Dr. Michael Hall, a plastic surgeon in Miami Beach, said that an age of excess in the industry had come to an end, mirroring wider society. “When it comes to plastic surgery, people are now using more common sense. They don’t want radical procedures,” he said.
But while full-on surgical operations might be falling, the number of non-surgical cosmetic procedures is steady or rising. Many plastic surgeons say there has merely been a shift in taste and treatment. Non-surgical operations, such as Botox, lip injections or lasering, are cheaper and becoming more effective. “Women are looking for non-invasive procedures,” said Hall.
Hall put it another way, pointing out that some human emotions and desires are both recession-proof and fashion-proof: “There is no lack of vanity. There is just a little more hesitation.”
“Miami has always been a place where people have run to reinvent themselves. It is a place of escape,” explains Dr Michael Hall, who has turned the city’s desire for reinvention into a very lucrative business. Hall runs the Hall Longevity Clinic, specialising in laser treatments, Botox and myriad other ways that the denizens of Miami can fight off the march of time.
“I call it the Miami smile,” he says of people living here. “You get the bright light, the bikinis and the good-looking people in the streets. It is sexy.” Hall sits in his doctor’s surgery wearing a pair of flip-flops and his shirt split open to the navel to reveal a muscular chest. He never opens his surgery before 11am and he spends evenings at the bars of top Miami Beach hotels, mingling with celebrities. A bottle of champagne is chilled in his medicine fridge alongside vials of growth hormone.
The world Hall services is one of brazen excess in a city that has become one of the top playgrounds in the world for the ultra-rich. It is a place of super yachts, fast cars and excessive parties, all fuelled by either Saudi petro-dollars or South American narco-dollars. “I don’t really know what ‘over the top’ means any more. It is Disneyland for the rich,” Hall says.