Portrait of actresses Jennifer Saunders (left) and Joanna Lumley smoking cigarettes on the set of the television sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, May 21st 1993. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

As Art Basel celebrates its 20th year in Miami Beach, GRAZIA USA looks back at defining anniversaries in music, culture, fashion and TV. Learn how Thriller changed the course of music history, do a deep dive into Audrey Hepburn’s connection with the house of Givenchy, raise a glass for Absolutely Fabulous and more.

Art Basel Miami Beach Begins 20 Years Ago

Art Deco District, Miami Beach shows colorful retro neon signs with palm trees and clouds on beach, Florida. (Photo by: Visions of America/Joseph Sohm/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In 1970, three Swiss gallerists, Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt, came together to form an international art fair in Bassel, Switzerland to provide a platform for creators and gallerists to show their work and connect the community. Their efforts were immediately successful from the start. The first year featured 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries and garnered 16,000 visitors. By the early 2000s, they were ready to expand, and had their sights set on Miami.

Thanks to prominent art collectors in the Miami scene, including Norman Braman, Mera and Don Rubell, Martin Margulies and Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz, Art Basel Miami Beach was the first offshoot of the Swiss-based event. It kicked off in 2002 with 30,000 visitors in attendance to view 160 galleries on display.

20 years later, Art Basel Miami attracts 80,000 visitors and for its big anniversary, it will showcase 283 galleries, with 26 first-time participants. The sunny scene in Miami mixes art with celebrity, where star-studded parties are just as plentiful as the exhibitions. While Art Basel Miami Beach is located within the Miami Beach Convention Center, festivities can be found all over town, after the city created Miami Art Week to coincide with Basel.

Art Basel has since expanded to Hong Kong and just debuted in Paris earlier this fall.

Absolutely Fabulous Premieres 30 Years Ago

Portrait of actresses Jennifer Saunders (left) and Joanna Lumley smoking cigarettes on the set of the television sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, May 21st 1993. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

Pop open a bottle of Bollinger and raise a toast the odd-ball British comedy Ab Fab’s 30th anniversary! The delightfully delirious BBC sitcom debuted on Nov. 12, 1992, featuring the two horribly unlikeable, yet, highly beloved BFFs, Eddie and Patsy, played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

The series followed the drunken — and hilarious — antics of the duo as they navigated the London fashion scene from their high-profile jobs. Eddie ran her own PR film and Patsy worked at a fashion magazine, but for the two, it was always champagne o’clock, no matter the occasion. The pair inevitably got themselves into outrageous antics and usually needed rescued by Eddie’s responsible and strait-laced daughter, Saffron (played by Julia Sawalha).

Saunders created the series, which ran for five seasons, with her collaborator Dawn French and won a BAFTA TV Award, an International Emmy, and the hearts of many fans. The quirky comedy somehow made two self-centered, off-kilter, badly-behaved, drug-addled friends, likeable. The cult favorite had such a hold over the years, they teamed up again in 2016 for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, where the dysfunctional antics continued, with a few starry cameos from the likes of Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and Jon Hamm.

Unfortunately, they won’t reprise their role again. Sanders said in 2016, she’s “not doing anything more with Ab Fab. That. Is. It.”

No many how many years pass, the dynamic duo will always inspire fans to be, well, absolutely fabulous, sweetie!

Michael Jackson Releases Thriller 40 Years Ago

UNITED STATES – MARCH 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of Michael JACKSON, Michael Jackson performing on stage, performing Thriller – Bad Tour (Photo by George De Sota (ID 5073478)/Redferns)

It might sound over dramatic to say that one album changed the course of history, but TV and radio were forever altered when the release of Michael Jackson’s sixth solo studio record, Thriller, transformed the racial divide in pop culture.

Before it debuted on Nov. 30, 1982, radio was going through a seismic shift, with more listeners tuning into FM channels focused on specific genres instead of the once-dominate AM stations cranking out mass top 40 hits. It left Black artists excluded from many programs, especially as disco was dying and Black musicians were (many times incorrectly) categorized into that genre. MTV’s presence didn’t help the racial gap. When it launched in 1981, it was first released to homes in white suburbs, and targeted its demographic by only playing videos from white performers.

The first single from Thriller was a duet with Paul McCartney titled “The Girl Is Mine,” a strategic choice and an attempt to get airtime on pop radio stations. When the album dropped three weeks later, it made an unremarkable debut at number 11 on the Billboard charts. The next single, “Billie Jean,” made a more dramatic debut in the ranking, but its video was what made history. For the first time, MTV played a video by a Black artist in heavy rotation on its network.

Next, Jackson released the video for “Beat It,” which was, unsurprisingly, another hit. Finally, on Dec. 2, 1983, the 13-minute-long video for “Thriller” dropped on MTV.

Michael Jackson whilst in London to accept a gold disc for the ‘Thriller’ album, London, 1983. (Photo by Terry Lott/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images)

The album shot to number 1 and spent the most time there (by a solo artist) at 37 weeks. To this day, Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time with $100 million in sales worldwide and has won eight Grammys. All the while, it changed the course of history for Black artists, shifting the demands of listeners on radio stations, and opening the door for other Black performers’ work to be seen and heard by millions.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary, Sony Music and the estate of Michael Jackson will release Thriller 40, with a double-CD set featuring the original line-up, plus never-released tracks that were recorded as Jackson worked on the album.

Funny Face Hits Theaters 65 Years Ago

A poster for Stanley Donen’s 1957 musical ‘Funny Face’ starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

Before Audrey Hepburn would go on to star as the iconic Holly Golightly in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she played another character whose fashions would go down in cinematic history. Just like the little black dress, sunglasses and pearls worn in front of the Tiffany & Co. window, the striking Givenchy creations in her 1957 film Funny Face have stood the test of time and become classic outfits still referenced today.

It marked the first time she wore custom looks from Hubert de Givenchy on screen (she wanted to collaborate with the French designer for Sabrina in 1954 but because of time restraints, Hepburn wore samples from the line instead). The one-of-a-kind designs fit the film’s very fashionable premise.

The story follows Hepburn’s character Jo Stockton’s transformation from a Greenwich Village bookstore clerk to budding fashion model who jets to Paris to pose for photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire) and Quality fashion magazine editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson). Like the stylish characters they play, Dick and Maggie were based on real-life fashion figures. Prescott is said to be loosely based on fashion editors Diana Vreeland or Carmel Snow, while Astaire’s Avery was inspired by famed photographer Richard Avedon, who took actual promotional photos seen in the film.

One can’t think of the gorgeous scenes shot in Paris without picturing Jo modeling a red scarf matching her strapless red Givenchy gown as she glided down the steps of the Louvre. There’s the shot in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel where Jo holds a bundle of balloons in a fit-and-flare black dress with full midi skirt. The boatneck silhouette of Jo’s wedding dress draws similarities to that of Meghan Markle’s when she wed Prince Harry (also designed by the house of Givenchy), and in an outfit recreated almost as much as Golightly’s, the beatnik black turtleneck, cigarette pants and loafers that Jo does a dance number in still looks as chic today as it did in the ‘50s.

Though the film wasn’t a box office smash, the beauty of its production and costuming was praised when it debuted in a review by the New York Times. “It is reasonable to reckon that you won’t see a prettier musical film—or one more extraordinarily stylish—during the balance of this year.”

More than six decades later, that sentiment still rings true.

Hubert de Givenchy Opens His Fashion House 70 Years Ago

Portrait of designer Hubert de Givenchy (1927 – 2018) as he adjusts a hat of his own design, 20th century. (Photo by Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

After working under designers Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli, Hubert de Givenchy created his first collection for his own namesake brand in 1952 and quickly became well regarded — and widely seen — thanks to Audrey Hepburn scooping up pieces to wear in 1954’s Sabrina. Ever since meeting the actress, he designed her most iconic on-screen creations — including the little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s — and forged a friendship so affectionate that they referred to one another as brother and sister.

“It was a kind of marriage,” Givenchy said in 2015 of Hepburn. “Little by little, our friendship grew and with it a confidence in each other. There [was never] any criticism of the other person, no upsets.”

Givenchy designed for many notable stars like Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Wallis Simpson. His mastery of the sack dress and princess-style creations was so great that he started showing a month after the Parisian collections, drawing people back to the city after the traditional fashion week schedule.

British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), wearing a black Hubert de Givenchy dress, holding a cigarette holder in character as Holly Golightly sitting on a stool in a studio portrait, against a white background, for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ location unspecified, 1961. Directed by Blake Edwards, the film is an adaptation of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella. (Photo by Moviepix/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He maintained his influence throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s until he retired in 1995. The house has been led by a slew of talented names in the industry ever since. There was Givenchy’s successor John Galliano, followed by Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Riccardo Tisci, Clare Waight Keller and most recently, Matthew M. Williams who became Givenchy’s creative director in June 2020.

The house is still a magnet for today’s biggest stars, like Beyoncé, Cate Blanchett, and Emma Stone, the latter of which wore the brand when she won her Oscar in 2011. In two of the most publicized weddings in recent history, Kim Kardashian (who wed Kanye West in 2014) and Meghan Markle (who married Prince Harry in 2018), both chose Givenchy for their big days.

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