Missoni

GENEROUS CALL: “Let’s raise the glass and get the party started!” said a smiling Margherita Missoni, introducing the “Select 1920 Auction” digital event on Tuesday.

Wrapped in a sequined red dress matching her lipstick and spritz cocktail in her hand, the Italian designer was the cohost of the virtual auction that raised $20,000 in the time-span of an aperitivo to benefit the Save Venice organization.

Dedicated to preserving the artistic heritage of Venice, the American nonprofit is well known for its masquerade balls but in sync with the changing times, it tried to create a little extravaganza remotely, partnering with a range of ambassadors of the Italian lifestyle.

Sponsored by Select Aperitivo — a key ingredient in the original Venetian spritz cocktail — to mark its 100th anniversary, the virtual auction featured items donated from personalities and companies such as Missoni herself, Hotel Il Pellicano, Fornasetti, Fiorucci and Alessi, to name a few.

“The auction feels particularly dear to me, as my family nurtures strong ties and long-lasting bonds with the city of Venice,” Missoni said. “Last but not least, as a sign of destiny, this auction features vintage items, which perfectly fit with my mantra: reuse, remix, respect.”

In particular, the designer donated a Missoni striped, knitted lamé dress from her own personal archive that she felt “was quite appropriate because I wore it at the Venice Biennale a couple of years ago.”

The dress donated by Margherita Missoni.

The dress donated by Margherita Missoni.  Courtesy of Select Aperitivo

During the event, seven out of the total 16 lots were presented by Christie’s leading charity auctioneer and global managing director of strategic partnerships Lydia Fenet, all starting at $500 and up to $1,000. These included a picture of the late Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani photographed by her son and Emmy Award-nominated director Francesco Carrozzini, who debuted the documentary “Franca: Chaos and Creation” at the Venice Film Festival in 2016.

“Francesco [Carrozzini] is a very dear friend of mine and I’ve always found this picture tender and moving,” said Missoni, introducing the image portraying Sozzani’s long blonde tresses, which was sold at $1,500.

"Franca" by Francesco Carrozzini.

“Franca” by Francesco Carrozzini.  Francesco Carrozzini

Other arty items ranged from the “Riflessi” image by New York-based artist Melissa McGill to a private, 45-minute live opera performance by Italian artist Laura Baldassari at Atelier Biagetti studio in Milan, while the historic Nardi Venezia jewelry donated the “Mia Nardi” ring in pink gold and sapphire.

But in light of the year spent confined at home, the most pursued entries were experiences and gateways in dreamy Italian destinations, including a trip in the Tuscan countryside donated by Hotel Il Pellicano and comprising a special cooking class as well as an annual membership to boutique travel-planning company Indagare.

“To me, Il Pellicano is hands-down the best hotel in the world. It’s the first place we went after the first lockdown,” commented Missoni, encouraging the audience to raise $5,000 for the package.

The bids escalated with the seventh lot, which sold for the evening’s record amount of $9,000 and offered a luxury getaway in Venice, inclusive of two round-trip business class plane tickets, a stay at the Aman Venice hotel and a private tour of Save Venice’s art restoration sites as well as a trip to the San Cassiano mountain village nestled in the Italian Dolomites.

After the live auction, a silent one kicked off enabling the audience to bid for the remaining items until Nov. 18. Pieces available include a Tod’s bag donated by Olivia Palermo; vintage posters by Fiorucci; limited-edition design pieces by Fornasetti, Salviati, Alessi and Promemoria, and a handmade Venetian mask embellished with sequins, crystals, real ostrich and peacock feathers by historic Ca’ Macana manufacturer, among others.

"Gstaad" by Fornasetti.

“Gstaad” by Fornasetti.  Courtesy of Select Aperitivo

All proceeds “will help benefit more than 30 active art restorations in Venice, including those at Torcello Cathedral and the Italian Synagogue,” explained Save Venice executive director Amy Gross, underscoring that the organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

Founded in response to the floods of 1966, Save Venice has since worked to preserve, protect and promote the art and culture of the city and funded the conservation of more than 550 projects, comprising more than 1,000 individual artworks.

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