Sitting next to a serpent proved safe last night for Alexander Navab, the co-head of KKR & Co.’s North American private-equity business.
The glittering bright-green creature slithered along the eyes, cheek and neck of one of Navab’s dining companions, jewelry designer Blair Husain.
“A children’s face painter did it,” Husain said of her reptilian decoration, part of her costume for the Save Venice ball last night at the Plaza Hotel.
Many of the 500 guests at Un Ballo in Maschera wore elaborate masks with feathers, rhinestones and beads. Some wore lace over their eyes.
The goal of the New York-based organization is to protect Venice’s art and architecture. It’s an endless job.
Save Venice has helped complete 400 projects since its founding 40 years ago; it currently has 30 projects under way. The $650,000 in proceeds from last night’s ball will go toward the restoration of the church of San Sebastiano, according to notes in the event program.
Writer and artist Beatrix Ost won the costume contest. She wore a basket on her head and a corset made of “some old long gloves I had around,” she said.
Courtney Love wore a long navy gown with her hair tied back. It was easier to spot her once the celebrants removed their masks to eat endive salad and filet mignon, washed down with Principato Pinot Grigio and Querceto Chianti.
The conversation did occasionally turn to Venice. Event co-chairman Adelina Wong Ettelson spoke of the incredible light. “You cannot take a bad photograph there,” Ettelson said.
“I love just wandering around,” said Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, another co-chairman.
Fiona Rudin, vice chairman of the theater nonprofit New 42nd Street Inc., said she thinks of Venice as the most romantic place in the world. It’s where her husband proposed marriage, at the Bridge of Sighs.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)