Sarah Saves Venice: Sarah Arison

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Friday night at The Pierre in NYC could have easily been mistaken for a party scene from The Hunger Games.  The costumes at the Save Venice Ball were a feast for the eyes- featuring feathers, flowers, crystals, birds and lights.  Masks ranging from delicate lace by Kiki de Montparnasse to those worn by Mexican wrestlers were paired with spectacular gowns from every top designer.

Founded in 1966 after severe flooding in Venice, Save Venice has raised over $20 million since its inception to restore over 400 works of art and architecture in the culturally rich city. The theme of this year’s ball was “Enchanted Garden,” which could be part of the reason it felt particularly extravagant.  Attendees went all out to embrace the theme, with some patrons wearing no less than a small shrub fixated to their updos.  Many eschewed masks in favor of elaborate headpieces, which made them far easier to recognize and chat with over Champagne than those who wore, for example, full rubber horse head masks.  There is a big incentive to go all out, as fashion arbiters Hamish Bowles and Derek Blasberg served as judges for a number of “best mask” contests in various categories. So the rumor that certain individuals spent no less than 120 hours on their costumes is not too surprising.


With sponsors Dolce & Gabbana and Ferrari, the evening was definitively Italian- celebrating the heritage, culture, beauty and opulence of Venice.  I paired my gold Carmen Marc Valvo dress with a gold filigree mask studded with crystals, but after seeing the creations from other guests I realized I need to up my game for next year’s ball.  Maybe if I start planning now, I can wrangle a nod from whatever fabulous judges they’re sure to line up!


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