MIAMI--It was quite the scene outside the Chanel party at the Soho Beach House, the Soho House's Miami satellite, last night to kick off Art Basel. House members were trying to gain access to their club, and guests for the party Chanel was throwing for the new online art showcase Art.sy had bottlenecked around the publicists with the clipboards, the burly security guards seemingly powerless to control the growing crowd.
Thankfully, it was a different scene inside. Chanel had erected an enormous white tent right on the beach. You could mingle at the bar, try to find the rumored barbecue if you were hungry, or just sit under the tiki torches on the beach and listen to the crashing late-night surf. (Or watch all the female guests try to negotiate the sand in their heels; the less self-conscious ones just kicked them off.) It was all very glamorous, in a laid-back kind of way.
The tented setting gave the party a wedding vibe (albeit a very fashionable one)--as did the evening's soundtrack, which tended towards songs like "Son of a Preacher Man," "Satisfaction," and "Shout" and packed the dance floor. Adriana Lima was there, looking as gorgeous as if she'd just stepped off the Victoria's Secret runway. So was Naomi Campbell, and Martha Stewart, and Demi Moore--who looked like she was having a really good time getting cozy with Lenny Kravitz and grooving in her seat in the VIP section. At some point she even found a cat to cuddle, which would obviously enhance anyone's night.
As for the purpose of the party, Art.sy is basically a giant online database of art, organized and searchable by region, artist, movement, medium, and period, all viewable in really gorgeous high-res. (And if a piece of art is available for sale and you happen to have a spare couple mill, Art.sy will put you in touch with the gallery or owner.) The PayPal founder Peter Thiel, Dasha Zhukova, and Wendi Deng Murdoch -- all investors in the site -- were in attendance. So was the artist Mickalene Thomas. Exactly the kind of elegant crowd you'd expect with Chanel.