The Laguna Beach school superintendent wore a mask made by a designer for Frederick's of Hollywood.
A principal giggled and said that come to think of it, she should have worn something else from Frederick's.
The occasion was a benefit on Saturday for the Laguna Beach school system that drew 180 guests to Le Meridien hotel in Newport Beach for cocktails, silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing.
"Mardi Gras in Venice" was the name of the $500-per-couple fund-raiser sponsored by SchoolPower. The festivities netted about $120,000, which will go to the Laguna Beach Unified School District for the purchase of teaching aids and the development of innovative educational programs.
Why Venice (with nary a gondola nor canal in sight)?
"We just have a different theme every year," said a laughing Karen Linden, who chaired the event, "and, oh, I don't know."
Never mind. It was the spirit of Fat Tuesday that inspired guests, who donned an outrageous collection of eye and head gear.
Gwen Gross, principal of Laguna's El Morro Elementary School, credited a Frederick's lingerie-designer friend with the lacy, beaded, feathered masks worn by her and husband Jerry, and Laguna Beach Supt. of Schools Dennis Smith and his wife, Ann.
Joan Corman Bloch, who teaches art and donated some of her hand-crafted ceramic jewelry to the silent auction, looked to her studio for masquerade attire. The trompe l'oeil papier-mache masks she fashioned for herself and her husband turned heads throughout cocktail hour.
Also on view:
Developer Jim Baldwin in a furry cat's mask. "It matches his personality," said his wife, Nancy. "He's a real tiger."
Jim Bergman in a velvet jester's hat. And a Lone Ranger mask--with black and white circles drawn on his cheeks, under a sprinkling of sparkly makeup. ("I do not feel silly," he said with a grin.)
Barbara Smith and Greg MacGillivray in homemade masks cut from '30s postcards of bathing beauties.
Jacob Baas with a foot-long, flame-colored bird's beak protruding from his face.
Someone in a tricornered pirate's hat.