Five Things We Enjoyed Most About Basel

The sun has set on the tenth Art Basel Miami Beach. Tents have disappeared overnight, and the Euros left a cigarette butt trail behind them. Although it still remains a mystery how a city with no noteworthy museums, and reputation for fleeting interest in just about anything other than basketball and beaches, can host an event of such proportions. But Miami has managed to put on quite the show. Here are our top five picks of what made this show worth the blisters on our feet.

● The exhibit of amazing hand bags, including Croc Birkins, Goyard’s Doctor Bags, and Judith Leiber’s minaudière, sent a clear message: “This ain’t Coach territory.”

● The conversation overheard by the always insane Le Baron entrance. A sample: “Are they giving out crack for free inside or something,” asks a man accompanied by a blonde, Cavalli-wearing trophy. “No sir, but I’m going to ask you and your lady friend to move out of the way,” answers the bouncer, as he lets in a creature with face painted in an aborigine pattern and a girl who is cooling him off with a Chinese fan.

● Facial hair. The many variations of the beard was the star of the show. From five o’clock shadows to overgrown goatees, to full on chia pet. The ubiquitous Swedish designer Johan Lindeberg’s cross between ZZ Top and a grizzly bear was our hands down favorite.

● Theme cocktails. Dewar’s Smash at the MOCA/Vanity Fair party got the job done. So did Bombay Sapphire’s concoction at its Artisan Series with Russell Simmons, which filled us up and kept us going in spite of the meager showing on the catering side. (FYI organizers, don’t call it a dinner if all the menu includes is some rolled up prosciutto and a spoon full of day old looking guacamole.)

● Art. From Marco Brambilla’s video installations to Picasso’s self-portraits, to Nick Cave’s supernatural Soundsuits, it was the art that gave purpose to this five-day clusterfuck. And if anyone felt the way I did after a walk through the transformative, majestic Marc Fornes’ Labrys Frisae, then it was all worthwhile.

PeterVahan

In Stockholm, The Scandic Opens Big

For the opening of the Scandic Grand Central in Stockholm last weekend, the large-scale hotelier brought out the biggest and the best for a black tie gala in Sweden’s capital city. The soiree included a meet and greet in the hotel’s well-equipped acoustic lounge, followed by a dinner in the hotel’s Teaterbrasseriet restaurant, and an intimate performance by Grammy-nominated, Brooklyn-born performer and producer John Forté. Party-goers included frontrunners in art, design, fashion, and music. Guests were were given free rooms for the night, and encouraged to indulge in everything the newly renovated space has to offer, including the photo booth and sweet swag bags. More on how the Swedish ‘downtown’ mafia parties after the jump.

The event attracted the likes of designers Waris Ahluwalia and Johan Lindeberg (who was in town for the opening of his BLK DNM store), Swedish rapper Adam Tensta, Jonas Åkerlund (who directed some of Lady Gaga’s best-known videos), Joel Kinnaman (star of AMC’s The Killing), Andreas Löwenstam (head designer for H&M menswear), Swedish indie film master Fares Fares, photographer Christian Coinbergh, Rebecca Simonsson (“Sweden’s Lady Gaga”), contemporary artist Carsten Höller, and world-renowned DJ Jonas Kleerup. The highbrow crowd celebrated until the bar closed at 2am, and then spread the festivities out to rooms on various floors.

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Formal Swedish fashion trends for the evening included bold necklines for women, and non-traditional takes on the tux for men. Waris came decked out in tails and a crisp white oxford, while New York-based architect Claes Appelquist pulled off the über skinny suit look. Tuxes with graphic tees were also a big sell. Swedish style icon Pamela Bellafesta was a show-stopper in a multi-colored RODEBJER frock and YSL booties, and Simonsson turned plenty of heads in a mini vintage all-sequined number.

As it was explained to me, Stockholm is a city of around one million residents, and openings such as this one are few and far between. The Grand Central represents a progressive move for Central Stockholm as a forum for arts and culture, so it was fitting to have John Forté there to entertain the crowd. As the Swedes would say, Skol! to a party well done.

Johan Lindeberg’s BLK DNM Caters to Online Shoppers & Apple Acolytes

Designer Johan Lindeberg didn’t have to travel far to find the inspiration for his latest collection. The jet-setting founder of J. Lindeberg, the acclaimed urban lifestyle line where he served as creative director until 2007, and a onetime higher-up at Diesel and William Rast, Lindeberg discovered the future of fashion in, of all places, the pixels of his computer screen.

It was iTunes that convinced him to create BLK DNM, an edgy and tailored line that is already changing the future of retail. “I looked at the online evolution of the music industry and saw that its effect on fashion would be inevitable,” says the 54-year-old Swedish firebrand. “I wanted BLK DNM to be available for download.” The idea of giving customers instant access to music inspired him to launch BLK DNM last month as the world’s first e-commerce–only fashion line, eschewing traditional distribution methods in order to connect directly with customers. In fact, there’s nothing conventional about his business model: no traditional advertising, no seasons, no dillusion lines. Following the recent launch of BLKDNM.com, Lindeberg will open a New York showroom with a 21st-century twist. Known as a “Galleri,” it will give customers a chance to examine and try on the clothes, and to witness the creative process of the on-site designers. “The stores are like educational centers for consumers,” he says. A string of boutiques will follow in LA and London, but Lindeberg insists that he’s not interested in having customers walk out with shopping bags full of clothes. All purchases will instead be made at iPad stations, naturally.

Facehunter’s Fashion Week Speed Dating & BLK DNM Party Snaps

Street style photographers have been out in full force this week, bothering and validating the beautiful and well-heeled in equal measure. Personally, I find it incredulous that people would be anything but flattered if one of these rogue paparazzi stopped them for a quick pic — I know people who spend their Saturday afternoons stomping around Soho in couture in the hopes of bumping into the Sartorialist.

But, as Yvan Rodic, aka Facehunter, notes in his short film on the Nowness, camera stalking New Yorkers can be tricky. Just try going up to a pretty stranger without the help of alcohol. Luckily, there were libations last night at the BLK DNM launch party, where Rodic busied himself shooting willing participants.

Facehunter Takes Manhattan on Nowness.com.

In the film, he outlines his reasons for being drawn to people, and they have nothing to do with his own sense of style. He shoots people who have a certain aura or edge about them, regardless of whether if he likes their outfit. More reasons he might snap your pic: you’re beautiful or interesting; you’re willing to take direction for the pose (no standing on one foot!), which means you’re not running late to something (because you’ll rush the process). Also, play it cool. “When a girl is too willing to be photographed it’s a turn-off.” Accordingly, act like you’re not going to Google him the second you find a laptop — sort of like dating! Rodic would agree. “Fashion week is like speed dating,” he says about the week at hand, “my rejection capacity is around 10%.”

Last night he shot pretty, interesting, unrushed, friendly fashion folks at the launch of Johan Lindeberg’s BLK DNM collection in SoHo. Here are a few of his speed dates: image Arden Wohl & Tara Subkoff are Fashion Week speed dating pros with a “rejection capacity” of zilch, no doubt.

image Fashion Week Speed Dating tip: Wearing a Leica case as a necklace is a great way to break the ice and attract other photographers, which means facehunters will think you’re the opposite of desperate, because you could just photograph yourself if you really cared about getting your picture taken. Right?

image Johan Lindeberg @nytimesfashion: At the BLK DNM party. Johan turned the former Deitch space into virtual retail. DL #nyfw http://yfrog.com/h2ec5wtj

image Max Vallot & Langley Crisman @nataliecwhite: Pretty sure my boob fell out of my dress at least 6 times at the BLK DNM party. #hotmess

The World’s First e-Only Clothing Line

Tonight, amply bearded Swedish designer Johan Lindeberg is celebrating the launch of BLK DNM, the world’s first (and surprisingly overdue) fashion line available exclusively by download. Rather than trudge home with heavy and possibly unseemly shopping bags, try on clothes in the “Galleri,” observe the on-site designers as they stitch and cut your futuristic duds, and punch in your order at one of the ipad stations dotting the Wooster Street space.

“I wanted BLK DNM to be available for download,” Lindberg told BlackBook’s Cayte Grieve earlier this month. “The stores are like educational centers for the consumer.” There’s also a Gazette (edition one coming soon), a Facebook “Collective,” and individual garments that are highlighted like internet memes (“a new blazer for women”). I can’t help but wonder if downloading clothes will somewhat take the thrill out of the chase, but there seems to be something undeniably smart – something Scandinavian – about the digital migration. If nothing else, it’s tapping a trend that privileges immediacy – the lag time between shows and availability is tidily skirted with this virtual model – over exclusivity.

For tonight’s launch, a short film directed by Martin de Thurah will be screened. Witness the future of retail now; after party at the Boom Boom Room.

David Foote, Artist (in) Res-i-dence

David Foote seems to be the character representation of his art. The surface: trendy, bright, and easygoing, with a devil-may-care posture that you could hang above your couch or share a shot of tequila with in some obscure downtown haunt. Scratch a bit at that surface and you’ll find and interesting juxtaposition, a slight exploration of darkness with a solicitous interior and spectacular call for detail. His work “The New Girls” is simple in its conception of graphic female faces. But darkness is in the details: the macabre looks, vacant eyes, and tiny slugs scrawled in the hair of his intrepid beauties.

David wears a deep V-neck shirt, scarf, and a mop of shiny hair, confirming why The Daily Mini named him one of the 50 most stylish people in the world. He greets me smiling, but something isn’t right. He’s trying to cover up his concern regarding his show, “(in) Res-i-dence,” a month long exhibit at 20 Pine. With Tim Goossens of P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art curating the show and Whitewall, Porsche Design’s‘ “The Essence,” and Kwiat Diamonds hosting the opening, he seems as though he should be able to relax, but Foote isn’t used to handing over such power to others. His applied approach to every aspect of his work is refreshing; his small empire is growing to include Jaboneria Marianella, a luxury soap line; Fluorescent Films; and his acclaimed illustrations and artwork. It seems as though David Foote was born under a lucky star, but a closer look suggests his talent expands to include hard work, a hands-on methodology, and an eye for marketing.

So what’s the problem today? The lighting? This show is like a luxury living concept. It’s my paintings on the wall, so I want it to be portrayed in a sort of intimate light. You see it on a certain wall in a residence, kind of like how it would look in your house. It gives you an experience. I want it to also feel as though you’re at a house party. It’s intimate, it’s not dark, it gives you a much more personal experience.

This is your second show? This is my second. The first show I had, I sold 70% of everything.

So your very first show you sold 70%? 70% sold, and I got a lot of press and a lot of schedules.

How do you feel about that? To be honest I was really scared because I had never really shown my work like that before. And when you do something like that you are kind of protective of, it is very nerve-racking. I put my all into whatever I do. Before the show we were drilling and setting up the show ourselves. An hour before the show, we were literally covered in dust, just drilling into the ceiling, disgusting. Then I literally ran into the bathroom, cleaned up put on a suit, and walked out and started greeting people. I was terrified. I’ve been in New York for 10 years, you know how people are, especially at art openings.

How are people? I don’t want to say, just judgmental or something.

Do you think that may be a generality? Is that maybe an artist’s insecurity speaking? No. I’m speaking when you are at an art show, when you have all kinds of people there for many different reasons, many different alibis. My fear is that when you’re there, as an artist, you can feel very vulnerable that night because you set yourself up for everybody to be judging your work. I was scared, but then I got up and started walking around and people are discussing the work. And it was the craziest experience. There were just so many people, and I was just bouncing back and forth and listening to people to hear what they were saying.

You’ve been in New York for 10 years, but you are from Venezuela. Did you study here? Yeah, I went to art school.

Is that what pushed you to move here? It’s so funny, when I was like two years old, I told my mom that when I’m big I’m going to live in New York, I’m gonna make movies and drive a BMW. But the only thing that didn’t come true is the driving because I don’t know how to drive. I refuse to drive; I always feel like I’m not a good driver, and the times I have it’s been really bad.

So everything has gone to plan, other than getting into car accidents. Yes. My life has gone according to plan; basically I’ve always known what I wanted to do. When I was a year old, I climbed on a ladder in my house and I drew a Mickey Mouse. I have a photo of that Mickey that is the cover of my portfolio. When I got to NYU and after I finished school I really wanted to do film. I did music videos and commercials. At this one event I was working with these friends of mine; it was an event for the New York Observer and they were like, can you draw something on these big reams made of newspaper. I started drawing these girls. I didn’t think much of it. I come back and they are freaking out, people telling me “Oh, I’m bidding on your work.” And they were selling for $4,000.

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So prior to that, you weren’t really thinking about doing a show of any sort. Well, I had been doing these sketches, and it was kind of organic. I was thinking about ways to transfer these onto the page. So I started using different, metaphoric images transferred to a big canvas. I love painting, but when I finished the series I closed that chapter. I’m not that kind of artist that can do the same thing, the same kind of work. After the show, I started working with Johan Lindeberg, and I did special features with what became the New Girls, out of that he was working on.

Do you have a feel for an eye for marketing as well, and perhaps that has a lot to do with why your work is so marketable? The thing I love most about New York and kind of developing within New York is that you’re surrounded by people are doing so many different things. You’re not surrounded by people who are talking like you, doing the same things as you are. So, I chose to learn as many things as I possibly could, so now I know how to do PR if I had to, with a large network of many different people in different fields. I know how to market myself. For example, the soap line — when it started, I had to completely forget about myself as a person, become completely humble, and I had to go get the package and pitch it to a soap company.

Is what you’re doing natural to you? That’s the way I operate. I’m just trying to take it to the next level. Last year I worked nonstop for one year, and I stopped working in January. And I had managed to save all my money, and this is the year when I know I can do my own thing. When you do something, you have to dedicate yourself to it. Basically my day is I have to wake up at 7a.m. and deal with the soap company, and then I have to paint for like 10 hours.

How do you have so much structure but also allow yourself to be creative? You just have to find a place. I find for example music is a great place to start. I immediately hear the music, and I get back into that place. It just mentally brings you back there. I deal with a lot of stressful things, and doing this is really cathartic.

How is painting different than film for you? Painting is something you do for yourself, by yourself. When you’re making a film with several people, you are trusting all these people to get one thing done. So it’s a very different process than sitting there by myself. When I look at my painting, every line is made for a reason. The thing that I love the most is I’m receiving recognition now for what I did all my life. I always thought my first big break would come from my film.

Is recognition important to you? Not really. I just I truck along. I’m a go-getter. The way I was raised is do what you love. You have to keep a positive mind, and you have to do all you can. As long as I know I did my best, I’m fine at the end of the day.

If you weren’t involved with these projects, what would you do? I have no concept of that.

(in) Res-i-dence, a month long exhibit at 20 Pine ends October 18th. Curator: Tim Goossens of P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art. Hosted in Part by: Whitewall Magazine, Porsche Design The Essence and Kwiat Diamonds. For a Private Viewing Please Contact: Heir Apparent at 212-643-0406 Photos courtesy of Liam Alexander Photo.