Venice may be sinking three-quarters of an inch every year, but the mood Friday night at the Metropolitan Club was far from somber. Those who love the crumbling city — and those who love a party — pulled out their carnival masks and untrunked all their Silk Road finery for Save Venice’s Marco Polo Masquerade Ball.
“When I was first on the committee,” said co-chair Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, “New York was in a depression and you couldn’t get people into fancy clothes. Now people are rich and they want to dress up.”
The crowd made every effort to drum up Marco Polo’s ports of call. Men donned Venetian velvets and brocades, elaborate Middle Eastern robes and, occasionally, hodgepodges that seemed to suggest the Kubla Khan lunching at La Goulue. Women came as 14th-century Italian countesses, Mandarin concubines, Cleopatras and Harem girls — and everyone kept her mask on until dinner.
“It’s very ‘Eyes Wide Shut,”‘ said Jill Kopelman, “minus the scientology.”