VUITTON IN BAL HARBOUR: MYSTERY DATE

Byline: Rebecca Kleinman

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. — The celebration for the new Louis Vuitton “global store” in the Bal Harbour Shops packed some real party heat, the kind the city hasn’t seen for months.
For the March 6 event, there were cocktails at the store, then an opulent after-party at a location that was kept secret until the very last possible moment.
The crowd of 1,000 was clueless until they arrived by bus to a warehouse in the trendy Miami Design District, rigged lavishly like a huge Hollywood set, with the theme of bringing the great outdoors inside, and vice versa. The interior resembled the gardens of a Paris chateau, with a winding, grass path with pavers, topiaries, benches, trees and a starry sky. There was also a retrospective of Vuitton fashion, copious platters of delicate hors d’oeuvres and music by one of the hottest deejays in Paris, Bob Sinclair, who flew in for the occasion.
Around midnight, a roofless, four-room, big-as-life “dollhouse” was unveiled, with vivid colors and exaggerated mod furniture, for the indoors-as-outdoors twist. People lounged on the bed, wolfed down pot stickers and sushi in the kitchen and watched Vuitton runway shows on a TV in the living room.
“There’s great excitement here because there hasn’t been a major event in the city for a while,” said Marcello Bottoli, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton Worldwide. The company chose Bal Harbour for its first southeast global store, which carries the full range of Vuitton products, because of the “magical mix” of locals and Latin Americans, Bottoli said.
Earlier at the global store — designed by Peter Marino with a Spanish limestone floor and light, Anigre wood accented with hot pink neon — the scene was like moths to a flame. Guests bumped and fluttered against the doors and inside, it seemed like almost every square foot of the 5,400-square-foot space had a colorful character or two, from the towering, blond bee-hived drag queen to a Gisele Bundchen wanna-be in the lowest of low-rise pants and metallic, hip slung sashes. Barbara Hulanicki of Biba fame wore minimalist black and dark glasses and bobbed hair, and Tara Solomon of the Tara Ink. public relations firm directed traffic in a sheer top, leopard-printed bra and chunky, vintage cross encrusted with jewels she bought at the Lincoln Road flea market.
Others in the crowd included: Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer, interior designer Keller Donovan, celebrity stylist Danny Santiago, singer Carlos Ponce, David Caruso, Jon Secada and Lisa Marie, in a rebellious white leather motorcycle jacket and mini from Vuitton’s cruise collection. Angie Harmon wore a paisley peasant top and carried a patchwork bag with a trippy, red mushroom motif from Vuitton’s spring-summer collection, but her husband Jason Sehorn of the New York Giants was her best accessory. Harmon looked like a Smurfette next to designer Kimora Lee Simmons, who announced proudly that she’s pregnant again. But it was no big deal. She came off sexy as always in Vuitton’s black keyhole top with the floral logo clasp and black leather mini.

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