A Very Limited Experience

Limited Edition Experiences gathers up nineteen pop up shops together that include Maison Martin Margiela, Fendi, Marni and more for Art Basel Miami.

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Once, I overheard a fashion editor complain about always having to choose shopping over art. “The museums just take so much time,” she said. “Why can’t they have little art kiosks in shopping plazas?”

Such trifling wishes come true a hundred times over at Art Basel Miami, where shopping is marketed as art—for those, I suppose, who still ascribe uncommercial value to the latter. (Others would argue shopping has always been an art, and boutiques are just now realizing it - but that’s another tangent.) Topping the list of shopping works? Limited Edition Experiences, new to Miami this Basel and the brainchild of Design District uber-developer (and rabid art collector) Craig Robins. “I didn’t want to do just another pop-up, because those are getting a bit old,” says Robins. So instead, he commissioned nineteen of them, from a simple, gallery-like array of Christopher Ross belt buckles to a football star’s dream townhouse by “Savile Row tailor gone rogue” Duncan Quinn.
 
These and eight others have popped up shop in the Moore Building, said to be Miami’s coolest bit of architecture—an Art Deco masterpiece installed with a swooping Zaha Hadid sculpture. Be warned: to enter is to lose your breath. Along the left side lies a wing of Maison Martin Margiela. Here, beneath the sterile gaze of lab-coated assistants, you can browse clothing and cloven-hoof heels. Or pick up a set of the sleek, blank matroyshka dolls designed by Margiela for Vogue Russia’s 10th Anniversary.

Across the way, it’s just the opposite: Fendi hawks a canvas version of their famous baguette bag that comes with a needlepoint kit for crafty personalization. At what price is the privilege of playing Fendi designer? A cool grand (USD). If you don’t trust your own fingers, pay an extra $500 and have yours worked up by Parisian artist-about-town Andre - he’ll be doing them live on site.
 
Fendi’s also done a set of white-on-white Gibson guitars: studded, leather-inset, trimmed in goat fur; not at all excessive. They’ll be played by the band OK! Go, every night of the fair. Should you wish to record your own White Album, you can custom-order one. Tucked upstairs is Katherine Fleming, a handbag designer who works in exotic skins and a sleek deco aesthetic - no surprise, then, to learn she’s a Miami native. She asked sixteen different artists to work over her python “Jane” clutch; the fantastically mixed results will be auctioned off, with proceeds supporting the Bas Fisher Invitational for emerging artists.
 
Can art make us care about handbags again? Marni hopes so, too; they’re doing a “Marni for Miami” bag in signature vintage canvas, for sale at their own Design District boutique. Other brands doing LEE in their own spaces include Gucci (doing Icon: Temporary for the second year now; this time it’s a trainer collab with DJ Ronson)
 
Outside of the Moore Building, the most delightful Limited Edition Experience is found at Cynthia Rowley’s “pleasure garden.” Spread out in the atrium of the 4141 Building, just up the street, it’s an Astroturf picnic complete with swing sets. And for sale? Sand-coloured cotton blankets that, like Frankie, say RELAX. Small ones go for $100 US, large for $120; each is numbered, as an artist’s canvas would be.
 
“If it weren’t for that number,” says a local PR woman, eager to scoop up No. 1, “I’d just go to Target and pay $20.”

Limited Edition Experiences is open today, and will remain in the Moore Building and elsewhere in Miami’s Design District until December 24.
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