“Oh, has it changed.”
Art Basel Miami Beach launched in 2002, yet it has only in recent years become the fashion crowd destination juggernaut that it is today. The revitalization of the Design District, credited to Craig Robins, has included the opening of countless luxury boutiques, and those brands have created a lineup of parties and events throughout the week of Basel that has come to rival New York Fashion Week.
This year’s parties drew Cardi B, Drake, Diplo, Paris Hilton, Ricky Martin and more for blowout events, though one of the week’s signatures, Aby Rosen’s dinner and after party, was notedly absent from the itinerary. It all seems to beg the question: is the Basel bubble about to burst?
Paul Sevigny, credited to the aforementioned quote, certainly feels so.
“It used to really be a small community of the dealers, the gallerists and the artists,” he said Thursday evening at an Assouline dinner. “You knew everybody within a four block radius. And now it’s turned into an international s—t show. Honestly, don’t you feel that people are dressed more than New York Fashion Week? Or Paris for that matter? I don’t know how much time these people spend actually looking at the work. I don’t know if that’s the point anymore. There are huge corporate sponsors now — in the same way that Sundance changed and Coachella. This year I feel like there are so many people doing it now that it’s actually calmed down a little, just because it’s so spread out. There are so many different festivals. I don’t know how many of these things the art world takes seriously anymore.”
“I remember it seemed very naïve and now it’s definitely a more produced fair,” said Jeremy Scott, who threw one of the biggest parties of the week for Moschino.
“For the last couple of years it’s sort of been this vibe,” agreed the artist Daniel Arsham, whose sentiments were shared by Stefano Tonchi. “Somehow every year it gets a little bigger,” W’s editor in chief said.
“It’s starting earlier in the week,” said The Webster’s Laure Hériard Dubreuil, who cited the emergence of the Design District as a change agent in the scene. “I think with the opening of the Design District, it took a few years to adapt. “
“It’s an important fair to come to, to stay in the know,” said Alex Assouline. “But the parties have been taking so much of the big aspect, taking a bit away from the art aspect.”
Come Saturday it was time for most of the New York set to make their way back home, braving the city’s first snowstorm of the season as the harsh reality set in that Art Basel escapism was over. The party scene may be dominating the arts, but perhaps New Yorkers need a week of wild fun in Miami after all.
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