Taravision: A Style Diary by Tara Solomon

This week, the Miami fashion insider takes the city by storm.

Lesli Ann Brown, Barbara Hevia, Swanee DiMare, and Laurie Jennings at the Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon

Vizcaya’s 14th annual Preservation Luncheon

Looking at Miami’s social scene as a casual observer, from social media perhaps, it may seem like there are a curiously large number of luncheons that involve wearing hats, which wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate.

Jenni Coba and Karolina Kurkova at the Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon

We Miami women do love to dress up — including wearing fancy headpieces, whether elaborate embellished sun hats or precious little fascinators in candy colors with netting, or theatrical showstoppers in the shape of, say, a big ashtray with a parked smoldering cigarette, imprinted with a red lipstick kiss, of course.

The said ashtray hatinator (“hat” meets “fascinator”), which was worn with aplomb at the recent 14th annual Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon by Miami style queen Gigi Whitman, racked up 1,700 views on my Instagram, surpassing even the most popular cat videos.

A custom creation whose concept came to her one night over a well-chilled martini, the ashtray hatinator is the latest in a long line of delightfully extra hats we have seen Whitman wear, which include: A very “Emily in Paris” pink-and-white-checked Chanel beret, with crystal logo brooch, in the same fabric as her Chanel sheath dress; a cartoonishly oversized black Armani runway bowler that is on every fashionista’s most coveted list; and a custom hatinator of miniature shopping bags bearing the names of famed fashion houses (Gucci, Chanel, Versace…) that have stores at Bal Harbour Shops, which the Whitman Family owns.

Going that extra mile, style-wise, is always appreciated, and swan-gazing at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens’ yearly hat luncheon is always such fun, taking in all the colors of Miami’s daytime charity circuit, set against the historic 1914 Italianate estate with its stately outdoor sculptures and formal gardens. Philanthropist and style goddess Jenni Coba – who will be chairing Vizcaya’s annual gala for a second year this November – looked especially ethereal in her Monique Lulliher maxi dress abloom with pansy and rose appliques in shades of pink, purple, yellow, orange, and white on a soft fawn tulle. Her frothy pale peony pink floral fascinator was from The Hat Doctor, a Louisville-based milliner that specializes in one-of-a-kind headpieces and is the 2022 Featured Milliner of the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Other standout hats – and there were a lot of them – included Reach TV host Marta Bloom’s twisted turbinator (“turban” meets “fascinator”) by Ana Bella Millinery in a luscious seafoam green and studded with two large white spider mums, which she wore with a fitted white Dolce & Gabbana blazer and dress (with feathered hem!) and a blinged top-handle bag, also Dolce, in vibrant teal. Did I mention her Old Hollywood jeweled lapel brooches?! Once again, it was all about the details.


Bal Harbour Shops kicks off Fleurs de Villes

Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Nicole Sayfie Porcelli, Suzie Sayfie and Amy Sayfie Zichella at Bal Harbour Shops

Each March, Bal Harbour Shops displays the elaborate floral mannequin installation Fleurs De Villes, this year with 16 famous women throughout history – a diverse list that included Caroline Astor, Frieda Kahlo, Martha Graham, Gloria Estefan, and Oprah – depicted in flowers and greenery by local florists, in honor of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis’ Women of Substance and Style.

The “Fashion Among the Flowers” kickoff event, in partnership with Missoni and Bal Harbour Village, was hosted by Bal Harbour Shops’ ACCESS membership and its charismatic Collaborative Innovator General Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard (how’s that for a fun title?), who wore a fantastic teal lurex Missoni duster over a multi-hued knee-length dress in the brand’s signature chevron pattern.

A well-heeled group gathered in the tony mall’s center courtyard on the ground floor, where the mannequin of Audrey Hepburn (in her role as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady”) was positioned. Best looks of the night went to philanthropist Claudine Smurfit, staying in theme in a chic black-and-white floral palazzo pant ensemble by Miami designer Julian Chang, and Suzie Sayfie, Executive Director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, so elegant in a black-and-white Chanel cardigan pant suit, with lots of shimmering double-C jewelry to match.


Barbara Hulanicki and Anna Sui in Conversation at NSU Art Museum

It’s been almost 10 years since Bonnie Clearwater joined NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale as Director and Chief Curator, and we are continually impressed by her exhibition lineup and special event programming, such as the recent conversation between fashion icons Barbara Hulanicki and Anna Sui, which she moderated.

Hulanicki, who was largely responsible for creating the Swinging Sixties movement in London in the 1960s, turned her Biba fashion line of hip-chick clothing and accessories into a major brand, with a succession of six Biba stores in London – the last one in 1974 featuring six floors, including a rooftop with a lake graced by real flamingos.

Adrienne Bon Haes at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Barbara Hulanicki, Anna Sui and Tara Solomon at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Hulanicki has been Sui’s idol and fashion inspiration ever since Sui read a story about the British design sensation in Seventeen magazine when she was 12. Years later the two met at a literary festival in New York state and have remained in touch ever since. Sui, whose empire includes numerous fashion collaborations over the decades and a beauty line – inspired by Biba’s fanciful cosmetics — with black, Goth-esque packaging is so beautiful you’ll keep the lipstick tubes long after the lipstick is gone.

The designers, who shared anecdotes and commented on projected images of their brands, wore their signature looks – Hulanicki, in head-to-toe black jeans, T-shirt and jacket, and Sui, in a maxi cardigan and dress from her own line, in a graphic print in greens and white. Both wore a matching scarf around their neck.

Fashionistas attending the event included artist and fashion historian Adrienne Bon Haes, who paired a crisp white cotton shirt and boot-cut jeans with a 19th century Indian Mogul vest embroidered in real silver sequins with a silver Turkish Ottoman belt “for a casual Sunday.”

After the talk, during the Q & A portion, a woman in the audience, there with her young daughter, told Hulanicki that she had named her “Biba” after her, which caused the crowd to erupt in applause. Bon Haes, a longtime Biba fan herself, added later in private as we were recapping the afternoon, that she too would bestow the honor, promising to name her next cat — albeit a black one, of course – “Biba.”

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