style … (cont’d)
Miami Vice / Madonna / Versace / Prince
— Alfred Eisenstadt / Life Magazine (1940)
— Ocean Drive Magazine’s 20th Anniersary Cover
— Unidentified flamingo (pinterest)
Fueled mostly by returning World War II soldiers, Miami Beach experienced one of the country’s most significant, post-depression, boom of population and culture.
There were the soldiers, many who had trained on Miami Beach for their service in the South Pacific.
Throughout the post-war 1940s, Life Magazine assigned a number of tourism, fashion, and lifestyle stories focused on Miami Beach.
Victoria’s Miami Beach Secret
@ the newly renovated FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (November 15, 2008) was hosted by TV-star, model HEIDI KLUM, and featured USHER, singing and dancing with a seemingly endless parade of beautiful women, confidently strutting (selling) their wares, and looking good.
The Marlin Hotel
Al Di Meola
Ford Modeling Agency
1960s — COLLINS AVENUE was the perfect backdrop for the jet-setting lifestyle portrayed on television at the time. Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner were frequent guests, and the entire RAT PACK performed and partied frequently at the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau hotels.
Like all of Florida, Miami Beach experienced a decline in the early 1970s, as the war in Vietnam still raged, while the space program had ground to an abrupt halt.
saw a lull in the Collins Avenue action, but with the arrival of Miami Vice [1980s]
1980s — MIAMI BEACH REVIVAL
When Vice Was Cool
Sept. 28, 1984 — First Miami Vice scene: A pan from the Carlyle Hotel’s neon sign down to a cigarette lighting Sonny Crockett, who’s annoyed with a group of break-dancing, Tropical B-Boys, with the oversized ’80s boom box loud enough to be heard up and down the Carlyle block of Ocean Drive.
November 23, 1981 — Time Magazine describing Miami as a city awash in cocaine, and noting its ranking as “The Murder Capital of the World,” was the biggest blow to South Florida’s tourism industry.
• “Cocaine Cowboys” is a (2006) documentary film, telling the story of a city addicted to, and nearly destroyed by, the Colombian white powder and the shooting war between the Colombian and Cuban gangs fighting for control of Miami.
This is the real-life story that inspired “Miami Vice” and “Scarface.
“Voices” by Russ Ballard
“Voices” (above) As Don Johnson pilots his Chris Craft Stinger 390X
A selection of some of the most memorable Miami Vice songs and scenes.
• “Miami Vice Theme” (opening credits by Jan Hammer)
• “In the Air Tonight” (Phil Collins’ closed the 1984 pilot)
• “Brothers In Arms” (Dire Straits “Edgar Allan Poe”)
• “Smuggler’s Blues” (Glenn Frey “Smuggler’s Blues”)
• “You Belong to The City” (Glenn Frey “Prodigal Son”)
Making Miami “Cool” Again
by DAVE BARRY
I came to Miami in the early ’80s, when the Cocaine Cowboy era was still going strong and Miami’s image — not without reason — was horrible. Time magazine had published its now-famous cover story Paradise Lost, encapsulated by this cheerful sentence: “An epidemic of violent crime, a plague of illicit drugs and a tidal wave of refugees have slammed into South Florida with the destructive power of a hurricane.”
Which was, more or less, true. The bad publicity took its toll: Tourism suffered because people were afraid to visit Miami. I wrote an essay about this for the Herald’s Sunday magazine, Tropic. To promote it, we gave out bumper stickers that said “Come Back To Miami”
Readers loved those bumper stickers. But not everybody down here thought it was funny. Miami’s civic leaders — the politicians, the tourism people, the Chamber of Commerce — hated the jokes and the bad publicity. They were openly jealous of Orlando, with its Mouse-tastic attractions and safe, antiseptic, family-friendly image. Our leaders wanted Miami to be more like that. But Miami wasn’t Orlando, not even close. Bad things kept happening down here.
Then, in 1984, Miami Vice happened. Theoretically, this should have been our civic leaders’ worst nightmare: People were avoiding Miami because they thought it was infested with violent drug criminals, and then along came a hugely popular TV show that presented Miami as a place that was … infested with violent drug criminals!
But here’s the thing: Miami Vice made Miami look cool. Yes, many drug busts went down on the show, and many fatal shots were fired. But they were fired by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas! Who were hot! And who wore designer jackets! Over pastel designer T-shirts! And designer linen pants! And designer Italian loafers WITHOUT SOCKS!
The premise was ridiculous, of course — “undercover” Miami police officers Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs, looking nothing like any undercover police officers anywhere ever, driving around in flashy, insanely expensive cars and boats, emitting melodramatic dialogue and inevitably ending each episode taking down a drug kingpin — in Miami Vice, three out of every four Miami residents were drug kingpins — in a hail of bullets, accompanied by a hip (for the ’80s) music soundtrack.
And guess what? Everybody loved it. Including Miami. Especially Miami. For one thing, the city looked pretty good, in a seedy, tropical, lush, degenerate, Eurotrash supermodel way. It looked cool.
It also looked exciting. Miamians began to see the fact that we weren’t Orlando as a good thing. Orlando was a place where you went to stand in line in the heat with your whining kids for 73 minutes to ride around in spinning teacups for 73 seconds. Miami was a place you went without your kids (maybe even without your spouse) to drink mojitos and smoke cigars (or maybe something else) and stay up all night and have an adventure. If it felt foreign, disorganized, a little out of control, even a little dangerous … hey, that was cool. That was Miami.
At least that was the image. It’s still the essence of our image, 30 years later. Which is why I think Miami owes a debt of gratitude to Miami Vice. There should be a street named after it. And the street signs should be pastel. And somewhere on the street there should be a statue of Rico and Sonny, aiming guns at a kingpin only they can see.
And the Sonny statue should have stubble.
— Dave Barry (Miami Herald Columnist)
1990s — MIAMI BEACH RENAISSANCE
after the [1990s] Renaissance and moving into the New Millennium the Fontainebleau came back in the most glamorous and celebrated way, as seen in the Victoria Secret Video here.
Living And Dying On Ocean Drive
1992 — ITALIAN FASHION ICON GIANNI VERSACE PUT SOUTH BEACH BACK ON THE FASHION MAP.
THE FASHION INDUSTRY’S CLOSEST THING TO A SECOND COMING
VH1-Fashion Television did a South Beach feature story (1992), including an interview with Gianni Versace, and guests at the opening of his Miami Beach boutique in the heart of South Beach, Collins Avenue & 4th Street.
The height of Miami Beach being the “glamorous” media’s center of attention, was when Italian Fashion Icon Gianni Versace bought a $33-million home on Ocean Drive and opened his own “Flagship” Boutique in the heart of South Beach, at Collins Avenue & 4th Street.
Less than four years later, on a quiet Sunday morning, Versace was executed on the steps of his new, Ocean Drive home.
Immediately following, the media (including paparazzi, and purveyors of reality tv, coverage of the nation-wide hunt for Versace’s Killer, became more “ugly” than “glamorous.”
— Associated Press
Versace with Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in Milan (1996).
Five years after making Miami Beach his home, Versace’s Tropical Life came to a horribly violent end in July 1997.
One typical Summer day, after his routine morning of coffee and reading at the NEWS CAFE, a popular breakfast spot just two blocks north of Versace’s home.
It was there, at the coral steps, where Andrew Cunanan, after stalking Versace for thousands of miles, casually and silently walked up from behind and shot Versace in the back of the head.
Cunanan had been obsessed with Versace, and had stalked the designer for months before taking his opportunity to shoot and kill him on Miami Beach.
THE END of the man hunt that had taken investigators and America’s attention on a coast-to-coast and international journey, it was ironic when fugitive Cunanan was found dead (of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head) in a Collins Avenue houseboat, across from the Eden Rock and Fontainebleau hotels, less than two miles north of the designer’s home, where Cunanan walked up calmly and shot the unsuspecting Versace dead.
• back to the beginning
ART DECO WEEKEND
Justice Story: Gianni Versace, slain on the steps of his South Beach castleBy MARA BOVSUN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Andrew Phillip Cunana killed himself after murdering five people in cold-blooded 1997 killing spree. (AP)
Gianni Versace was murdered on the steps of his South Beach home in July 1997 — by Andrew Cunanan, who was found dead eight days later. (Alan Diaz/AP)
This month, a U.S. bankruptcy court approved the auction sale of a mansion
South Beach neighborhood of Miami, Fla.
23,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom Italian palazzo-style home,
featuring a 54-foot swimming hole lined in 24-karat gold tiles,
golden bathroom fixtures.
Despite all the over-the-top luxuries, this building’s claim to fame is murder.
Built in 1930 by an heir to the Standard Oil fortune, it bears the name of the man who was shot on the doorstep — the Versace Mansion.
The famed Italian fashion designer bought the property on Ocean Drive in 1992 spent $33 million sprucing it up, including the construction of the gilded pool. In the process, he revitalized the community of South Beach, luring luminaries like Elton John and Madonna to a place considered to be one of the largest of God’s waiting rooms.
Around 8:30 p.m. on July 15, 1997, Gianni Versace, 50, had taken a stroll to a favorite restaurant. Returning around 9, he was unlocking the wrought iron gate to his mansion when a stranger walked up behind him and shot two bullets into the back of his head.
Gianni Versace poses with supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in Milan in 1996. (P.Castaldi/AP)
Speculation over whether the killing was a mob hit was quickly overshadowed by the possibility that Versace was just one more victim of a California party boy turned spree killer, Andrew Cunanan, 27.
By the time he showed up in Miami, Cunanan was already the subject of a nationwide manhunt,a suspect in four other murders.
A Miami Beach policeman looks over the bloodstained steps of Gianni Versace’s Ocean Drive mansion in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood after the famed designer was shot to death on July 15,1997. (ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Born in 1969, Cunanan was the fourth child of the unhappy union between a Filipino-born U.S. Navy officer and his Italian wife.
Andrew was smart, an IQ of 147, handsome, and the apple of his mother’s eye. Growing up in the farming community of Bonita, Calif., he early on showed a flair for the dramatic and a mature style, showing up in suits when other kids were in shorts and sneakers.
Weapons used by killer Andrew Cunanan. The hammer was found in the Minneapolis apartment of David Madson, who was killed along with Jeffrey Trail. The Taurus .40 caliber handgun was used to kill fashion designer Gianni Versace and then Cunanan himself. (Minneapolis Police/AP; Miami Beach Police Dept./Reuters)
Cunanan’s aspirations to fit into the world of wealth and privilege around him collapsed when his father, who had left the Navy to become a stockbroker, fled the United States and his family in 1988.
The boy put his talent for making up tall tales to good use, perfecting the role of trust-fund baby. Friends called him the “man of a million masks” and, long before he held a gun to Versace’s head, they noticed there was always a hint of danger about him, wrote Maureen Orth in her 2000 book on the case, “Vulgar Favors.”
Jeff Trail (left), 28, and David Madson, 33, were former flames and victims of Cunanan. (AP)
Eventually the handsome youth slipped into San Diego’s gay party scene, making money as a drug dealer and gigolo for wealthy, closeted older men. These roles gave him access to credit cards, cash and celebrities.
In 1996, Cunanan suffered blows to his wallet and his heart. His status as boy toy for a very rich elderly man ended, as did romantic relationships with two young men, David Madson, 33, and Jeff Trail, 28. Both boyfriends left San Diego for work in Minneapolis that year.
Chicago developer Lee Miglin (left), 72, with his wife, Marilyn, and New Jersey caretaker William Reese (right). Both men were victims of Andrew Cunanan. (John Reilly/AP; AP)
Left behind, Cunanan failed in other romances, took more drugs, watched tons of porn, got fat, and drifted.
His road trip of death started in late April 1997, with a dinner for friends in San Diego. He had a one-way ticket to Minneapolis, where he said he was going to take care of some business.
Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace poses in the front of the dining room in his South Beach Miami, Fla., residence in this April 27, 1996 file photo. Versace was killed outside his oceanfront villa, shot twice in the back of the head at point-blank range. (John Riley/Listin Diario via AP)
Once there, he convinced his two old flames to meet at Madson’s apartment. The meeting ended with Trail dead, his skull crushed by Cunanan with a claw hammer. Madson, who was in the apartment at the time of the killing, helped conceal the body in a Persian rug. The two fled together, but Madson did not make it far. Cunanan shot him in the head 50 miles out of the city.
Next to die was a wealthy Chicago realtor, Lee Miglin, 72. On May 3, Miglin was alone in the home he shared with his wife, who had gone out of town. Somehow, Cunanan forced Miglin into the garage, where he wrapped his face with duct tape, beat him and stabbed him in the chest with a pair of pruning shears. Death did not come until Cunanan cut his throat with a hacksaw.
Police examine the crime scene at the palatial villa that was home to fashion designer Gianni Versace before he was gunned down on its front steps (at lower right). The home is now going up for auction, with bids starting at $25 million. (Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald via AP)
All that violence must have worked up an appetite, because after the murder, the killer calmly entered the Miglin home and helped himself to a sandwich. He stayed the night, sleeping in his victim’s bed before taking off the next morning in Miglin’s Lexus.
Cunanan struck again at a cemetery in Pennsville, N.J. He murdered caretaker William Reese, 45, and took off in the dead man’s pickup.
Gianni Versace and supermodel Naomi Campbell in 1995. (Mitchell Gerber/Corbis)
Although the FBI was on his tail, Cunanan seemed to vanish into thin air. The truth was he had landed in Miami, where he frolicked in the sun, sand and gay nightclubs without catching the eye of the law until the evening of July 15, when he killed Versace.
Eight days later, Cunanan shot himself in a luxury houseboat owned by a German millionaire who was on vacation in Las Vegas.
Police investigate a houseboat in Miami early July 24, 1997 after SWAT teams discovered that serial killer Andrew Cunanan had committed suicide. Cunanan’s body was wheeled out (inset) of the home by Dade County Coroner’s Office technicians. (HANS DERYK/AP; Colin Braley/Reuters)
Afterward, there would be unanswered questions about Cunanan’s motives, recriminations over how law enforcement missed him, a media circus and tremendous sadness over the designer’s death.
But some saw a silver lining. The house, one resident told reporters, was likely to become Miami’s “Strawberry Fields.” And for years, tourists flocked there to pose for pictures on the spot where the designer died.
Three years after the shooting, the property was sold and turned into a $4,000-a-night hotel. It is scheduled to go on the auction block on Sept. 17, with bids starting at $25 million.