Longtime friends Tina Paul and Keni Valenti have joined forces to create a Back to the Future Basel experience called "Beyond the Limelight." At the duo's exhibit, opening tomorrow at the Museum of Fashion, visitors will journey back to New York City's nightlife scene from the '80s and '90s through the lens of Paul, and a fashion exhibit curated by Valenti.
Paul has photographed nightlife for more than 30 years, but the 50 photos on display during Miami Art Week will focus mostly on the '80s and '90s with a few from the early 2000's. "We're trying to go for a before-digital thing," says Paul. "The photos will be presented in film. I have volumes and volumes of photos though, but Keni narrowed it down to what inspired him and what designers he wanted to feature."
Valenti, a prominent designer, fashion expert and historian, runs a gallery in Wynwood with rotating shows at the Museum of Fashion. For "Beyond the Limelight," Valenti will feature designer pieces including Jean Paul Gaultier, Emilio Pucci, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Dolce & Gabbana, and Stephen Sprouse. Paul's featured photos are never-before-seen, and will be placed as a backdrop to Valenti's fashion installations.
"Fashion and photography really go hand in hand here," Christopher Rapalo says, founder of Third Dream Media and event coordinator. "The nightlife back then was so different, and it shows in the photos. You'll be able to see how people stood out with their style and self-expression through the photos. And then you'll see the style behind the photos with the fashion at the exhibit. It really all comes together as one."
Paul and Valenti want attendees to feel as if they have walked into a club when visiting the exhibit. The layout is more of an open space, creating a different type of gallery than what the designer usually creates. "When you walk in, you'll notice the walls are pretty full," Paul says. "I want you to come in and say 'wow.' I want people to have that club experience and feel like they're there... or want to be there after seeing the photos and pieces."
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The exhibition gives Paul a sense of nostalgia, and she believes guests will feel the same. "If you were in the clubs during the '80s or '90s, it will take you back and help you remember things you might have forgotten. But for the younger kids who don't have that experience [to draw from], I'm not really sure what they'll feel, but I'm curious to see."
"If you study history, this will definitely be a historic show," Paul adds. "For those who know history, they'll probably be amazed with the photographs. Life was different back then."
History knowledge aside, Paul and Valenti welcome anyone from the public to experience their display of photography and fashion through the years. "What I want to show people is the nightlife community was a real community," concludes Paul. "It was a group of very creative people."
"Beyond the Limelight"
Sponsored by Concrete Beach Brewery and Perrier, the exhibit will be on display from Thursday, December 3, to Saturday, December 12, Museum of Fashion, 2612 NW Second Ave., Miami. From 6 to 10 p.m. Visit thirddream.com; RSVP at miamifashion.eventbrite.com.