Last night’s opening fete for the Miami Beach Art Photo Expo: In Fashion '07 was a mostly subdued affair, with a soigné crowd sipping free vodka tonics and lulled into quiet admiration by the burbling sounds of the Surfcomber hotel’s pool. Its long, blue expanse, capped by a waterfall, served as the dramatic visual centerpiece for the microfair’s airy white tent, with a few rows of large-format photos snaking up either side.
The attendees ranged in age from mid-twenties to sixties, and were all clad in similar minimalist-but-romantic clobber: Think lots of puff sleeves, ruching, and thin suspender/pants combos. Ruffle-front shirts, even for some of the younger men. And it was a heavily monochromatic affair, all blacks, whites, and creams, with maybe a splash of red if suitably muted by more black.
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As for the photography itself, it was a visually arresting, best-of type array, with plenty of names and images instantly recognizeable to those who possibly read too many magazines. While some of the images were straight fashion editorial, many veered towards the abstract, on one hand, or towards the documentary, on another. Small crowds continually gathered in front of Jean-Pierre Klazem’s portraits of first ladies, featuring stark, slightly unreal-looking portraits of Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, and Barbara Bush. Thierry Mugler’s four or five works were largely architectural, while Serge Lutens’ uber-cool pieces were high-contrast, slightly goth and Art Nouveau.
Also, of course, represented was fashion photography’s most recognizeable household name, David LaChappelle. On view here were his portrait of the singer Shakira, nestled in the jaws of a giant Venus fly trap, as well as his high-gloss look at a writhing Giselle Bündchen for the cover of the now-defunct Face magazine. And just around the corner, the image that adorns thousands of Myspace profiles of the stylishly profligate: that of the inimitable, platinum-blonde transgender superstar Amanda Lepore, hunched over lines of diamonds racked up as if they were disco dust. Très Miami. – Arielle Castillo