Midway through a Google chat at around 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon, The Observer caught wind of the Save Venice gala, and that it would be happening that very night – an illustrious masquerade that was “un-missable,” at least in the parlance of our chat companion.
Donning our tuxedo, we rushed out the door and picked up the cheapest harlequin mask we could find at Ricky’s – we had been told the event was mask-mandatory, a remarkable understatement considering the extravagance of the oceanic costumes seen strutting about the red carpet at 583 Park Avenue.
Team Upper East Side was well represented as we mulled around the balcony reception with a cocktail in hand: Tinsley Mortimer, seemingly always posing with suspiciously perfect hair and Prince Lorenzo Borghese never more than an arm lengths away.
We drifted into one of the many conversations being had about the masks, one about how fabric monger Louis Corello seemed to have strapped an entire coral reef to his shnoz, to remarkable effect.
“No, actually it’s not coral, they’re crystal studded antlers!”
Ah yes, of course.
Dr. Susan Krysiewicz and hubby Tom Bell managed to build matching sandcastles onto their heads. We overhead an onlooker. “Wow, they must really want to save Venice.”
Teamwork emerged as a secondary theme of the evening as Mark Badgley and James Mischka secured nearly matching black masks to each other – Cornelia Guest on hand to oversee the operation.
As this was our first attempt to save Venice, we thought it prudent to see what we’d missed last go around.
“How does this compare to last year?” we polled a twiggy beauty in a floor length.
“Well, they certainly didn’t have that!” she said. We turned to see what she was motioning towards: a male model in a one-piece bathing costume, failing to hide erection in waist belt.
“By the way, have you seen the girl with the caviar?”
It turns out that last years celebration took place not more than a week after a tsunami had decimated Japan, a fact that made an impression on more than a few Save Vennisons.
“Yeah, it was like really awkward – here we were talking about saving palazzos and shit, and half of Japan was underwater or like on fire – whatever though we still totally rocked it,” our decently lubricated friend recalled.
The music died down and we were quickly reminded that our invitation was only for the cocktail portion of the evening, and not the seated dinner, a fact that our boisterous Australian drinking companion would hear none of. “Fuck that mate, we’ll sneak you in to our table – this is going to be a party.”
And so we transitioned to the second portion of the evening. The portion where we’d become fugitives. The portion where we’d plowed through a tray of filet and then danced till it hurt. The portion where we’d spoken for what felt like 20 minutes with Charlotte Ronson without realizing that we were speaking with Charlotte Ronson.
“Oh, what do you do?” we’d asked.
“Well, I really like to make dresses. I’ve made this one, you know,” she said as we made every effort to avert our eyes from her plunging neckline.
“Oh, it’s lovely!” we said, and faded into the night.