Carnival, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday; whatever you choose to call it, the last day before the start of Lent, the 40 days of repentance is famous to bring out the wild side of millions of people all over the world. In fact, in many countries, locals are known to spend over a month taking to the streets, parading, donning Venetian masks, and partying late into the wee hours of the morning.
Venice, Rio and New Orleans are just some of the many popular destinations in the world that tempt you to put your masks for masquerade balls and have some sinful fun!
• Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Thousands of tourists and locals are able to have ball of a time in New Orleans, when the city is known to loosen is reins a little and douse itself with limitless strings of beads, festive costumes and eye catching floats. The city is known to host some of the most spectacular parades starting 2 weeks prior to Mardi Gras.
• Carnival of Binche – Binche, Beglium
In Binche, it is considered to be great honor for a man to be selected to join the Gilles on Shrove Tuesday each year. Gilles are essential clown like performances who wear plumed hats, wax masks and colorful costumes. They are known to start dancing around the city during the wee hours of the morning and continue doing so late into the night.
• Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
This region comes with a rich and vibrant history with French roots. The Carnival is considered to be one of the most important celebrations of the year. The Monday and Tuesday right before Ash Wednesday is the time when thousands of locals flock the streets to show off their elaborate costumes that may have taken months to finish. Complete with traditional Venetian masks and a range of events such as a competition for the title of ‘the Band of the Year’ and the ‘Calypso Monarch’, visiting this Caribbean treasure during Carnival is a experience worth having.
• Carnival of Brazil – Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil
There is absolutely no Carnival celebration in the world that can compete with the atmosphere that is created in Rio de Jeneiro during the festivals. Brazilians are known to takes their weeks before Lent extremely seriously. This means that you get a chance to witness some of the largest and most elaborate parades. Just 2 years ago, it was estimated that 5 million people attended the Carnival in Brazil. For some high-octane partying, Rio de Jeneiro is the place to be.
• Mardi Gras – Sydney, Australia
A rather underrated Carnival destination, the city makes the most of this festival to support the LGBT community. The evening parade down Oxford and Flinders streets are worth watching. You must also make time to attend the drag races on Bondi Beach, the sunset cruise and the harbor-side dance party.
Other unlikely contenders but equally exciting Carnival destinations include the Notting Hill Carnival, London; the Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City and the Carnival celebrations in Montevideo, Uruguay.
It is October and is time again to start planning your perfect costume for Halloween. Halloween costumes are conventionally reproduced taking influences from supernatural figures such as ghosts, devils, monsters, skeletons and witches. The idea behind dressing up in costumes at parties is to portray frightening creatures.
Dressing up in fancy attire and going ‘guising’ was widespread in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween by the late 19th century. Costuming then became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century among adults as well as children.
Halloween costume parties generally occur on or around October 31 but often celebrated on the Friday or Saturday before Halloween.
Dressing up as your Favorite Character
Over the years, Halloween has turned into an excuse to dress up and exhibit your dream personality. Adults like to dress like movie stars, Renaissance maidens, Medieval knights, superheroes or even Dead celebrities.
Experimenting with the costume is a big part of Halloween. However, it is best to stick to a character or a concept that you genuinely feel for or are passionate about. For example, if you intend to dress up as a Harry Potter character, it makes more sense to do so if you have watched the movies or read the books. This will allow you to adopt the personality of your character easily and add panache to your outfit.
Selecting the Right Theme
A creative mind may need a little inspiration. Decide a theme that can be as basic that of a bride, a pirate or a vampire or simply go for themes such as cult movies, TV show characters or cartoons. Your Halloween outfit will reflect your own personality
Give dress-up a creative boost with costumes that instigate imagination. Choose from a wide variety of fantasy or occupational sets, embroidered embellishments, realistic sounds and many more elements to complete your elaborate outfit.
You can also team them up with wigs, stockings, hats, gloves, boots, false colored nails, fake eyelashes and velvet Venetian masks.
Accessorizing with Naughty Masks
Venetian masks reinstate the mischievous use it was put to.
In early times, Venetian masks were used as protection of the wearer’s identity in the city of Venice. These days’ Venetian masks are used during carnivals around the world and at parties. People really enjoy and have fun times wearing all types of crazy masks.
Using such masks you are sure to make a great impression. If you are a lady and want a teasing look, you can opt for a mask on a stick. Men can wear half masks that would look elegant and highlight their facial features. For the one who wishes to keep the identity a complete mystery can opt for a full face feather mask.
Most people prefer masks which compliment their costumes. However, if you are not able to find exactly what you are looking for, a black or white mask works just fine with any kind of costume.
The key to a memorable costume Halloween is going a little over the top and using accessories that storm the party.
Did you know that Shakespeare arranged the first meeting of his extremely popular characters, Romeo and Juliet, at a Masquerade Ball?
History suggests that the now world famous Masquerade Masks originated in Venice, Italy during the 15th Century. They were primarily in use by general public before Masquerade Balls came into existence in 16th Century Renaissance. Further theories suggest that the original usage was meant to conceal identity of the wearer as well as to equalize people from higher and lower classes during public events.
Masks in the 16th Century
Masquerade Balls were frenzied events that carried the auras of mystery and charm. The events included elaborate dancing, socializing between various strata of society and of course, the unparalleled masquerade masks for women as well as men. The masks enhanced the liberal nature of these events, as identities could not be determined. People could raise their concerns and indulge in extravaganzas of any nature without worrying about the repercussions. The masks of that time were mainly molded from clay and velvet with an array of decorative like feathers and colored stones (even the occasional precious stones for the richer crowd). The designs were so varied that two of a kind were a rare sight indeed.
The Laws against the Use of Masks
Towards the 18th century, laws were put in place to limit the use of masks on a regular basis. By this time, the masks carried the façade of intrigue, often being referred as dissident. However, their use in theatre was omnipresent throughout the ages as it is even today for certain plays.
Masquerade Masks as Home Décor in Today’s Times
In modern times, Venetian masks for women and men adorn many a collectors homes. They are a part of décor of many contemporary homes, adding a historical aura around them and, of course, enhancing the look as well!
Masquerade Themed Events in the 21st Century
Masquerade themed parties came in vogue as it allowed people to embrace a historical style of hosting as well added the thrill factor. Some weddings have been based on the Masquerade themed that included the use of Venetian masks for women and men. Charity events also have used this theme time and again to help spread their message.
The Venetian Carnival is a prevalent festival dedicated to art and the history of Masquerade. This lively event attempts to encompass the history and past of the earlier centuries. A great number of people visit the ever-romantic city of Venice to get a feel of times that once were. If you get a chance to visit Italy during this time, you will get an incandescent feeling of the past where Masquerade Balls popularized Masquerade masks for women and men.
Venetian Masks have long been used as an elegant display item in households around the world.
If you have your own collection of these masks, but are yet to display it, this article will help you gain a creative perspective for your home décor.
Read on to find new ideas on where the masks can be displayed and how the look of your home can be enhanced with these beauties.
On Your Patio
Especially suited for an outdoorsy look is Moon Venetian Masks. Hang them over a seating area or even place them on a center table for an exotic teatime look. They go well with not only wooden backgrounds but even in a grassy area.
On a Bare Wall in your Living Room/Den
What better way of doing it than putting up Venetian masks on a bare wall or den? If you feel more adventurous, you can experiment with long flowing fabrics like velvet and brocade which can adorn the mask as drapes. All you need to do is drill some holes for the mask and fabric to give the mysterious aura of times that once were. This gives an enchanting effect and a unique new look to your existing wall.
Remember that the mask needs to be the center of attention and the fabrics and colors you choose should not overpower it.
On A Wooden Chest
When you look at a wooden chest or treasure chest, you instantly think of royalty. If you have a chest at home or plan to procure one for a prominent corner of your house, Moon venetian masks make a great addition to portray a historical feel and add charm to your room.
How to Display them?
Once you have identified a place for your masks, make sure the way in which you display them is also appealing.
- Consider tying the back of your mask into a bow with the help of an elegant ribbon. Use this to hang your mask from a hook or on a nail on a wall in your home.
- You can also get your mask placed in an exquisite shadowbox that is made out of a wooden frame and a clear glass. You can find these in various sizes in any framing or crafting store.
- A very creative way to display your elegant mask is by placing it on the head of a mannequin. If you own a fashion boutique or furniture store of your own, this is a great way to draw attention to various sections of yur store.
Masks should be displayed in a place from which it can be appreciated. Remember, you need to pick a place that will compliment the mask as well as enhance the area that displays it.
Venetian masquerade masks transport you back into a world of brave knights and pretty damsels who were almost always in distress. These masks reignite those long-forgotten memories of magnificent balls and slivers of caviar in silver platters. Perhaps, nostalgia is one of the reasons that have rekindled the popularity of masquerade balls amongst the young and the old.
Rules to Follow
Whether you are a student or professional, at some point in your life you may be invited for one of these high-end balls. Naturally, your costume, no matter how pretty it may be, will not have the desired effect without a Venetian carnival mask, which is a must in these balls. So, how does one choose amongst those zillions of Venetian masquerade masks? Simply, by following some ground rules.
The first aspect to consider is the occasion. Is it a wedding or a prom or an event as big as the Mardi Gras? In case of a wedding, it is a good idea to inquire beforehand about the kind of mask you need to wear. You can check out the wedding card or ask an organiser. Generally, people prefer wearing white Venetian masquerade masks since these look classy. If you are a lady and are wary of messing up your make-up you can opt for a mask on a stick. Men can wear half masks that look elegant and highlight their facial structures.
In case of a prom, there are a lot of options available. Most prefer masks that compliment their costumes. However, if you don’t find what you are looking for, a black and white mask works just fine with any kind of costume.
Flaunt the Flashy Masks
If you are attending a Mardi Gras event, then it is advisable to choose an elaborate and flashy Venetian carnival mask. Invest in a hard-crafted mask, which will make you look mysterious and alluring. No doubt, hand crafted masks don’t come cheap, but they are a class-apart and will last you for a long time.
There are a number of stores online that sell cheap masks. However, these masks lack the look and elegance of a high-quality mask. Some can even give you pretty nasty allergies, so it’s advisable that you opt for high quality carnival masks.
Remember to choose a mask which is a comfortable fit. It is obviously not a good idea to choose a mask is stifling or is too big or too small. Instead, opt for something which fits comfortably.
Most people prefer masks made from lightweight materials such as feather or paper mache. Though they look trendy, leather masks can make you sweat and are generally heavy. However, they are perfect for winter events.
If chosen rightly, masquerade masks can add that much needed allure and mystery to your ensemble which can earn you loads of admirers!
In use since the early 12th century, Venetian masks were the people’s answer to the rigid class structure that existed in Europe; a way for lovers to unite, for partners to be promiscuous, for homosexuals to unite in a societal structure that equalled them with demons and women to dress boldly.
In a wealthy Venice where money flowed free like the water through its canals, pleasures of life were easier to come by than freedom and this included the freedom of thought and its expression. The mask also came to be used to strike secret business deals and to carry out spy work. With Venetians ‘masking’ their lives completely, it came to be worn every day becoming their “anonymous chat ID”, if you will.
The modern reference to such masks in the famous film Eyes Wide Shut was, thus, not wary off the mark when Tom Cruise infiltrates a masquerade ball where men of influence were engaging in ‘sexcapades’. While the Venetian mask featuring in the film made them a sudden rage the world over, putting the spot light on the almost forgotten art, the news of their use was no more novel than love itself.
Early mentions of the Venetian masks reinforce mischievous uses it was put to. The Venetian Law itself mentions masked men throwing scented eggs at ladies during the carnival, an act which was prohibited by law.
The antics of the Venetians carried on until the 1100s when the Church banned its use on holy days in hope that this would check people’s immoral behaviour. The ban restricted the masks’ use to a small period starting December 26. Over time, this further got cut down to a week-long period, when Venetians indulged in the run up to Lent, called Carnevale.
Though intending to curtail debauchery, the ban gave birth to one of the most intriguing festivals, “The Carnival of Venice”, where art is celebrating in a week-long orgy of master craftsmanship.
The modern times may have led mask makers to create experimental masks in keeping with changing tastes. Popular traditional disguises in early Venice included the fisherman with a rod, demon, butcher, doctor, sailor and even a dancing bear. However, one of the most popular and beautiful was the moon Venetian masks.
In both Pagan and in Christian semiotics, the moon has been representative of the female form and the sun of the masculine, other than in Germany where it is the opposite. The moon also symbolizes the lovers seeking to hide in the lunar shadows. Thus, it stands as a favourite among the young.
These moon masks and the sun masks, both full-face and half are the most ornamental and delicately carved of all.
Traditionally made of paper mache, clay, porcelain and glass, the Venetian masks are today made of every conceivable material. On a stick or full-face, simply white or flambouyant gold and feathery; master craftsman can chisel something for everyone to unleash the masquerader within.
Traditionally, Venetian masks were used to protect the identities of the wearer in ancient Rome. Today, they have become somewhat of a style statement where guests of carnival celebrations around the world don some of the most unique styles that are fragrant with style and elegance.
Most Venetian masks are made out of clay. But, you may also find some great ones in papier-mâché, complete with vibrant hues and diamantes’ and other exquisite decorations.
1.The Columbiana – Typically made for women, this half-mask covers the eyes, nose and upper cheeks of the wearer. These masks for masquerade balls are often adorned with crystals, gold, silver and feather. You can tie them up with ribbons or even hold them in front of your face with the help of a baton.
2.The Harlequin – The peculiarity of these masks come in the form of a large, hooked nose. These also come with black and white checked diamonds and distinctly painted lips.
3.The Medico Della Peste – these full face Venetian masks are one of the most unusual and easily identifiable masks, these come with a long beak and were interestingly created as a tool to prevent the spread of diseases. Hence, these are also known as plague doctor masks.
4.The Jolly Venetian – These half or full face Venetian masks represent jokers and come with iconic curly hair and matching bells. These masks are visually more appealing than the quintessential face of a clown and come with a number of appealing decorations.
5.The Cat –Also known as the gatto mask, these masks look a lot like the face of a cat. They come with small ears and are usually only half masks that cover the top. These masks are fun to wear at a party and are quite effective in hiding identities.
Select from one of these unique Venetian masks and you will be any party’s centre of attention. Choose from a range of styles and designs such as exquisite masks that are decorated with crystals, elegant feathers and bejewelled accessories. You can also find a range of petite masks that are designed especially to show a greater part of your face.
Baroque eye masks also offer a unique majestic flair complete with gold or silver filigree, beads and intricate metal work that make heads turn!
Put on a mask that suits your facial structure best and you will be sure to make heads turn the next time you are at a masquerade party, Halloween party, wedding celebration or a fancy red carpet event!
Masquerade parties are becoming an increasingly popular theme with people of all ages. Whether you are celebrating a wedding, a graduation, a housewarming or you simply wish to bring the splendor of Mardi Gras to your party, this theme is an appealing one.
A major element that is synonymous to masquerade parties are the exquisite masks that adorn the faces of your guests. The next time you are hosting or being invited to carnival themed party, make sure you have got your look like.
With a myriad of different styles to choose from, from full face feather masks to those in various colors that only cover your eyes, selecting one that complements your outfit and facial structure is important.
The Most Popular Option
If this is your first masquerade party and you aren’t sure what mask suits you best, it is ideal to opt for a white masquerade mask. This style is the most popular among both men and women primarily because of its versatility.
What Makes White Versatile?
White as a color matches with almost every other shade. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new gown or new mask, investing in a classic white one helps you get rid of the headache of matching the vivid colors of your outfit with your accessory. The color white elegantly complements any dress you may be donning at the event.
The color white is evidently a very pristine and beautiful one, making your mask a perfect accessory to make a statement with. Notice how your dress or tuxedo begins to glow by simply adding a white masquerade mask to complete your look. Using white in the right style of mask is a great way to leave a lasting impression on the other guests of the party.
The color white in your mask can look absolutely stunning if you plan on having a masquerade wedding. Adorned with ostrich or coque feathers, the bride will be able to emit a larger than life, extravagant and eye-catching appeal while walking down the aisle. Your bridal white mask can also complement the black tuxedo your groom dons on your wedding day.
Finding the perfect masquerade mask for your wedding or annual gala needn’t be a daunting task. Considering the popularity of the color white, most vendors provide a wide selection in styles and patterns. Make sure you select one that allows you to bring in the perfect levels of elegance and sophistication into your ensemble.
If you plan on complementing your bridal gown with this mask, do not consider it a one-time wear. These elegant pieces make for great wall hangings; an excellent way to maintain a piece of memory from that special day.
Summer is finally here— Let the party begin! Whoa, and let us not forget the most looked forward to occasion of the season—Fourth of July!
So you have got a big masquerade bash in the offing and you want to look classy and stylish at the same time? A brilliant idea is to match your elegant outfit with the right kind of Venetian mask to complement your attire that will help you look like a million bucks.
Trends for Women
- Long Slits: This elegant style is reminiscent of Hollywood kind of glamour
Mask to pick: Columbina Monica Gold/White
- Leather: Not just the jackets, we are seeing the entire dresses, skirts and shorts made out of leather
Mask to pick: Malazia Black mask
- Neon: This trend is seen largely in accessories
Mask to pick: Elfe with Plume Stick Red
- Streaks: Big, bold stripes (mostly black and white) appearing on dresses, gowns, shirts, trousers.
Mask to pick: Colombina Black/White
- Shades of Blue: The mint and electric blue are perfect for a fresh summer look.
Mask to match: Colombina Crackle Blue Stucco
- Flowery Prints: This carried over trend from spring can be seen on dresses, t-shirts and skirts.
Mask to pick: Colorosa Chiocciola
Trends for Men
- Style Tailoring: Suits this season are simply brilliant. Trend includes summery suits with a bold print or pattern with a metallic finish
Mask to pick: Bauta Silver Macrame
- Stripes: Be it suits or shirts, statement stripes are one of the foremost trends for summer 2013.
Mask to pick: Columbina Stucco Brown/Gold Music
- Pinky Pink: No longer considered as girly color, is flaunted with ease.
Mask to pick: Full Face cut out
- Shades of Blue: Every shade of blue does the trick of enhancing the glam quotient
Mask to pick: Columbina White 1 / 2 Macrame
Here are a few tips on how to select the right kind of Venetian mask for you that will blend perfectly well with the latest trends in vogue.
- Select your outfit. We know it is a tedious job but then you have to do it in order to select a mask in a timely manner
- Find a reputable seller of authentic masks. All you need is an authentic Handmade Venetian mask that should not only make you look beautiful but should also be long lasting
- Skim through the different styles of masks available bearing in mind the following:
• Event type: Is it Casual, formal or theme based
• Dress Type: Short or long, Color
- Pick the mask that suits your personality the most. Go in for a mask that will keep you at ease and self-assured all night.
So wear the right mask and gear up for a trendy, mysterious and glamorous party!
Intriguing and beautiful, Venetian masks can hide your identity while alluring and interesting viewers. They are used all over the world at masquerade balls, Halloween parties, prom events, May balls and other celebrations to introduce a fun element. A wide array of masks can be seen on the streets of Venice during the annual carnival. There are innumerable types which can range from the demure plain white eye masks to the more flamboyant, colorful and elaborately decorated ones.
Venetian masks come in a variety of colours and in various shapes and sizes to suit individual tastes. They can be made of acrylic, leather, porcelain, leather and hordes of other materials. Originally, they served symbolic or practical purposes and were quite simply designed. Nowadays, they aredecorated with gems, feathers, silver and gold metallic sheets, beads and lots more. Often designer masks are hand-painted to give a unique appearance. In effect, as far as planning artistic masks is concerned, the sky is the limit.
You could go in for handmade Venetian masks created with plaster and paper mache using techniques that vary with individual makers. Some mask styles are inspired by nature while others make use of animal prints. Masks made using eco-friendly materials are appreciated by collectors who like to know that their purchases help save planet Earth. Natural materials like corals, sea shells, leaves, flowers and rootsto name a few, help the creations come alive. Some clients instruct makers to use special themes while creating handmade masks. You can even get masks colour-customized to match your costume or outfit.
Velvet Venetian Masks are quite popular and probably the most fanciful ones. Because velvet is a soft and luxurious fabric, it is suitable for all skin types. Since these masks are gentle and comfortable to use, they are a big hit with the ladies.
Masks made of velvet often include traditional Venetian mask styles along with some unique features which give them a striking appearance. An eye mask made of velvet with animal prints or plain black velvet decorated with sequins, feathers and beadscan make a great accessory for a Halloween fancy dress costume.When feathers are added to a velvet mask, you can be sure to get a really royal look.
“Moretta” is a traditional Venetian mask made from velvet. In ancient times, this mask was worn throughout the year by the women of Venice. This oval mask made from black velvet is often worn by women when they visit convents. It is said to bring out the true beauty of feminine features. A veil is added to lend an air of quiet mystery to the wearer.
You can do lots more with your mask than simply wearing it and keeping it safe in a box for the next Halloween party. Hang it on your wall for an artistic ambience ormake a pretty decoration by standing it on a table and putting a candle behind it. Maybe your friends will love a pretty mask as a gift too!