Remembering the Party of the Century: 13 Masks Designed in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

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Truman Capote, like Holly Golightly, a protagonist of his famous brief story, “Breakfast during Tiffany’s,” could be a tease. In a lead-up to his buzzy Black and White Ball, for example, a author was frequency seen but a streaked combination cover (now in a collection of a New York Public Library), that contained a guest list to a rarely disdainful fete. For amicable types, being enclosed therein was like attaining a Holy Grail—and Capote knew it. You were possibly in or we were out, as in a days of Mrs. Astor. (The round was such a lightning rod eventuality that a cover line of Esquire’s Dec 1967 emanate read: “We wouldn’t have come even if we had invited us, Truman Capote.”)

Among those who did make Capote’s cut were a author’s “swans”; Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow; Andy Warhol; Amanda Burden, who borrowed a Cecil Beaton–designed dress from My Fair Lady; and Penelope Tree, who, in a divulgence pattern from Paraphernalia, was detected by Vogue that night.

Though a dance was hold in respect of Mrs. Katharine Graham, a recently widowed Washington media tycoon, Capote, afterwards flush with his In Cold Blood success, neglected to have that information enclosed on a custom-printed invite, selecting to hand-write a name of a honoree instead. As Party of a Century author Deborah Davis suggests, Capote’s ambitions were not wholly altruistic. “No matter how many times he told people he was throwing together an dusk for his closet friends,” she writes, “he was devising an eventuality that was bigger, better, and some-more useful than a standard multitude ball. His guest list would be a debate de force of amicable engineering.” It would also keep milliners including Bill Cunningham, Adolfo, and Halston really bustling indeed.

Unlike Graham’s name, a dress formula did make it to a stationer’s press:

Gentlemen: Black tie; black mask
Ladies: Black or white dress; white mask; fan

While Capote done do with a elementary 39-cent domino from FAO Schwarz, others went all out. Madame Grès reportedly devised something for Countess Brandolini; Oscar de la Renta and Françoise de Langlade were hits in their interrelated marabou kitten masks; Candice Bergen sported Halston’s bunny ears; and Princess Luciana Pignatelli borrowed a 60-carat solid from Harry Winston and dangling it on her front instead of obscuring her face.

To symbol a 50th anniversary of this mythological bash, we asked 13 creatives to dream adult masks estimable of a eulogise that would pronounce to a celebration people of today. Click by above to see them all, and next for Vogue’s coverage of a event, from a Jan 15, 1967 issue.

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