What a beautiful, sunny Wednesday morning it is here in New York City! I’m planning to enjoy the summer light coming through the windows in our studio today and then its home to prepare for my trip down south this weekend! I’m on my way to meet with all the darling debutantes of Dallas attending the debutante event at Neiman Marcus.
There is so much history behind the tradition of debutante balls but my love for them goes beyond that. Of course, Mes Cheres, any excuse to wear an ethereal white ballgown is an event worth participating in if you ask me. When you take into account the opportunity to wear opera length white gloves and promenade through a ballroom on the arm of a handsome young man in white tie, well….its just like a dream come to life!
Originally debutantes in the United Kingdom were presented to the King and Queen to initiate them into society. The strict dress code required a low cut, white gown with long train, gloves and feathers in hair. After making a deep curtsey to the monarch, the debutante then had to walk backward (one does not turn ones back on royalty) out of the room, hopefully without tripping over her gown’s train. Regretfully, Queen Elizabeth II abolished the ceremony in 1958 but the grand tradition lives on in the United States! It’s fascinating how each region of the U.S. has developed their own unique traditions. In St. Louis some debs wear lovely jewel toned gowns, and while walking backward in a train is no longer part of the American tradition, the curtsey has remained de rigueur. In Texas there is the famous curtsey known as the “Texas Dip”…. They must dip low enough for their nose to touch the skirt of their dress. I’ve even seen some debs practice the bow in the middle of the salon just to make sure they can “dip” in their gown!!
This is one reason I generally prefer a full skirt for these occasions.
It makes for a more graceful curtsey and complements the youthful charm of the debutante.
I can hardly wait to meet all the lovely girls preparing for their debut this weekend. It’s such a magical time in a young lady’s life. Naturally, I have always been inspired by age old traditions rich in pomp and circumstance and swathed in white satin. I’ll leave you with a photo of me and my dear friend Jillian when I had the honor of being her escort to her Cotillion at the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
To all my debs out there, best of luck! I hope to be part of honoring this beautiful tradition for many generations to come.