Since 2013, our “Women of Style” pictorial has been one of the hallmarks of our September issue, a tribute to the fashion finesse of Miami’s most glamorous females. But as we forge ahead into uncertain territory this autumn, rules and traditions have shifted. What hasn’t changed, however, is that fashion remains the ultimate means of expression. With that in mind, we decided to check in with some of the sartorial stars of past editions to reveal how wardrobe matters and day-to-day life are more intertwined than ever before.
LAUREN GNAZZO FOUNDER, GNAZZO GROUP SANDRA SANTIAGO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EXPERIENCES, MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
Lauren Gnazzo and Sandra Santiago photographed in 2015 at the former Thompson Miami Beach
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being named a woman of style in 2015? LG: I’m still authentically diverse. I like beautiful fabrics, asymmetrical details and eccentric silhouettes, yet I’ll rock a completely opposite minimal look the next day. SS: My style intention remains one of mixing classics with new and relaxed pieces... more tops, comfortable skirts and shorts. My shoe game has visibly changed. I now embrace everything from flats to heels to sneakers, of course.
What is style in 2020 all about? LG: It’s more flexible than ever before. It’s more about attitude and not what you wear. And it’s abundantly clear that the humble sweat pant has finally achieved worldwide fame. SS: For me, it’s about matching our insides to our outsides. The freer we are as human beings, the more we can manifest our comfort level in what we wear.
What are some lessons this year taught you? LG: Resilience, slowing down and our shared history as Americans, lessons I hope stick with me for the rest of my life. SS: To appreciate the little things in life and to be thankful for everything.
How has your life changed since 2015?
LG: Professionally, I have my own PR, events and marketing agency, and I’ve established strong and loyal relationships with amazing clients in everything from high-end fashion to publishing. Personally, I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of flexibility.
SS: I am now a juggler! A career woman, a mother, a housewife, a teacher... and I’ve taken up cycling, which is food for the body and soul, my happy time.
What’s your hope for the future? LG: I look forward to seeing Miami bounce back with even more resilience than before. SS: That we never forget this time and become more loving and understanding of our neighbors.
Grace Under Pressure
GUERDY ABRAIRA event stylist
Guerdy Abraira photographed in 2018 at the Eden Roc Miami Beach
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being featured as a woman of style in 2018? I’ve learned to embrace myself just as I am; no makeup, no frills, just me!
What is style in 2020 all about? Self-expression and self-representation. I say: Dress how you want to be addressed. And less is definitely more.
What’s exciting about your work these days? Lots of amazing things are happening. I rebranded my company with a new look, and I’ve added a branch dedicated to microweddings, a pivot that has allowed me to still coordinate and design smaller affairs with the charm and grace of larger productions.
What’s something you never expected during this pandemic? To be so calm and patient in the full-time presence of my all-boy household.
What is your hope for the future? Universal acceptance of everyone just as they are.
KAREN QUINONES fashion retailer
Karen Quinones photographed in 2016 at the 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being featured as a woman of style in 2016? My style remains the same: classic with a twist. Why change what already works?
What is style in 2020 all about? Comfort, simplicity and safety. I never thought that face coverings by Sirissima would become my biggest sellers, but customers love them.
How have things at your En Avance boutique changed since 2016? For our 25th anniversary in 2018, I opened a collaborative concept in Paradise Plaza in the Design District with Maison Francis Kurkdjian, the renowned luxury perfumer. Our collaboration is their only free-standing store in all of the United States.
How has your life been altered these days? I never imagined I would have to close my physical store and work from my garden and deal with a barrage of problems for three months. Then again, I also never imagined I’d be baking Martha Stewart’s skillet cookies during the lockdown. I’ve gained some inches, but have enjoyed every bite.
What’s your hope for the future? I miss the personal interactions of the retail experience, and I want the drinks and conversations to return.
I want shopping to be fun again.
KIM CACERES Fashion, beauty & lifestyle journalist
Kim Caceres photographed in 2017 at the Miami Beach EDITION
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being featured as a woman of style in 2017? They have remained pretty much the same. I still believe that no matter what you wear, your personality transcends your clothes, and that will never change.
What is style in 2020 all about? Simplicity in the form of humble jeans, wide-leg pants and cotton tees, which we are seeing on almost everybody, influencers or not. The key is how we choose to adapt those pieces and make them our own.
What has this year taught you? That life is ephemeral... that I have to be more flexible and to enjoy the simple things that make me happy: meditating, playing the piano and watching Mary Poppins with my children in bed a bazillion times.
What’s your new outlook on life? Opening my eyes and really seeing those people who are worth investing my time and attention in. I never expected to surrender to uncertainty, but here we are.
What’s your hope for the future? That we come out of this with true realization, and that as style becomes a focal point in our lives again, we choose garments that don’t end up polluting our planet.
TARA SOLOMON Founder & co-principal, TARA Ink
Tara Solomon photographed in 2013 at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being featured as a woman of style in 2013? I still wear a good sheath dress and, thanks to Suzy Buckley Woodward, whimsical fascinators. My professional day drag has always been curve-hugging dresses and stilettos with bold accessories, but I am less formal these days... and I even wear flats.
What is style in 2020 all about? Quarantine couture: hoodies, joggers, track suits, matching sports bras and lots of fashion masks. To me, style still means adding a little glam to every outfit. And leopard-print everything!
What has this year taught you? To be less wasteful. We’ve all lost so much lately and it’s not over. I’ve learned to value family, health and good friends as never before and to squeeze the most out of every single day.
What’s something you never expected during the pandemic? That I’d be making homemade soups, doing my own nails and wearing track suits.
What’s your hope for the future? A healing of the world, both physically and spiritually.
LESLEY GRIFFITH FASHION RETAILER & WELLNESS ENTREPRENEUR ALEXA WOLMAN ATTORNEY & PHILANTHROPIST
Lesley Griffith and Alexa Wolman photographed in 2015 at the former Thompson Miami Beach
How have your fashion sensibilities evolved since being featured as a woman of style in 2015? LG: I’ve stayed consistent. I have to be comfortable, but I love beautiful materials and luxury workmanship. AW: I still like things that are unusual and often one-of-a-kind, but now I’m also factoring in comfort, which is a great departure from my former motto that you have to suffer for fashion.
What is style in 2020 all about? LG: For me, it’s been realizing that style is not only about what you wear, but how it makes you feel your most beautiful when everything else comes apart. And masks! I just bought a gorgeous python one to match my Bottega Veneta bag. AW: Finding inspiration in simple things and feeling comfortable in your own skin, and being the best version of yourself. And I’m much more into statement necklaces and earrings... because of all those Zoom calls.
What have been the biggest changes in your life professionally and personally lately? LG: In addition to operating The Griffin, my accessories boutique in the Grove, I’m currently collaborating on a wellness project, and that’s been a great distraction. AW: I have transformed into a working-from-home mom with varying degrees of success, and I’ve also become much more concerned with investing and doing good with whatever free time I have.
What’s your new normal outlook on fashion? LG: It’s important to adjust to these new times, but I still love to open a magazine and see a beautiful spread or put together a chic outfit even if I’m just running to the grocery store. AW: Being concerned with anything aesthetic when so many are suffering may seem shallow, but, at the same time, if sartorial things are a source of pleasure for me, why not enjoy it? It’s important to find inspiration and beauty wherever you can.
What has this year taught you? LG: To expect the unexpected and go back to the things that we’re familiar with, the classics. I’ve always been a collector of vintage beauties, and I now feel they’re more relevant than ever. AW: For me, it’s how pragmatic I can be. That was a pleasant surprise.
What have you discovered about life and style during these new normal times? LG: That we can’t control what happens in the world, but we can control our personal style. I still wake up every day and use style to create my frame of mind.
What is your hope for the future? AW: The future is a myth. This year has pulled into sharp focus the innate truth that all we have is the present.
Photography by: Nick Garcia