Christian Dior and Marie-Louise Bousquet at the ball in 1951

DIOR’S BALL TO REMEMBER: Dior and the Venetian Heritage Foundation will host a charity dinner and a masked ball on May 11, coinciding with the opening of the Biennale in Venice. Guests will be invited to attend wearing costumes matching the theme of the ball, which is dedicated to 18th-century Venetian artist Giambattista Tiepolo.

The “Tiepolo Ball” marks the Venetian Heritage Foundation’s 20th anniversary and will be held at the Baroque 17th-century Palazzo Labia in Venice —brimming with masterpieces by Tiepolo, and the same location where the “Bal Oriental” was held on Sept. 3, 1951. Dubbed the “ball of the century,” it was hosted by art collector and interior decorator Charles de Beistegui, at the time the owner of the palace, and attended by some 1,000 guests, including Christian Dior, Salvador Dalí and Orson Welles.

In his autobiography, Dior described that evening as “the most beautiful” he had ever seen and that he “would ever see” and the event “a true work of art.” In addition to creating a costume for Dalí, Dior designed ballgowns for other guests and, in particular, French socialite and Harper’s Bazaar editor Daisy Fellowes. Dressed as “the Queen of Africa,” Fellowes was photographed by Cecil Beaton in front of the Tiepolo fresco in the palazzo celebrating Anthony and Cleopatra, in an iconic portrait that ran in Vogue and made history.

In addition to Venetian Heritage chairman Peter Marino, Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri and chairman and chief executive officer Pietro Beccari, expected guests include Karlie Kloss; Sienna Miller; Dasha Zhukova; Cindy Sherman, and Francesca Amfitheatrof, among others.

Sir Anish Kapoor, Georg Baselitz, Vik Muniz and Edmund de Waal donated art pieces for the auction. There will also be a performance, the details of which are still under wraps.

Proceeds from the event will finance the restoration of the monumental staircase by architect Mauro Codussi at the 13th-century Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista and of the Tiepolo frescoes “Castigo dei Serpenti [Snakes’ Punishment]” at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice, in memory of the founder of Venetian Heritage, Lawrence Lovett.


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