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Moncler's Caped Crusaders Take Miami

Moncler and Miami are two words that wouldn't necessarily seem to go together. But amidst the festivities of Art Basel, this clothier associated most strongly with mountaineering wear celebrated its 60th anniversary in the most glamorous--and unexpected--of settings.
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MIAMI--Moncler and Miami are two words that wouldn't necessarily seem to go together. At its New York fashion week shows, Moncler has sought to underline the cold-weather appropriateness of its clothes, staging memorable outdoor shows at the Central Park ice rink (synchronized skaters in matching Moncler outfits did their thing while a children's choir sang), or on the chilly west side piers. A clothier associated most strongly with mountaineering celebrating its 60th birthday in a city where the temperatures have been in the balmy 70s and 80s? A city where, let's face it, half the people are here for the art and the other half are here because the other option is drizzly December New York? Why not: The company said it wanted Miami during Art Basel "rather than your typical fashion setting." And this is a brand that has never been much for typical fashion settings.

The anniversary party took place inside a magnificent parking garage (somehow not a contradiction in terms) built for $65 million in 2010 by the architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. (They also did the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and converted the former Bankside Power Station into the new Tate Modern in London--and that funny-looking building with the silvery façade on Bond Street in NoHo, near the Smile.)

The garage is a vast, wall-less space that Moncler used to great advantage. Inside, the enormous concrete slab floors are supported by tall, narrow pillars that angle through the building like spines. With white carpets rolled out over the concrete floors and an inspired lighting design--white spotlights pierced the air, echoing the shapes of those crazy-looking pillars--not to mention the extraordinary views of the glittering Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay, this was possibly the most elegant party ever held at a place normally used to park cars.

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Moncler's guests gathered for dinner--white couches, white tables, white flowers, white table service, white lamps--and cocktails. I spied the ubiquitous Brant brothers, Harry and Peter, Uma Thurman, and Glenda Bailey. The photographer and art collector Jean Pigozzi, clad in a shirt patterned with cherubs, wandered around discreetly taking pictures with his little black point-and-shoot.

As dinner wound down, guests started putting on the cape-like Moncler down jackets (white, of course) that the brand had given out to some of the attendees. And while all the suddenly white-caped guests made the party look a little as though it had been invaded by a well-dressed cult, they had a practical purpose. If you ever go to the world's most beautiful parking garage, you should make sure to walk right out to the edge, where a couple of steel cables are the only physical barrier between you and the ground. Last night, the views from that vantage were spectacular--but the winds could be a little nippy. One of those jackets would have been nice.

Photos: BFA