Bettina’s Take: Save Venice, A Night On The Lido

Alexandra Lind Rose and Amanda Hearst

Save Venice is a fun benefit.

Usually, "fun benefit" is an oxymoron. You can serve all the jumbo shrimp you want, even the wisest fool knows that an evening of endless boring speeches can lead to a minor crisis.

Save Venice, however, is a seriously fun evening, and last night that was especially true. Benefit organizers, there are the lessons to be learned here.

Save Venice is always a masked ball. People go all out to find or design over the top creations, and the best of them win prizes.

"Did you see the guy with the bunny ears?" asked the evening's judge, Patrick McMullan. "I'm trying to find him."

Jennifer Creel made her own mask out of feathers, pearls and crystals. "This is such a beautiful event," she said. "People go out of their way to really dress up, more so than other parties."

The decor, brilliantly executed by Nicky Balestrieri of ExtraExtra, reflected the theme for the evening, "A Night On The Lido," with huge blue and white beach tents set up as the bars on the balcony at 583 Park. The champagne was Perrier Jouet—a huge, and welcome, step up from headache-inducing prosecco.

Matching blue and white beach umbrellas were at the center of each table, a wonderful informal contrast to the black ties and elegant long dresses in the room, many designed by Badgley Mischka, who co-sponsored the evening with De Grisogono. Guests included Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, Tinsley Mortimer, Whitney Fairchild, Patrick Herning, Ashley and Jeff McDermott, Jamie Tisch, and co-chairs Luigi Tadini and Amanda Hearst.

Co-chair Alexandra Lind Rose is a long time supporter of Save Venice.

"I truly feel that the work we do here gets sent back to Venice," said Rose, wearing a long pink Badgley Mischka gown. "We restore a lot of artworks and landmarks. I really want these things to be intact when my daughter is my age so she can experience Venice's exceptional beauty."

Cornelia Guest, also in Badgley Mischka, echoed that sentiment. "Venice is one of the wonders of the world. We have to save it. All our kids and grandchildren have to experience it." Guests's entertaining book, Simple Pleasures, will be out in June.

After a mercifully short speech, it was time to announce the winners of the best mask contest. The guy with the bunny ears was edged out by Louis Corello, for his antler mask made of crystals. Donna D'Cruz, wearing an ultra-sexy Gaultier that made her look like she had a rib removed (she swears she didn't), won for an over-the-top crystal studded mask made in Venice. Will Cotton and Rose Dergan won for best couple, with birdlike masks of their own creation, along with Joyce Krysiewicz and Thomas Bell, with incredible matching headgear in the shape of a castle.

Two unbelievable DJ's, Luka Tacon and Daniel Chetrit, kept the dance floor completely packed, and danced along with us: there wasn't an inch of space left to move, with major spillover going until well into the night. It felt like a private party.

If this energy doesn't stop Venice from sinking, I don't know what will.

Photos: Alexandra Lind Rose and Amanda Hearst