“I get to be bitchy!”
Ah, the sweet relief of a masquerade ball. Disguises of the spectacular (and lackluster) congregated at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan Friday evening for the annual Save Venice ball, which began with a swarm of photo-snapping during the cocktail hour. It would appear there is no selfie bait quite like freshly glued eyelash extensions peeking through a black lacy mask.
Hosted by Lauren Santo Domingo, the event drew the likes of Poppy Delevingne, Jessica Hart, Prabal Gurung, Tabitha Simmons, Fernando Garcia, Wes Gordon, Harry Brant, Wendi Deng Murdoch, Alex and Eliza Bolen, and Ellen Von Unwerth for cocktails, dinner and dancing.
“For me, getting to wear a mask is an excuse to wear a mask of makeup that I wouldn’t normally be able to wear in polite society, because people would look at me,” Brant said, sporting a glaze of burgundy eye makeup in place of a physical mask. “If I walked down the street in this [makeup], people would look at me like I’m a crazy person. But here it’s ok – it’s like Halloween for me. A night where I can just really be free.”
“We love Venice – Eliza and I finished our honeymoon in Venice,” said Alex Bolen during the cocktail hour. “I was actually in Venice two weeks ago with our kids at the start of spring break.”
Hart, normally on hand for hosting duties, had the night off this year. “I’ve yet to be able to get to Venice to see what’s been going on – Lauren’s invited me many times,” she said. She also appeared as equally confused as some guests as to what the evening benefitted. “I’ve heard there’s been a church restored, which I think is awesome.” (For the record, the organization works to preserve the artistic heritage of the Italian city. But the evening also makes for a pretty good photo opp.)
Her take on the theme, which was “Dangerous Beauty,” resulted in a jagged red-and-black butterfly-shaped mask. “I thought a cut up red glass mask had a little danger element,” she said.
“Mask first, dress second,” her date, Chantelle Waters, chimed in.
Garcia was fresh off a flight from Italy. “I was working on the new collections for Monse and Oscar,” he said. “I was close to Venice, I was a couple hours away from Venice – we develop Monse shoes in Venice. The Guggenheim Museum [is a favorite] because of how tasteful the art is there.”
He was one of a few who went sans mask – though he had an excuse to back it up. “This is my new mask,” he said, pointing to his pair of glasses, a recent addition. “I’m getting used to my new mask. When I put them on I was like ‘new world.’”
As caprese salads were presented before dinner guests, a strong scent crept around the outskirts of the ballroom. “I think someone is smoking marijuana,” a French financier observed, with a tinge of jealousy. “We should all have marijuana and then this would be a party, no?”