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Erika Cohen

Co-Founder; Alchemist. Miami

With the exception of the handful of days (and late nights... and early mornings...) that make up Art Basel, as much as we love Miami, it's not exactly known for being the most sartorially, ahem, inspired of cities. We mean, unless your idea of cutting-edge fashion is neon dental floss bikinis and plumeria-printed board shorts. That said, there are a few select residents kicking around who are steadfast in their devotion to turning our admittedly narrow-minded notion of South Beach frequenters upside down.

For starters, there's Erika Cohen, who, along with her husband Roma, is behind the aptly-named Alchemist, the impossibly-cool avant-garde boutique housed inside an equally cool, Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage. That's one way to say 'take that' to eenie-meenie Spring Breaker bikinis and frat-favored motifs, right? According to Cohen, it turns out that the key to eschewing the city's stereotypical calling cards and creating something subversive is, "...location, location, location. Some would think we blatantly ignored that with our location on level 5 of a parking garage, but with Herzog & de Meuron as the building’s architect, I beg to differ."

It kind of goes without saying, then, that Cohen's closet, which we raided during our stay in Bal Harbour, was similarly forward-minded. Flipping through her wardrobe revealed everything from a triad of oversized Givenchy jerseys and a throwback printed Proenza frock to embellished Marni, rose gold Givenchy and fur-lined Céline Birkenstocks. The same irreverence extends to the duo's home, which was infused with bright, slightly surrealist touches and tchotchkes: a floral Bearbrick, plenty of designer-inspired prints from Craig & Karl and cotton-candy hued Ladurée and Fornasetti candles. Oh, and a pair of Raf Simons' sculptural future-femme Dior pumps and a Rick Owens jacket (the latter was one of the first and only brands—alongside Rodarte and Chrome Hearts—that Alchemist carried when it opened) from his major breakthrough season. Did we mention he's a close friend of the Cohens? And that's to say nothing of the limited-edition Damien Hirst x Olympia Le-Tan clutch (Cohen owns one of just sixteen made). "Olympia made it solely for [our Colette x Alchemist Art Basel] Drive-Thru,” Cohen told us. “We had to get permission from Damien Hirst first and we got the final okay in the nick of time. We sold out on the first day. Thankfully, Le-Tan and Hirst agreed to make a few more. “I made sure to keep one for myself.” In this case, we have to agree that selfishness serves in the name of art and fashion.

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