Citrus-Flavored Graffiti

wynwood3

Back when I was still living in Miami, there wasn’t much civic pride in the local art scene. “Culture” was limited to the city ballet and J. Lo’s frequent appearances on South Beach. In the decade that’s followed, Miami’s undergone a major transformation, becoming an international hub for creativity, entrepreneurship and design.

Nowhere is this turnaround more evident than in the Wynwood Art District.

Dress: Dolce & Gabbana | Velvet Blazer: Agnes B. (Consignment) | Handbag: Dolce & Gabbana | Sandals: Jimmy Choo
Dress: Dolce & Gabbana | Velvet Blazer: Agnes B. (Consignment) | Handbag: Dolce & Gabbana | Sandals: Jimmy Choo

Before its recent renaissance, Wynwood was a stretch of dilapidated warehouses — a mere husk of commerce. Now, these gutted buildings have been transformed into juice bars, galleries, boutiques and art installation. The rebirth can be attributed to one thing: graffiti.

Thanks to the hundreds of graffiti artists who have contributed their talents, Wynwood is now a dazzling display of eclectic street art. Hundreds of tourists now swarm the area — and I joined them over the weekend.

The blazer was altered to create a ribbon detail on the back.
The blazer was altered to create a ribbon detail on the back.

I wanted to echo Wynwood’s new energy with a colorful look of my own, and this Dolce & Gabbana dress fit the ambiance perfectly. I paired the dress with a velvet blazer, which had its own reinvention: The jacket’s sash was altered to create a ribbon detail on the back panel.

Orange on orange.
Orange on orange.

If we’re talking about reinvention, we may as well discuss re-using, since I also wore my wedding sandals with this dress. I was married at a gallery in Wynwood back in May, so it seemed appropriate.

Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Every gutted building is now experiencing a new life as a canvas, a showcase, a museum. During my visit, tourists were craning for better views atop a double-decker bus. (I NEVER thought I would see a tourist bus in Miami, period.)

Wynwood is Miami's version of Brooklyn.
Wynwood is Miami’s version of Brooklyn.

Wynwood’s been officially accepted in the international arts community, thanks to its important role in the satellite shows connected to Art Basel Miami Beach. The uber-festival attracts thousands of arts luminaries, as well as style scions — proof that fashion and art are indelibly intertwined.

A cross-hatched elephant/octopus hybrid.
A cross-hatched elephant/octopus hybrid.

I often hear people say, “Things don’t change.” It’s not only cynical, it’s simply untrue. People can change, and so can places. Wynwood is just one example, and there are plenty more.

With the new year coming, it’s helpful to know that change is possible — no matter how long it takes.

Graffiti -- or critique on the fashion industry?
Graffiti — or critique on the fashion industry?