For the past 10 years, pasty, pale New Yorkers and other journalists both local and from around the globe would flock to The Raleigh in Miami Beach every July to gawk at models, gulp free booze and snag swag bags stuffed with everything from Make Up For Ever waterproof eyeliners to Havaianas flip-flops to free cans of Arizona Iced Tea. In the earlier years, the gift bags Mercedes-Benz gave out were stellar packed with Cuban coffee, leather journals, perfume, makeup and other cool accessories. Eventually, Mercedes stopped giving bags at all. Models would dissect M&Ms for lunch in the lobby of The Raleigh between shows while stylists, buyers, Miami socialites, designer wannabes and trolls who insisted they were “on the list” but weren’t flushed through the hotel in a never ending hustle.
I have been attending this sweaty, style-soaked event since it started in Miami Beach around 2004. Over the years, I watched the A-listers in the audience shift further down the alphabet and the shows became less about the fashion and more about being seen in the front row and stealing gift bags from the seats you weren’t actually assigned to. Everyone from the Kardashians and Scott Disick to Maria Menounos and Chrissy Teigen attended the event over the years. And designers such as Red Carter, Mara Hoffman and Luli Fama showed their swimwear collections alongside brands such as True Religion, Poko Pano and even Ed Hardy. Yes, Ed Hardy.
The New Yorkers would complain how “nothing runs efficiently in Miami” while roasting in the sun wearing way to much black and trying incessantly not to fall too much in love with the sea or sand. The shows seemed less organized as the years went on. Either the lists got longer or my patience got shorter. There was never a shortage of security goons who had no problem making everyone feel like they were disposable. Checking in for the shows became a hellish process where when one show ended and you were already inside, you’d have to go back outside again and get checked back in. I understand this was because not everyone had access to every show but if only they could’ve had a separate line for the poor people who actually paid to get in. I always felt the most sorry for them.
Once you actually got inside the tent, you had to get aggressive and pray no one stole your seat or your gift bag. Here is a notorious Miami party crasher and gift bag fiend who goes by the name Shaggy. I captured him in action one year. He always took more than one bag and I’m sure in most cases, he technically wasn’t even entitled to take one bag.
I didn’t attend Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim last year because I was seven months pregnant and I was absolutely positive I would break the flimsy white folding chairs inside the runway show tents. So, I figured, ok, no worries, I’ll just catch the shows next year. Now next year is here and the show has been canceled according to a report on Racked Miami’s website.
MG, which owns and produces SwimWeek and New York Fashion Week, released an email to media stating:
“As part of IMG’s ongoing evolution of its fashion events business, the company is redesigning SWIMWEEKTM to create a modern offering that better reflects the unique needs of its designers and partners. To best execute a change of this scale, IMG today announced it will postpone its July 2015 SWIMWEEK event in Miami, FL until 2016.”