I know I go on about age and time passing by, but more recently I am trying to fulfill lifelong dreams – or as some would say, ticking items off the “bucket list.” One of these is attending Venice Carnivale. This all started last summer with a kind invitation from friends in Verona to join them at the famed Il Ballo Del Doge (Doge Ball.)
“Il Ballo del Doge is not a simple masquerade party: it is the “ball” par excellence, the most luxurious among the Venice Carnival events and one of the most prestigious parties in the world.” You can read more about it here. ( Their quote, not mine – let’s see, remembering I’m from the ‘show me’ state after all! )
Of course, from a design perspective, Venice, costumes, 17th and 18th century architecture and decor – I needed no encouragement, and it is all there for the picking.
I had originally planned on four dresses (2 more than what I needed, but….typical designer) and set out to find suitable fabrics. Boy was I surprised to see the price tag on all those I selected – around $400 a yard! I knew I could do better, so revisited my old haunts on Seventh Ave, and secured some marvelous finds at closer to $6 a yard. These have been combined with gold lace from my previous fashion days (discovered down in my basement), and between a dressmaker in Manhattan, and a costume maker in Verona (I will spare you the exhausting logistical details of these gowns), I now have costumes, ready for the events I’ll be attending.
The designing of costumes is a lot of fun, the amazing sources of inspiration from the 18th century is fantastic. Originally I was going the purist route for the dresses but carnivale is more than exaggerated, so I took liberties. I need to mention though that the design is only a thought, it is the craft of draping and sewing that is the real magic. I found a fabulous lady to bring my design to life, Maria Marizilli, and shall do a post when I return on this amazing perfectionist and artist – what a talent! I have yet to see my Italian costumer – the first fitting is this week in Verona.
Above : my little quickie video giving the spirit to my upcoming adventure.
I promise to provide you with a full update, and many photos upon my return, and will be posting on Instagram throughout!
P.S. Just two days before my departure I went to a ceremony honoring my mentor, Oscar de la Renta. For all that he represented – his talent, sense of beauty, his humanity and elegance…and as an immigrant that realized the American Dream, USPS has created 11 beautiful stamps – one with a wonderful image of the man and 10 more featuring elements of his design. The event was emceed by Anderson Cooper and three of his very close friends spoke : former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vogue Editor Anna Wintour and Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was quite a gathering and I was happy to be present for his honor.