the year.”

Lala Anthony, Paris Hilton & Nicky Hilton, Gabrielle Union, Chris & Adrienne Bosh, Rocsi Diaz, Derek Blasberg, Lily Donaldson, Ilia Calderon, Univision President Cesar Conde, hotelier Andres Balazs, Dennis Rodman and R&B singer Melanie Fiona were just a few of those who came out to take in the show and celebrate their friend and the evenings host, Vogue 100 honoree, Loren Ridinger.

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