Thursday, December 12, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods – Downtown Miami

Welcome to Part 2 of our series, “#ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods", where Miami locals take us on a journey of their respective neighborhoods and tell us what they love about it, what they hate about it, and why their neighborhood makes them say #ThankYouMiami. Access the rest of the series here.

In this feature, Miami style blogger and fashion ambassador Maya King explores her neighborhood of Downtown Miami. Maya moved to Miami six years ago and loves living here. Her blog, ALaModeMaya, features Miami shopping and fashion events, as well as her personal style (think Halle Berry, Olivia Palermo, Sophia Loren). 

1. What distinguishes Downtown Miami from other Miami neighborhoods? 
Downtown Miami is distinctively different because it is minutes away from anywhere you would want to go in Miami and there is a lot to do close by. Bayfront Park, for example, hosts concerts and events almost every week. Best of all, I never have to drive or fight to park to enjoy a Miami Heat game because I live a few blocks from the American Airlines Arena. And, did I mention that my neighborhood has been the backdrop in music videos for artists like Drake, P. Diddy, Rick Ross, and Pitbull?

Life imitating art. Much like in the music videos filmed here, flocks of mirrored Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces frequent Maya's neighborhood. Photo credit: Maya King

2. What makes Downtown Miami "SO Miami"? 
Definitely the skyline! I still get a special feeling every time I come home and see that beautiful skyline in which I live. Whenever I pick up visitors at the airport and they see it, they say in shock: “Wow! You live here?!"

Maya and her visitors love Miami's mesmerizing skyline. Photo credit: RolloFilm, LLC

3. What do you like least about Downtown Miami?

I am blessed to live here so my only gripe is actually a humble brag. Downtown Miami’s main thoroughfare, Biscayne Boulevard, is a popular location for parades, races, and other events. So, when I’m pulling out of my garage in a hurry, street closures and traffic resulting from these events are not my favorite.

Traffic trade-off. Special events, like last year's Miami Heat parade along Biscayne Boulevard, make it difficult for Maya to drive through Downtown Miami. I say "if you can't beat them, join them"!
Photo credit: Maya King

4. What is the strangest thing you've seen in Downtown Miami? 
I think the metro mover is a Petri dish for strangeness. It is not uncommon to find affluent people in haute couture and business professionals sharing a car with a homeless drug addict that is shouting expletives. Later in the evening, a drunk or three are added to that mix. I'm still waiting for a flash mob to make an appearance...

Where does Miami fit among the Metro Mover stereotypes? Maya is that well put-together professional whose style shows her commitment to success and her career. Photo Credit: Jennifer Sotolongo

5. What about Downtown Miami makes you say #ThankYouMiami? 
#ThankYouMiami for allowing me to regularly walk out of my front door to enjoy free yoga at Bayfront Park; quality time with friends at the oasis by the man-made beach nearby; or a good production at the Olympia Theater two blocks away. No cab needed!

An urban oasis. Nearby favorites like Bayfront Park keep Maya entertained, cultured, and overall happy as a Miami resident. Photo credit: Maya King

Are you an expert on your neighborhood? Share with Miami what makes your neighborhood distinctively different! Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami. You could be featured in an upcoming segment of this feature.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for a Unique and Enviable Style

White-on-white, light and airy fabrics - these are the pillars of my Miami style. But what represents Miami's collective style? Miami is so diverse that it depends on who you ask. Pinpointing a specific Miami style has been as difficult for me as answering "Who is Miami?" concisely. However, this much is clear: Miami has a unique style that is freely adopted by residents, visitors, and even those who appreciate our beautiful city from afar.

Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to interact with fashion industry professionals who call Miami their part-time or full-time home, including Noe Cesar, Fashion Editor for Brickell Magazine and Key Biscayne Magazine, and Tara Atsalis, the Designer and Owner of Taradise Miami, a line of Grecian-inspired jewelery and designs. My most recent encounter was with Lubov Azria, the Chief Creative Officer of BCBG Max Azria Group. I had the opportunity to briefly chat with her this week during American Express's By Invitation Only event where she previewed BCBG's Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection and hosted a private shopping experience at BCBG's Lincoln Road store.

My conversations with individuals like these talented three, as well as my observations during local fashion events, continuously refine my definition of Miami style. For example, during the BCBG runway event, I was convinced that the Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection was especially designed for Miami. The pieces, which consist of light and airy maxi dresses and jumpsuits in all-white or in flower patterns, are bold, sexy, and celebrate the woman's body. 

In my opinion, BCBG's Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection fully embodies the Miami style and, per our conversation, Noe agrees that the piece's various components (i.e. fabric, cut, boldness) are key features of the Miami style. As such, I was surprised to hear Lubov Azria state that she did not design the collection for one city, but for the traveling woman. Her comment, which tempered my initial assumption that the collection was Miami inspired, made me question where Miami's style comes from, what it truly consists of, and how it influences fashion beyond our borders.

In Noe's experience, the outside world is increasingly adopting aspects of Miami's style, like the flower-inspired patterns which are prominently featured in BCBG's Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection. He thinks of Miami as a port with a style of its own that is adopted by others who want to see what the Miami lifestyle is about. He points out that high-profile visitors who are photographed during their visit are a testament to this phenomenon because they are mostly captured in what he envisions as the Miami style. And, although that often means bikinis on the beach, Noe knows Miami has style beyond just the bikini. After all, Miami cannot live on bikinis alone.

Tara associates Miami style with a luxurious island vibe, which is one reason why she left New York to launch Taradise Miami here. While her hand-crafted designs are Grecian-inspired, Miami, like the Greek islands, captures the beauty of the ocean and island living so her designs translate seamlessly. Taradise's gorgeous bracelets and headpieces with their signature "mati" evil eye are primarily white and scream Miami chic. The kimonos come in vibrant colors and look as at home in Star Island as they would in the Greek island of Chios.

My observations over the past year have confirmed my initial suspicion that Miami's style is variable - variable between individuals and variable over time. The constant remains that Miami has a unique style and an enviable style. Check out some of my favorite displays of Miami style below.

Noe Cesar, Fashion Editor of Brickell Magazine and Key Biscayne Magazine, shows us how the fashionable Miami man looks handsome wearing classic pieces in vibrant colors. Noe says "#ThankYouMiami for the boldness of its people who know that it feels good to look good". Photo courtesy of Noe Cesar.
The BCBG Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection featured gorgeous maxi dresses in light fabrics with flower print details. Lubov Azria mentioned before the show that her inspiration was "Kate Moss at Coachella".
My favorite piece from the BCBG Pre-Spring 2014 Runway Collection is this white jump suit with side cut outs. This classic, bold, and sexy piece is a Miami girl's must-have.
This romper from Norka, a local and family-owned boutique, is perfectly equipped to keep you looking fabulous in Miami's warm weather. The piece was part of the boutique's fashion show at the November Fashion Happy Hour.
This white and gold bracelet stack featuring, a Taradise "mati" evil eye bracelet and a wrap leather cuff designed by Noe Cesar, expresses my personal Miami style. Tara Atsalis says "#ThankYouMiami for Miami's fantastic weather and atmosphere".

How do you express your Miami style? What are the staple pieces in your closet? What are some of your go-to local designers and boutiques? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!
© Thank You Miami | Miami Fashion, Food & Lifestyle Blog. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig