Patricia Field has gone south for the winter.
“I know I’ve built my reputation in New York,” she tells Refinery29. “But I’m kind of over the freezing cold. The winters in New York have become increasingly difficult for me to deal with.”
That’s why the costume designer heads to Miami, where she’s owned a beachfront apartment since 1987, every chance she gets — especially when the temperatures start to drop.
“I’m kind of a hybrid snowbird,” Field says. “Thank God I can come down here and feel good. I wear lighter fabrics and a bit more colour. I enjoy Versace in Miami. I like Versace anyway, but you know. I packed Versace jeans and my Cavallis — I like the Italian stuff a lot for down here.”
Every December, Field hosts a fashion show at her Wynwood gallery in tandem with Art Basel Miami. Known as “ARTFASHION,” the event is an homage to the independent artist. Instead of showcasing seasonal collections, Field has opted for a more collaborative and interactive approach.
“When I started this ARTFASHION idea, I wanted to make it like gallery hopping,” she says. “I’ve always looked at fashion and interpreted fashion as an art form. I feel that fashion is a child of art.”
Set against the backdrop of Wynwood’s muraled walls and swaying palm trees, the 2019 show saw the runway transform into a three-dimensional kaleidoscope. Dancers wore bejeweled high-neck bodysuits, accessorized with satin opera gloves and floating light orbs carefully situated around their necks. One model stepped out in a technicolour jumpsuit and a chainlink-and-plastic belt that spelled out “NASTY.” Another model donned a crop top and high-waisted jeans, which are graffitied with hand painted bananas and a message: “She’s the boss.”
“ARTFASHION has been growing, and more and more people know about it,” Field says. “I’m happy with it because it’s healthy, it’s growing, and it supplies a good thing for the artists.”
And, of course, it provides a built-in excuse for the busier-than-ever Field to come to Miami and take advantage of her South Beach ocean view. At the time, she was working on the city’s many film and TV sets, including Miami Rhapsody, the 1995 romcom starring Sarah Jessica Parker and directed by David Frankel (who went on to direct The Devil Wears Prada). Soon after, Parker landed the lead role in Sex and the City, and she recruited Field to costume design. The rest is fashion history.
But when Miami-based production dried up — right around the time when Sex and the City took off — Field was unable to travel to the Florida hotspot as often as she would have liked. “Everything was emanating from New York,” she explains.
It's still tough for her to get to Miami. She’s currently a costume consultant for Younger and designing for the forthcoming Harlem-set series Run the World. She also recently wrapped production on Emily in Paris, the new show from her longtime collaborator Darren Star that stars Lily Collins, and which was filmed entirely in the French capital earlier this year.
“I spent all summer in Paris, and that was a long time I thought,” Field shares. “It was nonstop. I was a little homesick. Not that I don’t love Paris, but I was like, ‘Oh, I want to go home to my dogs and my life.’”
And while that life remains largely concentrated in New York, the magnetic force of Miami never subsides for Field, who lovingly calls it her second city.
“People come here from all over and they’re ready to enjoy themselves,” Field says. “If you walk into Gucci, you’ll get the pistachio coloured loafers. If you walk into Gucci in New York, they’re black. You know what I mean? It totally sums up the mood of the people.”
Miami delivers an “optimistic inspiration” that New York does not, and that sensation is what keeps Field coming back regardless of her schedule or workload.
“Your look changes — you can’t help it, it’s gorgeous, it’s warm,” she explains. “I’m sitting here in my apartment looking at the ocean and palm tree groves. That takes over you, and frankly I love optimism and inject it in my costume design. That’s why I did romantic comedies, because that’s what I really love, and it gave me a chance to do the happy clothes.”