Taravision: A Style Diary from the Vizcaya Ball
On the scene for SocialMiami, this insider brings us the best in style from this sold-out occasion.
The annual fundraiser at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami’s grande dame dating back to 1914 was themed after Truman Capote’s headline-grabbing Black and White bal masque’, held at The Plaza in 1966. And was as in-demand as Capote’s fete, selling out the same day the tickets went on sale. Only the swiftest of philanthropists and luxury brands were able to buy tables – Chanel and Fendi, among the lucky ones. Held on Saturday night on the 20th of November – just eight days before Capote’s dance, 55 years earlier – the Vizcaya Ball made the same request of its guests, to wear only two colors: black and white.
A stylephile’s dream, the black or white dress code was translated in every conceivable fashion by the smart set. Leading the glamour train were the Ball’s impeccable co-chairs Jenni Coba and Christy Martin, in made-to-order Gucci and jewel-adorned Balmain, respectively. Jenni, who gifted copies of the 2006 bestseller “Party of the Century” by Deborah Davis to committee members at the Ball’s final planning meeting (so clever!), accessorized her empire-waisted, white crystal-embellished black Gucci gown with fancy Gucci gloves (feathers AND crystals!) and a custom mask. Christy, the Miami-ized version of Babe Paley, Capote’s ultimate swan, wore hundreds, maybe thousands, of carats of glistening body jewelry by Maria Elena headpieces over her slinky white sequined Balmain gown with plunging decolletage.
Cocktail hour in the limestone-paved courtyard made for unparalleled swan gazing, as larger-than-life sartorial statements vied for attention. Standout looks included Laurie Jennings, the evening’s glam emcee, who wore her grandmother’s black ostrich feather stole and family jewels with a delicate and form-fitting black lace illusion gown from Saks Fifth Avenue that was period-perfect, with just a touch of an Edwardian vibe. Laurie’s husband, Joshua Salman, paired his white tie and waistcoast with a black suit and black-and-white spat-influenced footwear.
Marile Lopez, always a head-turner, was a vision in an ethereal cloud of black tulle ruffles. Carly Patterson did a Jessica Rabbit turn in a sexy black strapless gown with thigh-high slit by Moda Glam. Annette Prats rocked white Rococo wearable art every bit as grand as the ball’s décor, which was custom-made for her in LA. Socialite and arts patron Petra Levin wowed in a sleek white Tom Ford jumpsuit, accompanied by Cal Campos, a fashion and beauty stylist at Tom Ford, who wore Tom Ford’s graphic black-and-white Atticus cocktail jacket.
If there were an award for most Best Couple Ensemble, it would go to interior designer Victor Diaz and Jose Aguilera, an industrial and organizational physiologist, whose looks – which included embellished Giorgio Armani tuxes and custom feathered capes that took 12 weeks to make — were so complex, they started getting dressed at 10 a.m., wrapping at 4:30 p.m. in time for a photo shoot before being driven to the Ball in their very on-brand ride: A vintage 1960s Bentley.
Most curious trend of the night? Young men sporting full heads of dyed grey hair, channeling their inner silver foxes, as seen on Mr. D’, aka my husband, Nick D’Annunzio, and coif king Danny Jelaca, looking dapper in a velvet paisley dinner jacket by Stitched and a Dolce & Gabbana white suit, respectively.
Dinner was served al fresco, under a tent in front of the famed Vizcaya Barge that had crystal chandeliers dangling above. Shortly after the Caesar salad course was served, the heavens opened and the rain came pounding down, winds gusting wildly, the plastic panels surrounding the tent’s perimeter protecting us from what looked like a flash tropical storm – reminding us of Miranda Priestly’s genius line in “The Devil Wears Prada,” when all flights out of Miami were cancelled due to a hurricane: “Call Donatella. Get her jet. Call everyone else that we know that has a jet.”
Tara Solomon has been documenting Miami since the late 1980s, covering style, philanthropy, society and modern culture. She has written for publications including The Miami Herald, Elle, In Style, Food & Wine, People en Espanol, Vogue Latinoamérica, and German Vogue. Newly married, Tara chronicles her domestic life on Instagram at @tarasolomon. (Photo by Olga Miljko.)