Moore Than I Bargained For

By saxon

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Margiela's dress festooned in vintage vinyl.

Margiela's dress festooned in vintage vinyl.

The deluge of events has officially begun as Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/ loom on the horizon. Tonight’s kickoff of The F Factory, a Limited Edition Experience bringing pop-up shopportunities to the Design District, was a first: wares offered during the fair that you could touch without getting the fifth degree from a stiff-lipped security guard. The event took place in the Moore Building, the first venue to feel the tap-tap-tap of stilettos and the wanton gazes of Fendi/Margiela devotees. And that was just on the first floor of the four-story building housing Craig Robin’s latest initiative to bring fresh life to the nabe.

Along the lines of “give a man a fish to eat and he has food for one day or teach a man to fish and he has food for a lifetime”: a very patient Frenchman named Cyril was sewing Fendi purses while being photographed and prodded to give away his secrets. Could it be his lack of knowledge of the English language was an act to keep him safe from divulging confidential company formulas? Smile. Nod. Smile. I was just hoping my camera was on video so I could see how he creates these deliciously expensive baubles that make a fashionista’s heart go pitty-pat! Smile. Nod. Smile. “What a lovely purse!” I said. Not a word!

A tight-lipped Cyril making Fendi purses.

A tight-lipped Cyril making Fendi purses.

The third floor held a nice surprise. Our Miami pal Abby Kellett debuted Gretel Home, a line of design products as beautifully serene as her personality. You may know her from Florida Inside Out fame. We’re just glad she’s back on the scene as we’ve missed her trendsetting vision. What’s even better for anyone who ever marked the pages of the magazine in hopes of snagging the chic merchandise she featured: you can buy what she’s discovered this time around by simply visiting her web site.

Abby Kellett in her Gretel Home pop-up shop.

Abby Kellett in her Gretel Home pop-up shop.

We stopped at Sra. Martinez for fortification and the round of tapas our unflappable waitress Cheistine helped us to choose from an impossibly varied menu were heady indeed. She started us off with El Wedge, or iceberg lettuce splashed with Valdeon Blue Cheese and accompanied by other diced delicacies, including avocado, homestead tomatoes and crispy jamon. Seared scallops and bacon-wrapped dates led us to skirt steak and Chef Michelle Bernstein’s aptly named “Bigass Pork Chop.” Only one of those will bump you out of contention for the Maison Martin Margiela dress next door, which was painfully trim and artfully covered in vintage vinyl!

Energized, we were off to Ornare’s Tastemaker Showcase, which was packed. Esther Schattan and Claudio Faria sure know how to throw a party! One of our favorite designers, Simona Ciancetta of Crea, was being honored. How does she always look so terrific? I’m guessing it’s the Italian genes augmented with a heavy dose of great taste. Edward Nieto looked dapper in a Stingy-brim Fedora, and Esther was glowing in an iridescent dress and glittering eye shadow. It’s difficult to believe that this is day one. Has the fun really just begun?

Stay tuned: It only gets crazier from here! If you think I’m kidding, I need an excel file to keep all of the events straight (and I’m far from the most popular person in town!). Design Miami/ opens tomorrow. I’ll attend the press event and then Vernissage. I’ll also be interviewing Arik Levy at Zanotta Miami, will stop in at the Bisazza showroom opening, attend a booksigning for “Le Corbusier – in his own words,” edited by Antoine Vigneat (at Terence Riley’s home). London-based gallerist Libby Sellers is debuting her “Tidal Estuaries,” a curated exhibition by Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann, and then I’ll finish the night off at Nest on Lincoln Road, where Sara Colombo will present a photography exhibition in collaboration with FOR Gallery of Florence that will feature Moseh Shai, Vito Infante, Alessandro Moggi and sculptor Marianna Masciolini.  These are just the events I can remember at this writing.

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