2009 March 30

Italian Lessons

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John Demsey and Alina Cho John Demsey and Alina Cho
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(NEW YORK) At one time, the Young Friends of Save Venice gala was one of New York's hottest tickets, featuring a dinner and dance at the Metropolitan Club that rivaled the blowout bashes thrown by charities like New Yorkers for Children and the Frick Collection. But as we all know (all too well), times have changed, and celeb-studded big-budget affairs have given way to more subdued cocktail parties. 

"[Save Venice] was a groundbreaking organization when it began, because they did something that nobody else was doing," notes David Patrick Columbia of "It became a very social, must-go-to organization because it did an annual excursion to Venice, which was enhanced by the company of European royals and nobility and private tours of residences, like Palladian villages. It was a very chic tourist adventure, and so it drew a high-profile group of people here in New York and from around the United States who were affulent, philanthropical, and cultural. But part of the group broke off from Save Venice in the '90s and started Venetian Heritage, and when that happened, they took some of the wind out of the sails of Save Venice--but Save Venice really raised the profile of travelling to Venice as a social thing to do. The junior event that Save Venice threw was one of the major of such events in New York--the girls really got dressed up, and it was a great, great fashion parade."

For the 2009 Young Friends of Save Venice Primavera a Venezia masked ball, which aimed to raise money to restore the church of San Sebastiano, co-chairs Olivia Chantecaille, Luigi Tadini and Anthony Todd planned a black-tie cocktail party on the Bowery Terrace at the Bowery Hotel. Longtime Save Venice supporters Adelina Wong Ettleson and Alexandra Lind Rose showed to support last Friday night, but overall, the crowd was distinctly younger and newer to the cause. Cho Cheng served as fashion sponsor, outfitting several ladies in his frothy confections. The event raised $150,000.

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