Magazine article ADWEEK

Fashionistas Rock to Miami: Art Basel Has Gained in Social Currency among the Wealthy, Becoming a Must-Do for Luxury Publishers and Marketers

Magazine article ADWEEK

Fashionistas Rock to Miami: Art Basel Has Gained in Social Currency among the Wealthy, Becoming a Must-Do for Luxury Publishers and Marketers

Article excerpt

Every winter, the fashion crowd--bloggers, editors, well-heeled customers--descends on a certain American city for a week of seemingly nonstop parties, many hosted by top-tier luxury magazines and sponsored by big-name designers. No, we're not talking about New York Fashion Week. In fact, one of the year's hottest fashion events isn't technically a fashion event at all. It's Art Basel Miami Beach, the art showcase that takes place each year during the first week of December.

So how did an art fair, launched in 2001 as a spinoff of the original Art Basel in Switzerland, become a must-do for any luxury publisher worth its weight in Chanel? "There's always been a synergy between the luxury market and art," said Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W, who has been attending Art Basel Miami Beach since its inception. But over the past decade or so, he explained, art has become an increasingly important social currency among wealthy consumers. "People used to measure up in terms of how many handbags they had," he said. "Now, they count Jeff Koons or Picassos or whatever they collect."

Art patrons are also especially attractive to the brands underwriting many of these magazines' events, added Tonchi. (W counts Ferragamo and Bulgari among the sponsors for its trio of Art Basel events this year, which include a launch party for W's annual art issue and a luncheon in honor of famed art collectors Mera and Donald Rubell.) "It's a certain audience that is not only rich but also adventurous and open-minded," he said. …

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