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While the fashion presence at Art Basel Miami Beach has been consistent for the last few years — with brands collaborating with artists in familiar ways — this year’s sojourn sends a clear message: brands are in the business of art.

Dior kicks things off with a dinner on Sunday, Dec. 1 to toast New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas’ solo show at the Bass Museum, before Kim Jones takes his Dior Men pre-fall runway show to the new Rubell Museum, which moved closer to the Design District from its former home in Wynwood. Expect to spot many of the brand’s bold name loyalists in the front row and after party. Brands dolling up their Design District boutiques with art collaborations include Loewe, which unveils its “Chance Encounters V” with work by Hilary Lloyd and the late James Ewen Henderson. Louis Vuitton will show off its Objets Nomades collection at its boutique, while Fendi celebrates its FendiFrenesia fragrance and Selleria scented leather baguette in collaboration with perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdjian; an exhibition of photos capturing the project’s essence taken by Christelle Boulé will be on display at the store. Versace is collaborating with interior designer Sasha Bikoff, who has designed one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture using archival Versace prints; the designs will exhibited at the boutique, in “South Beach Stories,” starting Dec. 5. Virgil Abloh also designed a limited-edition home collection, “Crystal Clear,” for Baccarat, inspired by his recent “Figures of Speech” museum exhibition and available at Baccarat’s boutique starting Dec. 3.

Also in the Design District, Basic Space is hosting several workshops Dec. 6 to 8 in collaboration with Heron Preston centered around the idea of authenticity; attendees will make their own fake Heron Preston merchandise, which will then be authorized by the designer on-site.

In Wynwood, Levi’s is opening a pop-up store, Levi’s Haus Miami, for Art Basel through the Super Bowl. The location will host various events and launch limited-edition drops; making appearances during Art Basel are artists Shepard Fairey, Gianni Lee and Futura who will host design workshops incorporating their respective art. Adidas Originals and Billionaire Boys Club will be celebrating their collaboration with artist Hebru Brantley at the BBC Icecream pop-up on Dec. 5; Pharrell will be there to help toast the collection. LeBron James’ streetwear boutique Unknwn has also arrived in the neighborhood with a permanent storefront opening during Miami Art Week.

On Miami Beach, Chloé will host a dinner celebrating the Bass Museum’s other new solo show, by artist Lara Favaretto, on Dec. 3. And Balmain will unveil “A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle” by the artist Cécile B Evans at the Knight Concert Hall on Dec. 4, followed by a cocktail reception and dinner with the artist.

For the past few years, Audemars Piguet has been commissioning artists to create large-scale public installations which comment on global environmental issues. This year, they debut a sound installation by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen. “The Art of Listening: Under Water” will be on view — and on listen — at the Rotunda in Collins Park, where visitors can experience the sounds of ocean life and reflect upon how human activity affects what they’re hearing.

And heading into the weekend, Desigual will show its 2020 collection at The Temple House in a performance curated by Barcelona artist Carlota Guerrero on Dec. 6.


Looking for more? Here are three other installations to check out in Miami:

Virgil Abloh Sculpture

If you’re curious about current oil prices, Virgil Abloh’s “Dollar a Gallon” sculpture is quite misleading. The designer’s installation of a partially sunken terra-cotta red Sunoco sign in the Design District is a continuation of his rumination on advertising, branding and location.

"Dollar a Gallon" by Virgil Abloh.

“Dollar a Gallon” by Virgil Abloh.  Luis Gomez

Balenciaga Sofa

It’s not your normal foray into the home category. Artist Harry Nuriev collaborated with the house to create the Balenciaga Sofa, which does double duty as an environmentally friendly design. Discarded, damaged and past-season Balenciaga wares and fabric scraps act as colorful stuffing for the transparent vinyl couch, which is big enough to seat you and a few of your closest and hippest friends. Check it out at Design Miami.

Balenciaga Sofa

Balenciaga Sofa  INNA KABLUKOVA

Thom Browne Installation

It may come as no surprise that Thom Browne is an artist. The designer will unveil his first large-scale public work, a 21-foot palm tree fashioned with seersucker, pincord and gingham, at The Moore Building in Miami’s Design District. “Palm Tree I” takes the familiar beach symbol and incorporates gestures of a warm weather wardrobe, with a mirror and sandpit nearby, to remark on the interplay of work and play in American culture. Also, it’s fun. Be sure to take an Instagram.

Thom Browne's "Palm Tree 1."

Thom Browne’s “Palm Tree 1.”  Kris Tamburello