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Art Basel has brought out the luxury heavyweights this year. Mere weeks ago, Miami's Design District along NE 40th street packed only half the luxury punch of what it boasts right now. It must be something about the immense influx of style setters flying in from all around the world that spurs stores to pull their shit together for one of Miami's biggest moneymaking weekends of the year.
Last year during Basel, only a few brands had taken up residence in the Design District, but several experiments—like the Scotch & Soda pop-up—gave shoppers an inkling something bigger was about to happen. Up until Basel 2011, the district was mainly occupied by a rug store and a few high-end fashion outliers, like Chicago-based Luminaire, Margiela, a now-closed Y-3, Kartell, Anya Ponorovskaya and Louboutin (which arrived in time for Basel 2009), and Marni (Basel 2008). But now, this week, so many brands have rushed to create one hell-of-a scene, making this the Babylon of shopping districts.
The rally started this August with Cartier, followed by Celine and a very miami Louis Vuitton in November. This week, Dior has opened, Prada opened yesterday, and Hermes has staked its territory with windows signage.
Additionally, due to the drama and space issues at Bal Harbour, LVMH has decided to pull all of its brands out and move them into the Design District by the summer of 2014.
While we were scoping out the new developments, it was also our pleasure to get the nugget of intelligence from a realtor that Berluti, the French menswear house, has just signed a lease for the storefront without signage next door to Dior. (That rhymed!)
What happens next will fully flesh out the area as a major luxury destination. By the time Art Basel 2013 rolls around, we'll be seeing shops including Fendi, which already operates a home store nearby, Marc by Marc, Bulgari, Burberry (which will likely have a tech feel similar to Chicago's new flagship), Tom Ford, Pucci, and De Beers, with those stones that don't stop sparkling. Welcome to Miami, everyone!—Jared Hatch
· Art Basel Miami Beach [Official Site]