“I’m getting major ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ vibes right now,” a first-timer of Friday night’s Save Venice gala murmured upon entering the Pierre hotel. The Save Venice benefit gala, which generates funds to suppose the Venice art community, is an opulent affair. It’s effectively a masquerade ball with the city’s chicest socialite’s dissembling behind elaborate face masks for the evening. Sofia Sanchez de Betak, Indre Rockefeller, Tabitha Simmons, Jennifer Creel, Caroline Sieber, Jamee Gregory, Toni Garrn, and Lauren Santo Domingo were all in attendance, though, pseudo-disguised, they were difficult to spot.
Creative concealment is key and all kinds of elaborate mask were on display. Zani Gugelmann enlisted makeup artist Alexa Rudolfo for the occasion who applied an intricate lace eye-embellishment to Gugelman’s visage. “Don’t kiss me to hard,” she giggled air-kissing bestie Annelise Peterson Winter. Peterson Winter herself went mask-free for the evening. “To be honest, I just don’t like wearing masks,” she shrugged. “I wore a mask to this one year and it was clunky. I felt like I couldn’t see. It just didn’t work for me. But maybe when I start seeing more wrinkles that I need to cover, that’s when I’ll be reaching for the mask,” she cracked. Linda Fargo also chose a face-exposing look, though she wore quite an elaborate feather-sprouting headpiece, a score from New York Vintage. “I got ready in record time — twenty minutes,” she said.
“I’m going neutral this year,” Fernando Garcia said of his minimalist look, a dinky plastic eye-mask — the kind given out with most children’s Halloween costumes. Garcia was joined by co-designer Laura Kim; the evening was co-sponsored by Oscar de la Renta and jeweler Pomellato. “This was a cause that was very important and very dear to Mr. de la Renta,” Garcia said as guests made their way to their dinner seats. “So it’s important to us to continue his philanthropic legacy.”
After a decadent meal of charcuterie and steak, partygoers skipped a few blocks east to the Save Venice official afterparty at The Pool, where de la Renta ball gowns swished across the dancefloor and Pomellato jewels twinkled as guests boogied ’til the wee hours.