By Tom Austin
August 12, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of Bal Harbour Shops

This year, the Bal Harbour Shops—the upscale, open-air shopping center in the Miami Beach suburb of Bal Harbour—is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. It opened with an FAO Schwartz and Martha’s in 1965, and will mark this milestone with several more debuts. In the fall, the Italian fashion house Ermanno Scervino is opening its first U.S. store there, and the French boutique Goyard will soon join the fray. Stephen Starr, of Makoto at the Bal Harbour Shops, is opening a French concept restaurant at the mall this season, too.

To really commemorate the anniversary, though, the Bal Harbour Shops is celebrating the link between fashion and film with a movie festival, as well as putting on several pieces of arts programming. It all falls under an ongoing experimental series called Fashion Project BHS, running in a dedicated space at the shopping center.

Bal Harbour Shops brought in Cathy Leff (formerly director of the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, library and research center) and London-based fashion curator and writer Judith Clark (responsible for other Fashion Project exhibitions with pieces by Elsa Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen, among others) to present the program.

Starting August 15 and running until September 30, Fashion Project will stage “Dressing Down the Movies: Nat Chediak on Fashion,” a free, six-week-long film festival. Programming includes such classics as Top Hat, The Women, Cover Girl, and Bonnie and Clyde. Chediak is working with the Coral Gables Art Cinema on the festival, as well as designer Tui Pranich of Tui Lifestyle, responsible for creating a luxurious on-site screening room. Books & Books, which has an outpost at the Bal Harbour Shops, will sell fashion-related tomes during the festival, too.

From October 8 through November 16, Clark will present FP03: The Past, an exhibition examining fashion in the first half of the 20th Century. FP04: The Anniversary, on view from November 23 to January 31, 2016, will look at fashion from 1965 to the present—mirroring Bal Harbour Shops’ own lifespan.

Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin.