Haute Society: 2011 Bal des Debutantes at Hotel Crillon


The 2011 Bal des Debutantes (also known as Le Bal) took place Thanksgiving Weekend on the magical Place de la Concorde. I happened to be in Paris the very next weekend for another bal which took place at the Palace Plessis-Belliere (the “sister” palace to the Hotel Crillon).  There was plenty of excitement still in the air.

L to R: Sarah Margaret Qualley, Hikari Mori, Leana Mallya, Tallulah Willis, and Marie-Sarah Carcassonne

25 debs were presented into high society and the proceeds were donated to Lauren Bush’s FEED foundation.

Princess Charlotte de Bourbon-Parme with her father

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Haute Society: Bal des Debutantes

Tallulah Willis looking chic in white fur upon arrival in Paris. (Photo credit: socialitelife)

Tonight the prestigious Bal Des Debutantes (also known as the Crillon Bal) is taking place at the uber-glam, uber-luxe Crillon Hotel on the magical Place de la Condorde.  What is the Bal des Debutantes?  It’s one of the most prestigious coming out balls in which a young lady is presented to society.  Some people may wonder if things like this still matter in this day and age (and if so why).  Well, I think they do!  And apparently so do the aristocratic and wealthy families who continue to participate in this tradition.

American Royalty: Lauren Bush (Photo Credit: Forbes.com)

Some debs participating this year include: HRH Charlotte de Bourbon Princess of Parma; Tallulah Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore; Eliza Fraser, granddaughter of the novelist Antonia Fraser; Flora Collins, daughter of Amy Fine Collins who is in charge of the International Best Dressed List; Vivian Chou, daughter of Silas Chou who is the majority owner of the Michael Kors label; Oriane Piccard whose grandfather was the inspiration for Professor Tournesol in The Adventures of Tinti; and Hikari Mori, granddaughter of designer Hanae Mori.  The money raised at the event will go to former Crillon deb Lauren Bush‘s FEED Foundation.

Actress Andie McDowell and debutante daughter Sarah Margaret Qualley. (Photo credit: Splash news/Daily Mail)

I’ve seen video footage of this event and read about some of the American debs in Vogue (couture dress shopping with Andre Leon Talley in Paris, natch).  It seems like a wonderful experience.  It’s not just the night of the Bal that matters, but it’s the connections the girls make, the friendships that are forged, and the memories that are made that last a lifetime.  Look, I wasn’t a deb, but it is on my list of things that I wish I had done when I was younger (along with studying abroad and going to a Swiss finishing school LOL).  However, as an independent woman who is beyond the age of my parents steering my life, I have been enriched by charting my own course and chasing my dreams.

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Haute Travels: The Dakine Valet Tote

There’s traveling and then there’s traveling well.  It’s fun to go to new and exotic destinations, but the journey is as important as the arrival, IMO.  Traveling with grace and dignity is increasingly harder with less than enthusiastic staff, rising costs, diminishing service, threats of terrorism, long lines, delays, etc etc etc.  I’ve been fine-tuning my travel style over the past few years that I’ve really been traveling abroad.  My latest quest: the perfect travel tote.

It’s never fun when you’re packing your purse/tote with in-flight essentials and it’s bursting at the seams.  I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the Lo and Sons OG (Overnight/Gym) bag.  After checking out the website, I wanted that bag.  But the $395 price tag put the brakes on that.  It’s probably worth every penny.  Even on sale (most recently 35% off) it was still about $200 which was out of my budget at the time.  So, I began my quest to find a dupe.

Enter the Dakine Valet:

The Dakine Valet (photo credit: 6pm)

It even looks like the OG.  Here are the specs:

  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Fits most 13″ laptops
  • Adjustable and removable shoulder strap
  • Custom metal hardware
  • Zippered closure
  • Exterior zippered pocket
  • Interior organizer pockets
  • Open back panel to slide over travel bag handle

Size: 15 x 12 x 7″
Strap drop 10″

Here’s a video of the bag in action:

It seems pretty comparable to the OG.  But it retails for $62 at Dakine.  Of course, with Black Friday deals galore, you can get it for even less.  The only negative (there has to be one, right?): I can’t find it in plain black.  It comes in great prints and patterns.  But if you want a black bag, you’ll have to settle for the hounds tooth pattern in the photo above with either magenta or lime lettering and zipper closures.  For me, the possibility of getting travel friendly bag at such a good price point was worth it.  Crossing fingers that it works!  If not, I’ll be saving up for the OG.

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Haute Spot: Is Dita von Teese’s Look Attainable?

Dita at the Australian Melbourne Cup (Source: Dita von Teese)

After seeing the latest round of photos of my style icon (second only to Audrey Hepburn in my eyes) Dita von Teese, I sighed in raptures.  I’m a heterosexual female who adores fashion, Paris and glamour.  But there’s just something about Dita: I think I have a crush on her.  As I poured over the latest round of photos, I chided myself: why couldn’t I be lithe, graceful, and impeccable at all times?  Is Dita von Teese’s look even attainable for the average working woman?  While there can only be one Lord of the Rings Dita, I do think there are some things that us mere mortals can do to have a little of her style rub off on us.

Source: Just Jared

1.Dare to be unique.  You don’t become a darling of the fashion world and a fashion icon by blending in with the crowd.

Source: Just Jared

2. The F-word: Embrace your femininity and cultivate a “highly feminine” look.  Wear dresses most of the time.  Wear hosiery.  For God’s sake, wear a little makeup!  Dita’s look seems to consist of foundation, powder, red lipstick, liquid eyeliner and blush.  If she wears more than that, she’s good because I can’t detect it.

Source: Purse Forum

3. Go vintage (or look vintage): I’ve had bad luck buying vintage things over the years but it’s possible to look deliciously retro while wearing modern designers.  Dita seems to wear a fair amount of Parisian ready-to-wear and couture. Go for retro makeup, nails, (i.e. the infamous half-moon manicure), and hairstyles.

Source: Just Jared

4. The Devil is in the Details: Don’t forget to don a chapeau (i.e. a sequined beret, fascinator or hat), wear opera-length gloves, or tie a silk head-scarf Grace Kelly style.

Source: Just Jared

5. Glamour is the name of the game: wear things that make you look and feel glam i.e. fur (even if faux if all you can afford), lace, sequins, etc. Watch 1940s film noir for inspiration. (I highly recommend The Asphalt Jungle and Murder My Sweet.)  Wear the highest heels you can manage, even if it’s only 2 inches.  You just feel different when you wear heels (and you walk differently too).  Wear signature pieces of jewelry i.e. brooches, rings, necklaces that make a statement (costume is okay).

The most important advice is, I think, to be true to yourself, follow your passion, and the world can become your oyster.  Here’s to living a fabulous life like Dita von Teese!

 

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Rachel Rachel Roy Cocoon Trench Dress

Rachel Rachel Roy is having a dress sale!  All dresses are 25% off, including those on sale.  I LOVE trench coats (Rachel Roy makes some fabulous ones) and this dress is very chic.  This might make an appearance at NYFW. :)

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Vogue Paris September 2011: Charlotte Casiraghi

Source: Storemags

Emmanuelle Alt, editrice of Vogue Paris chose a new muse for the magazine’s mega fall fashion issue–Charlotte Casiraghi.  Casiraghi of Monegasque fame (Princess Caroline is her mother and her grandmother was Princess Grace) has been a society column fixture for years, but this was the year she willingly stepped into the spotlight.

Photos by Mario Testino

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Neutrals Rule

My love affair with beige, cream, tan, taupe continues.  I just ordered these lovelies from ASOS:

Source: ASOS

ASOS Curve Exclusive Belted Short

Source: ASOS

ASOS Curve Soft Belted Peg Leg Pants

Source: ASOS

ASOS Curve Ruched Waist Shift Dress

Modeling photos to come! (It’s my first time ordering clothes from ASOS–let’s hope they fit!)

 

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