The Arty Parties of the Venice Biennale

After a day of running around the Giardini and Arsenale to see the artist pavilions, we geared up to hit the Fondazione Prada cocktail party inaugurating its new exhibition space in Venice, the palazzo Ca’Corner Della Regina. As Miuccia Prada giggled in the corner with Andreas Gursky, perhaps plotting an upcoming campaign, all the art heavyweights came out, including many of the jokesters represented in her private collection: Jeff Koons, Maurizio Cattelan, and Francesco Vezzoli, looking super cute in his SS monkey print shirt. (By the way, we counted at least seven pairs of Franken-espadrilles on the male guests. Ladies were showing a lot of Prada love too, i.e. monkeys, bananas and sequins all around.) Local social Cecillia Matteuccia brought the Venetian baroque goth vibe, and of course Anna Wintour dropped in as well, in town for a few days before seeing her tennis dudes Nadal and Federer at Roland Garros.

A glut of water taxis idling in the canal in front of the palace, the Venetian equivalent of a crush of black Escalades, added a touch of local charm. Courtney Love showed her own local charms, arriving ten minutes after the event had ended in a dress that had many of the chic Italian signorine tsk-tsking.

Next up was Anton Ginzburg’s shindig at the decadent Palazzo Pisani Moretta. He must have found really generous sponsors in Grand Life and Whitewall as the party spared no expense. While one floor was dedicated to dancing, another brimmed with food, a still life of lobsters, roses, fruit and cakes. Guests had trouble filling the four floors of the vast palazzo, but the luxurious amount of space afforded us a chance to gawk at the lavish décor and quaff prosecco without elbowing anyone.

While the elegant Bauer Hotel played host to many an after-party this week, none was more raucous than Neville Wakefield’s for Commercial Break. The door scene was so hectic that PR guru Nadine Johnson had to sneak VIPs up through the rooms of the labyrinthine hotel and back down through the kitchen to get them into the crush on the terrace. Later, we found ourselves at local spot Piccolo Mondo, where we had no choice but to sweat it out dancing to Beyonce and cheesy Italian disco till the sun came up.

Following our late start the next day, we visited some of the off-site pavilions, including Francois Pinault’s impressive collection at Punta Della Dagona. Then it was party time again. We made it to Interview and Y-3’s decidedly more laid-back gig at Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista. Maybe the hard-hitting schedule was getting to the biennale-goers, but all the New York cool kids in attendance were more than happy to lounge about in the backyard of the former school for pious flagellants. And while some wise visitors decided to end their night here, other more intrepid partiers water taxi’d down to Amy Sacco’s pop-up Venetian outpost of Bungalow 8, which, just like its Manhattan mamma, held the usual smattering of the rich and glittery—and the PRs who love them. 

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