Taravision: A Style Diary by Tara Solomon
Her advice for dressing for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival: Pretend you are in Capri during the summer.
Planning one’s wardrobe for anything outdoors can be a challenge, let alone for events in Miami that involve our arch enemies, the humidity and sand. The annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival has a very specific fashion protocol, one we’ve mastered over the decades, having attended every year since the festival’s inception in 2001 – the year we ruined a favorite pair of black patent leather Prada snout-nosed slingbacks from traipsing about in the sand at the Thursday night opening event at the beachfront tents.
Finding style at a food festival, we’ve discovered, is about as easy as keeping one’s blowout frizz-free after a full day of chef demos and food sampling on Ocean Drive’s beachfront – not impossible, but it does require planning and finesse.
Our best advice: Pretend you are in Capri during the summer for, let’s say, a friend’s wedding. It’s excruciatingly hot, and you need to wear practical yet glam footwear – sandals or fancy sneaks — because of the cobblestones, and you want to look cute because everyone will be taking photos. There, you have it. That’s how you should dress. It’s an easy visual everyone should try to reference.
Unless, of course, you are Kate Hudson, who needs no fashion advice from anyone, and totally slayed at her two appearances at the SOBEWFF tents, where she was touting her personal libation brand, King St. Vodka (named after her former apartment address in NYC).
Kate wore a maxi dress in a bold print both days, each one completely unique in colorway and vibe. For her debut on Friday at Trade Day, she chose a shiny, clingy halter dress in a beautiful plum splashed with huge brown fantasy-flowers, with a crisscross decolletage – very neo-1970s disco, and the perfect choice to play bartender at her vodka brand’s demo, where she made “Sex on the Beach” cocktails, naturally. (So genius, right?) For her Saturday PA at the Grand Tasting Village, Kate wore a burnt-apricot-and-white linen maxi in a graphic animal print with blousy long sleeves and a plunging neckline that tied at the waist, with a flat gold sandal, and cobalt blue drop earrings. Effortless chic.
Elsewhere at the tents we noticed some great looks that incorporated statement accessories to elevate an everyday look to something festive and memorable.
We did a double-take as we passed Nicole Gray, standing in front of the Cigar Aficionado magazine table, wearing a bright maxi in candy colors, with a Chanel crossbody boy bag in the perfect shade of bright, almost bubblegum pink, and black Chanel sunglasses that were a nice contrast to her Bergdorf blonde tresses. Her sundress? An anonymous beauty, purchased earlier in the week at a shop in Del Rey Beach when she was visiting her family.
Ditto for Kaylene Zuccala-Sams, who accessorized her tweedy pink puff-sleeved, double-breasted coat dress (bought from online retailer Revolve, “like three years ago”) with an oyster Chanel chain-strap bag, clear wedge mules, and a definitive pair of mirrored sunglasses by Louis Vuitton.
Upping the accessories game for the bicep-blessed was Manny Curbelo, who wore a delicate yet significant gold escapulario with four small, square medallions of Catholic saints attached to a gold chain – three spaced in the front, and one in the center on the chain in the back, for protection (having one’s back, as it were), together with another necklace of tiny gold beads, with a short-sleeved print shirt, half-buttoned, and white shorts, black espadrilles. A gift from several of his friends, the escapulario, or scapular, is an homage to his culture, said Manny, who is Cuban-American, adding that it’s bad luck to buy one’s own. His friend, Jens Hocke, who was born in Hamburg, wore a similar look of a navy Tencel shirt and blue linen shorts and black espadrilles, but sans religious jewelry, And yes, they both work out every day.
In a clever fashion choice, Nina Ringer wore a white-piped black maillot she bought on Instagram under flowy black pants – comfortable yet still elegant-casual – which coordinated nicely with friend Victoria Dayan’s muted reddish-brown toile skirt set by Danielle Bernstein – an English Regency-inspired square neckline crop top with puff sleeves and a matching ruffled-tiered maxi skirt.
Festival events off the sand, including this year’s tony “Best of the Best” at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, saw yet more maxi dresses, including a stellar lemon-yellow halter dress – every girl needs one – worn by golden-haired glamazon Erika Axani, hers by Alice and Olivia. Ericka’s friend Neel Amin was so dapper in a black dinner jacket, bow tie and ruffled tux shirt by Dolce & Gabbana – worn with a dove grey, window-pane plaid slim pant – and set a shining example for all men, and women for that matter, who think that dressing up, when not specifically requested, is a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s a gift – a form of self-care too few of us take the time to indulge in. Which is something to consider the next time you go to work, the doctor’s office, or a food festival. Why can’t everyday be showtime?
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.)