MIAMI BEACH — The perennial question at Art Basel Miami Beach here last week wasn’t, “What are you buying?” but “Where are you going?” There were so many parties and events clamoring for attention during the four-day marathon that even the most indefatigable art lover needed a week in a spa simply to recover.

With at least 15 A-list parties and myriad dinners over the course of just 96 hours, one was as likely to see Art Basel director Samuel Keller — the man responsible for bringing the fair stateside — at 4 a.m. in a nightclub basement as one was at 4 p.m. in the fair’s convention center.

On Wednesday, Swarovski jumped into the social fray with its annual Crystal Palace event at Miami’s Paris Theater, where crystal-encrusted chandeliers designed by David Rockwell, Andrée Putnam, and even singer Lenny Kravitz swung. Anyone tempted to pocket one of Fabien Baron‘s glittering table-top skulls was deterred by a hulking security guard. At the Eric Ripert-catered dinner held afterward at the Raleigh Hotel — the unofficial headquarters of Art Basel’s social life — by Danna Swarovski, no one could figure out what to do with the Swarovski crystal gift, except for the ever-resourceful Bettina Zilkha, who clipped it to the décollatage of her dress. “It’s the perfect thing for this neckline,” she said. Back by the beach, Jeffrey Deitch had shipped in Citizen’s Band to perform — sealing the group’s status as this season’s replacement for Dita Von Teese as the must-have act at every party.

The next night, sometime performance artist Yvonne Force Villareal took over the poolside of the Raleigh for a Morrocan feast in honor of art buyer and friend Mark Fletcher. Over in Miami’s growing Design District, Paris transplant Emmanuel Perrotin had opened his two-story gallery for the first time to a crowd of admiring fans, who milled around cult legends like Takashi Murakami. “The garden was a parking lot 10 days ago,” Perrotin said proudly of the large lawn where his guests were now enjoying drinks and clambering in and out of a model of the very confident gallerist’s plans for expansion.

This story first appeared in the December 6, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Keller donned a suit to join the Bulgari family for a dinner honoring Robert Rauschenberg while back at the Raleigh, Villareal and her guests had migrated to the roof, where André Balazs and Sofia Coppola were hosting a not-so-secret secret party along with friends like Donna Karan and Kelly Klein.

Though the night went late, Keller was up the next morning bright and early for the opening of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, a new museum showing works from Ella Fontanals Cisneros‘ private contemporary art collection. That evening, Coppola toasted Bruce Weber at a party for his new Taschen book “Blood, Sweat and Tears,” while Cisneros joined Mary Boone, Judith Regan and Thelma Golden at a dinner for architect Zaha Hadid at Design District developer Craig Robins‘ Sunset Island home. Guests dined overlooking the water before heading out to Gavin Brown‘s party at the Angel club. Some revelers might have been too enthusiastic, however, as the packed party was shut down by the Miami fire department. “Don’t bother,” warned Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict as they passed groups of friends on the sidewalk of Collins Avenue. “We’re going back to the Raleigh.”

On Saturday, the tenacious travelers were entertained at several fetes. Gucci took over a synagogue-cum-bachelor pad for a Nobu-catered party in honor of artist Doug Aitken. Guests, including Golden, the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Christine Kim and David Alan Grier looked in amazement at the video art playing across the wall and the hot tub gurgling in the corner of the huge living room (it is Miami after all). In Coral Gables, Mirabelle Marden and Melissa Bent of New York’s Rivington Arms and Tom Hanbury and Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal of London’s Dicksmith Gallery hosted the young set, including Lily Atherton and Chris Miller, at photographer Max Farago‘s house. Meanwhile, Atherton’s artist sister, Hope, along with Rufus Albemarle and Jasper Conran, among others, had flown up to Alannah Weston‘s Windsor estate for the opening of the Peter Doig show. They missed out on the crush to get into Visionaire’s massive launch for “Taste,” its 47th issue, at the brand-new Setai hotel. Ann Dexter-Jones, for one, persevered, while Keller and Tara Subkoff headed on to look for an after party.

So it was no surprise that, given the endless trekking from one end of town to another, by Sunday instead of wondering where the next party was, the mantra became: “I’m so tired; I just want to go home.”

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