News & Runway

Closed Set with Julie Bensman: the Making of a Masterpiece

Ambra Medda at Art Basel

So, the title of this column might be a bit exaggerated … but only just a bit. Anyone in a creative profession likely knows the supreme satisfaction that comes from turning a simple, blank piece of paper/canvas/body/stage into an inspired, inspiring final product. That feeling is what initially drew me to writing and publishing, and it’s also the feeling that fuels much of the energy behind Miami Beach’s Art Basel each year, where we lay our scene.

Ambra Medda at Art BaselAmbra Medda, Cofounder of Design Miami, owner of A.M.O., image via Ocean Drive

When she was visiting the New York office this past September, Ocean Drive‘s Editor-in-Chief Suzy Buckley pulled me aside to describe a series of stylized portraits she wanted to shoot during the then-upcoming Art Basel in early December. She envisioned a scenario where we catch high-profile Art Basel attendees in their element: art openings, hotel rooms, before parties, after parties, intimate moments that capture the mood and personality of each person and place. Instantly, I pulled up the e-portfolio of a photographer I knew from her work in a recent Vanity Fair spread: Jen Robbins. Her work speaks for itself, no? I worked out the logistics with her agent, and before long, Jen was on board and the wheels were up (literally). Down to Miami we go…


Lorenzo Martone at Art BaselLorenzo Martone, Power publicist (left) and Brooke Geahan, Founder of an enhanced e-book technology company (right), images via Ocean Drive

I won’t take you through the dirty details involved in contacting each individual, hoping he/she would say "yes" and scheduling dates/times/locations during arguably the most jam-packed, party-slammed, outrageously fun week in Miami each year (not to mention, the clothes! The hair! The makeup! The mood!) Sure, how hard is it to make the likes of Ambra Medda and Lorenzo Martone look amazing? (Editor’s note: Lorenzo did not have ONE bad picture, I kid you not.) But believe me when I say, Ms. Jen Robbins elevated what could have been a tired "party pics" page to a beautiful, stylized collection of portraits that truly brings this month’s issue together. Don’t you agree? 



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Editor-At-Large Julie BensmanThe Fashion Spot’s Editor-at-Large, Julie Bensman, is also the Entertainment Editor for Niche Media, whose titles include Gotham, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and LA Confidential. Closed Set is a collection of her musings on all things fashion, from an editor’s desk to your desktop.