MIAMI BEACH — Fashion met art at Art Basel Miami beach last night, and this was not necessarily a good thing. The worlds collided in David Bouley’s place — specifically, his gorgeous new South Beach restaurant, Evolution, where Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon was throwing a fête for the Whitney. The problem: There were other, nearly as important places to be, and stops at those other events made everyone very late for this one. What were the rivals? A Russell Simmons dinner at the Delano penthouse, and a lush UBS-sponsored dinner, where billionaires were as common as palm trees. At the packed and chaotic Ralph Lauren party to benefit RxArt, which was one of the rare and welcome charity events at the otherwise largely venal Art Basel, the wife of a hedgie, bearing an invitation, was initially denied entrance — to a store, she noted, annoyed — because she hadn’t RSVP’d. (Once she got inside, she’d find Andrew Shriver, Nikki Haskell, Gene Pressman, Bob Colacello, the lovely mom of Ralph Lauren exec David Calle, and some nice clothes.)
But what about back at swanky Evolution?
The Choo dinner was to begin at nine, but things were delayed by an orgy of place-card-switching , a rolling admissions policy, and an influx of plus-ones, many of whom brought plus-ones. (Aby Rosen and Samantha Boardman, Alex von Furstenberg and Ali Kay, Thelma Golden, Mirabelle Marden, Larry Gagosian, Tom Freston, and, inexplicably, Nicky Hilton, were among those who successfully made it in.) When Jimmy Buffet appeared and sat by the bar, some guests gave up on the seated dinner and instead joined him in Margaritaville. For some reason, fashion people have never been great at food events, and this was no exception. The entrées — spectacularly good, to be fair — didn’t reach the tables till 11:20 p.m., unless you were at Gagosian and Rosen’s table, which was somehow served so far ahead of the others that they’d finished by the time everyone else started. (It’s good to be a major dealer and a major collector, it seems.)
“We’re missing Deitch,” some upset art people complained, referring to the 11 p.m. beachside performance — this year by Devendra Banhart — that traditionally starts the fair. The fashion set replied with blank looks. And those blank looks, it seems, won out: Almost everyone in the power-packed room eventually missed the Deitch event in favor of lush chocolate pudding and lots of shoe talk. Gagosian, who stayed, didn’t look too upset people never made it to his rival gallerist’s event. —Alexandra Peers