Louis Vuitton Brings Artistic Landmark to the Design District

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On November - 1 - 2012

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore 

If we hadn’t been right smack in the middle of October- engaged in a frantic hunt for the perfect Halloween costume- we could have sworn that the über private, tres chic, fashionably fabulous grand opening party for the Louis Vuitton Miami Design District store on October 18, was an Art Basel gathering, complete with all of the elements we’ve come to expect.  With an exclusive A+ guest list comprised of an international jet set crowd, including artists, photographers, writers, designers, art collectors and the generally and genetically gifted, (dressed to the nines); the unveiling of an original, custom designed graffiti wall mural by celebrated graffiti writer, RETNA, AKA, Marquis Lewis; oh, and the free flowing Ruinart Champagne, Louis Vuitton symbolically planted its flag, claiming its territory in its new digs. 

On-hand for the requisite fanfare was Valérie Chapoulaud-Floquet, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America who celebrated the opening and the label’s unique partnership with famed graffiti writer, RETNA, who created an unmistakable mural on the façade of the store, the first such artistic commission by Louis Vuitton. RETNA credits his upbringing in the “Los Angeles gang culture” for the inspiration behind his unique alphabet, a fusion of Arabic letters, calligraphy, symbols and hieroglyphics rooted in ancient cultures from Egypt, Asia, Israel, Peru and Native America. In his unique and prolific style, RETNA has reinterpreted the iconic name Louis Vuitton,  in gradient hues of blue, pink and purple- evocative of the playful spirit of Miami, which RETNA considers his second home.  RETNA’s mural is based on a scarf he designed for the label (which is sold at the store). RETNA’s work has been displayed the Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles as well as locally with six murals including the Primary Flight project; on the wall of the Margulies Gallery, in the Wynwood Walls and one on Interstate 95 near the Design District.  

Guests visiting the new Design District location were engaged by the stylish rooms and experiences throughout. The main entrance opens into a specialized Travel Room where customers can discover a range of classic trunks, luggage and travel-specific accessories. Our favorite was the trunk that converts into a picnic table, because nothing says “camping” quite like Louis Vuitton travel gear. Furnished with antique Parisian furniture, the ground floor houses a curated selection of men’s and women’s leather goods, ready-to-wear, shoes (the shiny, glitter encrusted stilettos would make Dorothy swoon), fashion jewelry, eyewear, and textiles that create distinct men’s and women’s areas. A private shopping wing and dressing room are set up on the second floor.  

Spotted at the grand opening were notable guests including: Anthony Spinello, of Spinello Projects; international star, Barbara Becker; Candela Ferro, host of Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo; photographer, Iran Issa-Khan; interior designer, Sam Robin; design maven, Michael Leondas Kirkland; Cathy Leff, Director of the Wolfsonian; Chris Oh, founder of Primary Projects; Craig Robins, CEO and President of DACRA;  Criselda Breene;  Dennis Scholl, Vice President of the Arts Program of the James L. Knight Foundation and Debra Scholl; Don Soffer founder of Turnberry Associates and Michelle Soffer; model, Ines Rivero;  Jackie Soffer;  Marianne Goebl, Director of Design Miami; art collerctor, Mario Cader Frech; Milan Vukmirovic French editor;  artists, Monica and Tasha Lopez; Munisha Underhill, Senior Director, Advancement of Adrienne Arsht Center; Robert Wennett, President of UIA Management; Suzie Wahab, Miami Art Museum (MAM) patron; Terence Riley, former Miami Art Museum Director; TYPOE-Graffiti Artist; Ugo Colombo, CMC Group Founder; MIYO Home owners, Fati Rosenberg and Stephanie Jourdan;  Jilian Sanz, National Fashion Director; Hadley Henriette, editor; Belkys Nerey, WSVN news anchor; Louis Aguirre, WSVN’s Deco Drive co-anchor and Daniel and Marcella Novella, MAM Ball Chairs. 

Bond Street’s Comeback 

Bond Street Lounge at the Townhouse Hotel hosted several Miami influencers the same week, who visited the South Beach sushi stable to sample the old-is-new-and-better than-ever hotspot. Guests included Jonathan Cheban, in town filming Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, Iran Issa-Khan, Ugo and Sara Colombo, Sam Robin, Michael Leondas Kirkland, Gary and Dana Shear, Louis Aguirre, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio, and many others delighted in new menu items such as Hanger Steak, made with Artichoke Puree, Rice Fries and Sansho Pepper Jus, Umeboshi Tuna Foie, made with Sake Braised Cherries and Spiced Cashews, and Amo Ebi Spring Rolls, made with Spiced Acacia Honey Soy.  The seared tuna pizza with truffles and every sushi item on the menu are also sure bets.  Bond Street’s new menu comes courtesy of new Executive Chef, Andy Choi, who was formerly Chef de Cuisine at Le Cirque in New York City. Choi’s years of experience and dynamic approach are sure to keep Bond Street at the top of “Best Of” lists for years to come. 





Funkshion Fashion Week Miami wrapped up its 20th season of runway shows over five nights in spectacular fashion. One of the highlights of the week was witnessing Nicole Miller receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from FGI, as well the Key to the City. Fortunately, Funkshion was sponsored by 5 Hour Energy- without which we may not have survived the week! The runway shows featured gorgeous designs from Guria Swimwear by Sensa, Custo Barcelona, the Etienne Jeanson by European Fashion District at Studio 743, and Traver Rains’ show (ex partner of Richie Rich of the now defunct Heatherette line); which was also at Studio 743. On Friday night, the American Heart Association and MOMM presented The Red Dress Campaign. Celebs and local VIPs included Bravo stars Adriana De Moura (wearing Oscar De La Renta), and Lisa Hotchstein (wearing Bibhu Mohapatra) and Kim Bacardi (wearing Etienne Jeanson by European Fashion District) who strutted the catwalk for the benefit runway show. Other designers who donated red dresses to be auctioned off included Calvin Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Donna Karan, Nicole Miller and Narciso Rodriguez.




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