On a September night in 1951, everyone who was anyone arrived with an invite to a lavish masked costume ball, the Tiepolo Ball, which became known as the “party of the century.” Held in a frescoed ballroom of Venice’s Palazzo Labia, the event brought together a slew of princesses, celebrities, and socialites like Countess Jacqueline de Ribes. Salvador Dalí and Christian Dior dressed up as each other. Pierre Cardin designed gowns for the most famous guests and launched his career. The party’s host, a world-famous art collector named Don Carlos de Beistegui, wore a scarlet robe and 16-inch platform shoes.
No party at the palazzo had been quite so spectacular, until Dior revived the same costume ball in the same ballroom last weekend. To celebrate the opening of the Venice Biennale, Dior co-hosted its own Tiepolo Ball with the Venetian Heritage Foundation. As an opulent charity dinner, the event benefited the restoration of Venice’s architecture and cultural heritage. Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with two Venetian fashion houses to dress celebrity guests including Karlie Kloss, Tilda Swinton, and Sienna Miller. Arriving in boats on the city’s famous canals, the masqueraded attendees enjoyed a meal at dining tables decorated with candelabras and bouquets of fresh flowers. Later, they mingled in gilded rooms. See photos from the lavish party below.