A visual masterpiece. That’s the best way to describe the Venice Carnival. Thousands of festival goers from the around the world arrive decked out head to toe in handmade costumes perfectly crafted down to the smallest thread and in Venetian masks that allow participants to wander the streets in their chosen fantasy personas. It’s an otherworldly sight. To participate in this almost frighteningly convincing trip back in time, you have to first nail the costume. Oh, and there are levels, mind you. Some costumes are just enough to fit in and mingle with the masked crowds, while others compete for attention at Il Ballo del Doge, recognized by Vanity Fair as the most exclusive ball in the world.
It sounds appealing, but questions remain. How do you track down these incredible costumes? What are you looking at for prices? We’ve taken this part into our hands with our guide on how to find a Venice Carnival costume. Check out the designers below and let your imagination go to work.
Costumes and Masks
Here are a few of our top picks for carnival costume ateliers.
Nicolao Atelier: With more than 30 years of experience designing and creating period costumes, head tailor Stefan Nicolao is a sure bet. Shirts, hats, and shoes can all be purchased through the tailor’s website.
Atelier Marega: From Venetian mask making demos to high-end costumes available for purchase, Marega offers it all. We’re especially impressed by the wide variety of masks that are certain to make your getup stand out. This atelier has a hand in everything and is a great resource for all sorts of Carnival information.
Venice Events: Venice Events works with a number of ateliers in the Venice area and has a wider selection of costumes and masks. You may not get the personal tailor experience at the Marega or Nicolao, but the Venice Events costume page gives you plenty of options.
One of the best ways to prepare for the Carnival is to check out the costumes that have broken necks in the past. Here are a few articles that highlight the head turners. Keep in mind that many of these are homemade!
This photo journal from the Internationa Business Times catches some of the best from 2017.
Pinterest’s Venice Carnival archives are an excellent source for costume inspiration.
This Business Insider article looks at some of the highlights from the 2016 Carnival.