Art, Sustainability & Style Through The Eyes Of A Palm Beach Fashionista

As told to Elizabeth Harper | April 9, 2021 | Style & Beauty Feature

Ambassador of Palm Beach style and local “it” girl Bettina Anderson muses on art, fashion, nature and sustainability.

Bettina Anderson in a Giambattista Valli dress
Giambattista Valli dress

Fashion trends are as variable as the weather in South Florida, but one thing that never changes is the influence art and nature have on design. Inspired by the new currents of artistic and creative energy flowing through my hometown of Palm Beach, I find myself examining the colliding worlds of art, fashion and nature taking place in this very moment.

Juan de Dios Agua Alta linen kimono
Juan de Dios Agua Alta linen kimono in Mustard Monkeys and Cult Gaia shoes sourcedfrom Lola Dré in Jupiter

For 30 years, home for me was located just behind the Four Arts Campus on the Lake along the Intracoastal. The Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden and Four Arts Botanical Gardens were my backyard—a secret oasis with resplendent floral paths, ponds and fountains. When I learned of the Dale Chihuly Fiori installation that recently went on exhibition in the sculpture garden (through May 2), I was eager to visit. “Black and Yellow Herons” and “Red Bulbous Reeds” each demonstrate Chihuly’s proclivity for free-flowing, organic forms that harmonize with nature, a concert we hear playing in fashion too.

Bettina Anderson in front of Dale Chihuly’s “Red Bulbous Reeds” at The Society of the Four Arts
Bettina Anderson in front of Dale Chihuly’s “Red Bulbous Reeds” at The Society of the Four Arts wearing a Maygel Coronel Rosa two-piece from Lola Dré and Lulus Alta suede lace-up heels

Today, the fashion world is cultivating a conversation that’s more important than ever: sustainability. This movement is prompting a new appreciation for nature and encouraging people to care more about their local environment, to support small businesses and to shop locally. Palm Beach is a treasure trove of beautiful boutiques and thoughtfully curated galleries. I love an afternoon spent strolling down Worth Avenue, visiting some of my favorite local stores, like Valentino, AERIN, CJ Laing and newcomer Alvin Valley; then popping into my favorite galleries, including Nicole McGraw Fine Art and DTR Modern. I’m also a regular at The Royal Poinciana Plaza. After dining alfresco at Sant Ambroeus, find me popping into Kirna Zabête, Alice + Olivia and Zimmermann for some shopping before viewing the latest exhibits at Gavlak, Lévy Gorvy, Acquavella Galleries, Sotheby’s Palm Beach and Pace Gallery.

Sensi Studio hat and dress
Sensi Studio hat and dress; jewelry throughout courtesy of Hamilton Jewelers

As a third-generation Palm Beacher, I am thrilled to see the renaissance taking place here—although I do feel a sense of protectiveness for the traditions, culture and natural resources that have made this town charming since the days of Henry Flagler. As Palm Beach continues to bustle and expand with the influx of new residents and businesses, I feel it is becoming increasingly important to foster a sense of connection to and a sense of responsibility for the natural world.

As one of the founders of The Paradise Fund, a young patron of The Everglades Foundation and an active member of both The Society of the Four Arts and the Norton Museum of Art, I am wholly committed to fostering artistic endeavors and environmental awareness. It’s my hope that our community’s shared passion for beautiful art and fashion will incite a new attitude toward nature, one of collaboration versus domination.

For more on Anderson’s fashions and patronages, spot her around town as seen on her lively Instagram, @bettina_anderson.

Photography by: Photography by Nick Male; shot on location at The Society of the Four Arts; hair and makeup by Virgina Le Fay; jewelry courtesy of Hamilton Jewelers