Battle of the Basel Parties: Rubells vs. Faenas

Ximena Caminos and Alan Faena

Ximena Caminos and Alan Faena at the opening celebration of the Faena hotel.

During the day, the Art Basel fair taking place this week in Miami Beach is a large-scale trade show where dealers and galleries politely squabble for the attention of collectors from all over the world. But the night scene is not so much an endless parade of glittering parties as it is a battle for the soul of the jet set. Cocktails upon dinners upon parties and after parties are scheduled on top of each other and often in direct conflict with one another. What’s an honest, hard-working socialite to do? Friendships are tested, emotions tried, and the laws of physics challenged as the truly ambitious attempt to be in two places at once. Tuesday brought on the first of such clashes before the rush of events on the very busy days to follow. On one side of Biscayne Bay, the collectors Don and Mera Rubell - with W magazine and Roberto Cavalli - threw a dinner at their home in the Wynwood Art District to open its all-female exhibit No Man’s Land. On the other side, in one corner of Miami Beach, Alan Faena inaugurated his Faena district with a dinner and late-night jamboree. It didn’t matter that on Wednesday, W would be throwing a party at the Faena - on Tuesday, here’s how the battle broke down.


Rubell: 9:30 p.m. dinner

Faena: 10:30 p.m. party


Rubell: The home of the permanent collection, a former Drug Enforcement Agency warehouse, and the tennis court outside the Rubell’s personal residence.

Faena: The Faena Hotel, the jewel of the developer’s $1 billion district in mid Miami Beach.


Rubell: Art world heavy-hitters - Francesco Vezzoli, Maria Baibakova, Dustin Yellin, Thelma Golden, and gallerists Marianne Boesky and Andrea Rosen, plus designers Peter Dundas of Cavalli, Greg Chait, Misha Nonoo.

Faena: A Hollywood crowd - Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrien Brody, Brett Ratner, Paris Hilton, Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer.

Token musician:

Rubell: Miguel


Coveted arm candy:

Rubell: model Nina Agdal

Faena: model Jon Kortajarena

The next generation:

Rubell: Jennifer, daughter of Don and Mera, ‘food artist.’

Faena: Sebastian, cousin to Alan, fledgling photographer and filmmaker.

The party crashers:

Rubell: Scores of people snaked around the museum waiting to see a preview of the exhibit.

Faena: A crowd mobbed the hotel’s entrance pleading with clipboard girls to get inside the party.

Ubiquitous selfie prop:

Rubell: "I loved the Nutcrackers, of course," Dundas said, referring to Jennifer's sculpture, a female mannequin that cracks nuts between its thighs.

Faena: Damien Hirst’s Gone but not Forgotten, a nine-foot skeleton of a woolly mammoth encased in a glass case.

Statement accessory:

Rubell: Mera’s straw hat.

Faena: Alan’s white carnival-barker top hat.

Most sought-after business card:

Rubell: Joshua Roth, the head of United Talent Agency’s fine arts division

Faena: producer Harvey Weinstein

Featured entertainer:

Rubell: Mera, who gave a charmingly daffy speech thanking both the artists in attendance and her husband, Don, for allowing his precious tennis court to be covered up to stage the dinner. “By tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., I’ll have my tennis court back,” he cracked.

Faena: Pedro Almodovar ‘It’ girl Rossy de Palma, best known for her appearances in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Law of Desire. De Palma, wearing an a black showgirl gown, performed at least one song that fans of the Spanish auteur will recognize, Think of Me from High Heels. Swarmed with well-wishers and selfie-seekers, the actress rushed out after her act, telling a reporter, “Me voy a poner algo mas fresquito.” Translation: "I’m going to put on something a little more risque.”

Time it was all over:

Rubell: midnight.

Faena: A little after 1 a.m.

Who made it to both: Peter Dundas

Unofficial after after party:

Out of Order magazine’s party at the Surf Lodge at The Hall.