Miami isn’t a town necessarily known for having great men’s retail destinations. Sure, if you’re in the market for that perfect white linen suit and Panama hat for a shuffleboard tournament at the Fontainebleau, then your options are limitless. Tom Ford monkstraps and Visvim? That’s a bit trickier. This past week during Art Basel, I was able to sneak away from the actual art (yes, yes, I actually went to Basel) to visit two of Miami’s premier retail destinations, Base and The Webster.
Return Miami visitors will know Base. It’s been anchored on the tasteful side of touristy Lincoln Road since the 1990s. Originally opened in Antigua in 1989, owner Stephen Giles moved permanently stateside after a series of hurricanes wiped out his island bases (so to speak).
Giles has created a South Beach version of Colette, stocking a selection of publications, from the unknown to the daily paper, as well as a variety of hard-to-find samba, jazz, and dub albums. The majority of the actual menswear is now devoted to adidas SLVR, but the collection of watches, sunglasses, and sneakers remains varied.
The second stop on my rather brief Basel retail swing was to The Webster, on Miami Beach’s main deco drag, Collins Avenue. If Base is Colette-inspired, The Webster is actually Colette. Not exactly because of aesthetic parallels, but because co-owner Milan Vukmirovic launched the schizophrenic Parisian retail giant. Oh, and in his spare time he’s the creative director of Trussardi 1911 and editor-in-chief of L’Officiel Hommes.
The Webster reflects Vukmirovic’s growth as a person. Colette’s hipster knick-knacks have matured into Tom Ford’s velvet bow ties. The first floor is mainly devoted to Caviar Kaspia, an outpost of the famous Parisian restaurant, while the second floor houses the store’s Euro-focused luxury lines (plus nearly an entire wing devoted to Mr. Ford’s pricey pieces).
One thing they don’t allow? Photos. One thing they didn’t count on? Me pretending to text but actually taking pictures. Thank you, iPhone.