The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It was a delightful gathering of beautiful people in a beautiful palace in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
One afternoon in Venice The Delhi Walla attended Somewhere in Delhi: 17 Prints on Hand-Woven Khadi Muslin, an exhibition by Venetian designer Anna Gerotto and Delhi-based blogger Mayank Austen Soofi (me!). A selection of Mr Soofi’s photographs that he had originally put up on his Facebook account were transposed by Ms Gerotto into the fragile texture of hand-woven muslin. The soft fabrics hang down languidly from the high ceilings of Palazzo Michiel del Brusà, a Renaissance-era palace that stands beside Grand Canal and is within an eye-view of the great Rialto bridge.
It was inevitable that the reflections of the sparkling water transformed the palace hall—its ancient walls decked with contemporary scenes of the Indian capital—into a gallery of illusions. Black gondolas floated gently on the canal, the envious tourists trying to steal a glimpse of the goings-on inside the palace. But they were too far away to make out the famous faces.
Israeli novelist Alon Altaras was spotted with his beautiful wife Aline Cendon—he is from Tel Aviv, she is from Trieste. Architectural historian Renzo Dubini, so tall and stately, arrived with his entrepreneur-wife, the elegant Arnalda Venier who has spent a long time in the East. Author Enrico Palandri came with his Scottish wife, Jenny, who was too shy in front of the camera. Painter Stephen Eddy came alone, long after the arrival of his wife, the witty Enrica Pasquinucci—he met her years ago as an American tourist in Venice and then never left her city.
Also seen–the lovely Giovanna Palandri, chancellor of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, whose office is in one of the most beautiful palaces in Venice; she was accompanied by her husband, the great conversationist Franco, said to be a great dining table companion.
Also sighted: Michele Bugliesi, the dean of the prestigious Ca’ Foscari University, whose attentions were harmoniously claimed by both the exhibits and the view of the Grand Canal; Simon Levis Sullam, a history scholar who has spent his life in the halls of Ca’ Foscari, Berkeley and Oxford—he presented designer Gerotto with a bottle of rose-colored sparkling wine; Stefano Beggiora, professor of Indology; Nathalie Handal, the award-winning writer from New York; and theatre actor Alice Winn, who was dressed in dazzling blue.
One of the most critical eyes among the audience were that of Camillo Tonini, the former head of the museum of Palazzo Ducale, the Doge’s Palace at Piazza San Marco, the famous Venice landmark.
Among all these Venetian figures, one Delhiwalla, too, stood out in all his nobility. He was alone in a corner, far away from other hangings. Even so, Delhi author RV Smith looked as if he were at home.
Delhiwallas in Venice
24. (designer Anna Gerotto, left)