Eyes Wide Shut, 1999
Inspired by commedia dell'arte, the Venetian mask has historically been an accessory that allows partygoers to disguise identity and status, freeing one to act outside of the boundaries of social norm. A great example is in Stanley Kubrick's final opus Eyes Wide Shut. When Tom Cruise surreptitiously crashes an orgiastic, masonic sex party, it is not the acts themselves that disturb, but rather the masked identities. For the rest of us, a mask can lend a certain air of deviant aristocratic sexuality to a chic evening look (see Lanvin's Fall menswear ads or Dior's 2009 Resort show). They also come in handy as reputation savers if you tend to drink beyond your social tolerance, though in Kate and Pete's instance (see below), they weren't really fooling anybody.
Christian Dior Resort 2009
Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2009
Lanvin Fall 2009
Kate Moss, Interview September 2008
Kate Moss and Pete Doherty, Moet & Chandon Masquerade Ball October 2006