The art of parties and beyond

Art Basel
Dec. 1-5, 2005: Each December, Art Basel Miami makes us want to pack our baggies and hightail it to the city that coke built. Permanently. The art gets bigger and some say better, the beach is arguably the yummiest in the States and we don't have to stow thirty-nine plug adapters to use our curling iron. It's just sooo much more viewer-friendly than your average art fair. But then, inevitably, after four euphoric days, we wake up in our make-up (we'll always love you, Courtney, if only for that line) and realize the art has been packed up, the parties have seen their last dance, South Beach has returned to a population of seven, and there's sand in our cracks. Whether or not it was all just a dream, here's a rundown of our warmest and fuzziest late-night memories...

For each of the four years Art Basel has hit Miami (the original Art Basel is in—ready?—Basel, Switzerland), Swarovski has tapped artists and non-fashion designers to reinvent the chandelier using its crystals, selling the glittering results at the Swarovski Crystal Palace. Our fave? A piranha-filled fish tank by Tobias Wong and Amelia Bauer—a genius idea even if, or perhaps because, the water got so cloudy at the opening party that Tobi had to refill the tank with Evian. Other contributors include Fabien Baron, Yves Behar, Rufus Albermarle, Gaetano Pesce, but it was Vincent van Duysen who commanded the most dough ($135,000) for his work that night. Congrats, Vincent...Visionaire celebrated Taste, its 47th issue, with a pool party at the new Thai-themed Setai hotel, possibly the swankiest in all of South Beach. The place looked mighty good considering half the windows had been blown out by hurricane Wilma a few weeks earlier. On hand to savor the flavor were Stephen Gan, Art Basel's director Samuel Keller, Casey Spooner and Esteban Cortazar. No word who shelled out the $900 a night per room...Disappointingly, all guests were fully clothed and acting respectably at Bruce Weber's small party at the Raleigh to launch his new book of fashion photos, "Blood, Sweat and Tears: Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned to Love Fashion," which, even at $150, sold out halfway through. We hung with Stefano Tonchi, art director Richard Pandiscio and Julie Gilhart. We also spotted Sofia Coppola, Andre Balazs, Cecilia Dean and art publisher Benedikt Taschen. Later that night gallerist Jay Jopling was heard loudly ordering six tequila slammers and Champagne chasers for himself and a couple of pretty bobble-head publicists draped over each arm. Guess that means Art Basel was good to him. Keller, meanwhile, was regularly seen partying into the early hours, yet always seemed fresh as a daisy at morning panel discussions...All hell broke loose at David LaChapelle's book release when Mama LaChapelle wasn't allowed in by no-neck bouncers, requiring the toast of the party to come to her rescue. And he was pa-hissed. The corrective reckoning was heard poolside, where Amanda Lepore, naked of course (at least this time she was in warmish Florida), leafed through the book in a clear box suspended over the pool...Finally, anyone who j'adored The Jesus and Mary Chain from, like, fifteen years ago will relish our sighting of the Scottish band's Jim Reid when we arrived at Perrier Jo�et's shindig. Needless to say, we can't remember anything after that.



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