Believe it or not, there exists a place where people don't care about fashion week or "Fall 2016" and it's called Miami Beach. Here, far beyond the walls of Milk Studios, the tides turned, the mojitos flowed, and the crowds shamelessly popped their polo shirt collars with abandon while the rest of the fashion establishment shivered in between shows and presentations.
Ciara and models Nina Agdal and Chanel Iman were among those who fled New York this past weekend for Veuve Clicquot's annual "Carnaval" — a VIP version of the legendary Brazilian parade and alcohol and food binge-fest that takes place every year before Lent. Veuve Clicquot staged the far more sedate powwow to pour out its newest iced Champagne: “Rich."
For the occasion, Museum Park, located in the Miami mainland but a 15-minute drive from South Beach, was colonized by winged women on swings, fancy food trucks, and makeup artists and hairstylists offering guests the flashy eyeshadow and braids that you might find on Rihanna. Attendees traded traditional carnival masks and costumes for their own extravagant displays of tropical swagger, including sky-high espadrille wedges and every print under the sun, literally. Finally, the highlight of the day was a salsa performance featuring gyrating dancers in beaded bathing suits and feathered crowns, who were followed around by a whizzing camera drone. Those hoping for a more authentic carnival experience would have found it nearby at the Pérez Art Museum exhibit of the Dominican artist Firelei Báez, who deals with black culture and Caribbean themes in his work.
Agdal, Iman, and Ciara had all never experienced a carnival of any kind before, and seemed utterly disinterested when informed of the event's cultural significance. But what about indulging in guilty pleasures? Everyone can get behind that.
"After fashion week I like to have a burger and a beer,” said Agdal, who as a devotee of Tone House, one of New York’s most challenging workout classes, can easily afford such indulgences when she pleases. Iman, who ran out of clothes and was dressed in something she bought from her hotel lobby, said she wears sweatpants when no one is watching. Gabrielle Union was also around, but as the wife of Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, presumably, she didn't travel far.
Ciara, however, is not one to over-indulge. She is one of the most poised celebrities working, offering catnip quotes to red carpet interviewers that in the moment sound like gold – she is also one of the friendliest celebrities – but that actually reveal little upon closer inspection. For example, she admitted to not drinking water before red carpet events, like at the Grammys, where she wore a fitted dress with a slit up to her hipbone. Instead, she offered her guilty pleasure is food, bread in particular.
Even during fashion week, where she performed at a party for Keds and attended the Coach and Polo Ralph Lauren shows, she maintains a schedule of calculated moderation. “If you do too much, you feel like you’re working, rather than enjoying fashion,” she said. In other words, not even a carnival where the Champagne was flowing around the clock was going to throw her off her game.
The only question that threw her was this: “Do you ever go to events with the intent to blend in with the crowd? To just enjoy yourself?” She immediately geared up for a positive response, but came up short. She whipped around to her assistants, repeating the question. They didn’t have an answer either.
Post-fashion week, times like these can be hard to remember.