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Fizzled Out

Has Art Basel Miami Beach lost its spark?

Yvonne Force Villareal in Michael Kors in Miami

Yvonne Force Villareal in Michael Kors.

Photo By WWD Archive

Has Art Basel Miami Beach lost its spark? Sure, Iggy Pop stage-dived during his beachside performance Wednesday night, sexy Goths with otherworldly black bouffants performed for Deitch's annual concert at the Raleigh hotel and the line to get into Le Baron's makeshift venue spilled out onto the street, but that special something seems missing.

Some insiders blame the rise of rival fairs like Frieze and MACO in recent years, while others point to the lack of new art stars. "The fair's very different this year," said Nadja Swarovski, who held a dinner on Wednesday on the Delano's terrace honoring architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Due in March (it's a girl!), Swarovski also hosted an after party for guests including Adam Lindemann and Erin Wasson at the Delano's Florida Room, which she worked on with Lenny Kravitz. "His calm nature has been an oasis from Basel," Swarovski said. "It's like talking to my yoga teacher."

Earlier, Lindemann popped by brother George's soiree at his bay-front home (made of coral), where Calvin Klein, Jane Holzer and art world regulars such as Yvonne Force Villareal, Rachel Lehmann and Gavin Brown took in the sweeping skyline views.

Meanwhile, David Lauren and Interview magazine hosted a cocktail party at Polo Ralph Lauren's South Beach store celebrating a photography exhibit benefiting the Pink Pony Fund and the "Ralph Lauren" book. "All this art has inspired me to make some myself. Next year I'm coming back with something to sell," joked Lauren as he greeted guests including Beverly Johnson, André Balazs and fair Ubiquitor Lance Armstrong.

Becca Cason Thrash stopped by the Polo store before heading to the dinner marking the finale of Pucci's 60th anniversary year celebrations. "It's been a busy year," said the brand's chain-smoking designer, Matthew Williamson, who had jetted into town for the party with Laudomia Pucci. He was surrounded by women in Pucci, including Delphine Arnault-Gancia, Anh Duong, Cecilia Dean and gallerist Andrea Glimcher.

Thursday night, Duong and Diane von Furstenberg dined al fresco at the Raleigh for Paul Kasmin Gallery's intimate fete, while Vivienne Tam and Dennis and Victoria Hopper were at the Mandarin Oriental Miami to celebrate Sotheby's contemporary Asian art auction in January.
Meanwhile, Thrash hit Cartier's dinner honoring Jean Nouvel and Gilberto Chateaubriand at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. "I'm so exhausted that I got out of bed at lunchtime today," she said, though the Standard, where she is staying, is a little rustic for her taste. "It's great if you're a 19-year-old surfer and like to bathe outside with the mosquitoes. I had to take a sponge bath."

Over in London, Sharon Osbourne took over Donna Karan's Conduit Street shop Wednesday for an event benefiting her Colon Cancer Program. "I'm wearing Donna Karan everything," cried Osbourne. "My dress, my bra, my tights."

Guests including Sam Taylor-Wood, Saffron Aldridge, Brooke de Ocampo and Jasmine Guinness wandered the store as choirboys from London's Oratory School sang Christmas carols.

On Monday night, Emma Thompson rounded up pals including Joely Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave, Bella Freud and Arabella Pollen for a party at London's Ballantyne store in aid of The Helen Bamber Foundation, which helps victims of war crimes and human trafficking. Guests hungrily snapped up colorful cashmere sweaters on the store's library-size shelves, although Thompson found herself in a bit of a row with a fur collar on display. "S-t-o-p!" she cried, pretending to thrash free from its furry lavender grip.