A Fashionable Movement
DJ Irie spinning alongside the Miami International Symphony Orchestra at the MISO Gala; Trina Turk opening Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim with her Swim & Spa 2011 collection; John Legend at the Art for Life gala looking fly in a white Valentino suit and Ferragamo shoes purchased earlier that day at the Bal Harbour Shops; a business lunch at Michael’s Genuine; cocktails at Perricone’s.
In fashionable Miami, the word chic has taken on a cultural significance. The term Miami Chic gets bandied about as a form of dress, a party theme, a manner of behavior. Yet, what does this term mean and how does being chic in Miami differ from what is considered chic in other cities? The question is simple; the answer complex, involving a convergence of attributes from various genres uniting at a sultry tropical setting during a specific period in history. This multi-faceted union of characteristics may lead some to believe that Miami Chic is a movement rather than simply a frequently used, yet vague, term. Hence the question must be asked as to what exactly this movement entails.
What is Miami Chic?
There is, of course, boho-chic, shabby-chic, bon chic bon genre (BCBG). Need we not forget Kate Moss and heroin-chic, or the jet black hair, pale skin and black wardrobes of goth-chic?
Then there are chics that are more similar to Miami’s lifestyle. Tropical-chic, for example, is influenced by island styles and tropical designs. The attire is casual and appropriate at outdoor events where Miami’s humidity is always a factor. Celebrity Domino Night and The Summer Groove are examples of where the tropical, casual components of Miami Chic are displayed with loose fitting linen pants and shirts, short sleeved guayaberas, light and revealing dresses, and generally informal attitudes at otherwise formal events.
Although, tropical-chic alone fails to take into consideration the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim multi-cultural aspects, evolving art scene, or renowned nightlife of Miami.
Known as the Gateway to Latin America, the Hispanic influence on style is evident at virtually every Miami event or destination. Stroll through the Mediterranean landscape at The Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables on a brisk fall day and one will find a multi-national array of fashionistas with dialects from every corner of South America.
Urban-chic has crept its way into the Miami Chic milieu. Long before Miami was the Gateway to Latin America, the seasonal migration of New Yorkers had a significant influence, and now that influence has manifested itself with a picturesque skyline that rivals our sister city to the north.
Beautiful luxury condos erected in the growing urban core of Brickell, downtown and Midtown have created an urban-chic environment where residential is combined with business, dining, entertainment, shopping and trendy lounges and bars. Here we find professionals displaying style choices that demonstrate a sophisticated approach as they dine at Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita and Sugercane, sip late-night martinis at Bardot, or catch a show at the Arsht Center.
Also in the spirit of New York where Chelsea and the Meat Packing District have been recently redefined, growing Miami artistic and design hubs Wynwood and the Miami Design District have been invigorated through the real estate efforts of talented visionaries. Stroll these areas on a “Second Saturday” and witness the expansive collection of art galleries, design showrooms, artists’ studios and restaurants. The neighborhoods are fresh with an inspired spirit and sense of purpose. What has emerged stylistically is consistent with that of a creative mindset, profoundly different than anything found in Bal Harbour, Coral Gables, downtown, or Miami Beach.
And lest we forget Miami Beach, the international hotspot where Miami Chic begins and ends? The Beach is the playground of the rich and famous, a group that brings their personal style to the party regardless of locale. Whether it’s dinner at The Forge, drinks at W South Beach, late night at LIV, Prime One Twelve, Setai, Wall, Gotham Steak, Casa Tua, Art Basel Miami Beach, luxury condos South of Fifth, Miami Swim Week, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, MYNT, Mr. Chow, or any number of SoBe destinations and events, one is certain to find an eclectic mix of styles that encapsulates all that is chic in Miami.
So how does each of these elements define Miami Chic?
Perhaps Christian Louboutin put his finger on the pulse of this movement in an interview with SocialMiami at Saks Bal Harbour when asked about the Miami woman.
“The Miami woman is very feminine clearly,” he said, “and also due to the weather, she has this great attitude with her body, and the body language of the Miami woman is very important and very flirtatious…”
Flirtatious, indeed, while radiating a great attitude with her body: in the end, no matter what the attire, Miami Chic is an attitude that derives from the hot, sticky and sultry nature of a sexually charged and flirtatious environment that is infused with international wealth and, dare we assert, a fair amount of decadence and hedonism. It’s a party where one should come as they are, as long as they have what it takes to back it up.
Photos by Manny Hernandez
Aaron Glickman is a writer, actor and filmmaker. Through his contributions to SocialMiami, he has had opportunities to document many fascinating people and organizations in the fields of philanthropy, the arts, fashion, design and real estate including Carolina Herrera, James Rosenquist, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Russell Simmons, Nicole Miller, Christian Louboutin, Lin Arison and many more. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami Theater Center (MTC) and is on the Executive Committee of the National YoungArts Foundation.