Alan Diaz/Associated Press
Miami club owner Gerry Kelly.
You can still find a lot of carefully trimmed scruffy faces. There are plenty of tight dresses — cleavage too. And looking cool still costs a ton of money. But even while they hold on to many of the key looks of Miami Vice’s TV days, those making the scene in Miami Beach now look much more laid-back than their 1980s counterparts, style watchers say. “There is a huge change in fashion and in the beach in general,” said Gerry Kelly, who has owned several nightclubs on the beach.
“There is a huge emergence of a more casual nightlife,” said Kelly, who like other Miami tastemakers is looking forward to the opening of the new Miami Vice movie July 28.
In the 1980s, people like Gianni Versace, the Italian fashion designer who also worked as a costume designer on the TV series, helped shape the look. Now, you see the influences of hip-hop and rap: Lil’ Kim and Sean (Diddy) Combs make the scene and bring their own version of couture, mixing denim and diamonds.
Philip Michael Thomas, left, and Don Johnson in the 1980s television police drama Miami Vice.
“Tommy Hilfiger brought in a very casual, sport, urban collection, which seemed to dominate the theme,” Kelly said. The urban look changed the dress code at by allowing sneakers, such as a $400 US Rocawear pair, inside the hotspots.
A growing Latino population also has influenced what’s hot: instead of sporting the white jackets and sockless loafers look that Don Johnson popularized as Detective Sonny Crockett, men are more likely to wear linen Guayabera shirts or shorts with flip-flops.
And how about that flashy jewelry? Check out one episode of Miami Vice from 1984, and there’s Philip Michael Thomas, who played Detective Ricardo Tubbs, wearing a gold medallion with an open collared shirt. That’s something you’re not going to see too much of today. “Thank God we’re losing the medallion look,” Kelly said.
But the gold Rolex watches that clutched the wrists of many men on the show, from the drug dealers to the Miami Vice detectives, were a watershed, said Robert Verdi, host of the Style Network’s Fashion Police. “The Rolex ushered in that moment for guys and that sort of luxury.”
That theme stuck. “Guys are showing off their watch. Miami men probably have five to 10 watches. They are as fashionable with watches as they are in clothing,” Kelly said, adding that Kenneth Cole, a bit less expensive than some other brands, is among the favourites.
The Rolex, a Vacheron or diamond-encrusted watches are hot accessories today. In the Miami Vice movie, Crockett, played by Colin Farrell, wears a $95,000 platinum Vacheron Constantin.