Each year of le Bal is special – so much that one can start thinking will there ever be a girl not worth mentioning… In 2006, three 18-year olds – Zara Beard, Veronica Chou and Hannah Olivennes were shining brighter than the stars of the night.
Daughter of legendary photographer and party idol Peter Beard, Zara, chose a tanned Christian Dior haute couture for her social debut. It was two years after her father dedicated a book to his beloved daughter, named “Zara’s tales” – a tribute to his two great lifetime loves – Zara and Africa.
One of Asia’s most powerful businesswomen now – Veronica Chou stood out in Zac Posen back in that 2006 le Bal magical night. Smart, determined and beautiful, she is writing her own history, aside from being the heiress of a prominent fashion family. She decided to stay out of her father’s business and became the president of her own company Iconix China Group- introducing American brands to the Asian market. Called the “queen of the fashion kingdom” throughout China, Veronica successfully maneuvers between busy career and happy family. In 2012 she married Russian entrepreneur Evgeny Klyucharev – the founder and president of Key Asset Holdings in spectacular Russian-Chinese styled wedding.
Chanel haute couture turned humble Hannah Olivennes into the belle of the ball. Daughter of actress Kristin Scott Thomas, Hannah has a talent of her own and is currently a journalist. She works for International New York Times in London and is published in prestigious print publications, such as The Guardian, The Observer, and The International Herald Tribune.
The IT girl from 2007 le Bal edition is Lily Collins. Then 18-year old daughter of eminent singer Phil Collins was chosen by Chanel to make her society debut in a gorgeous haute couture gown of the brand. Her debut truly made an impression – after being featured in the TV series of “The Hills” /season 3/, she was named “International model of the year” by the Spanish edition of Glamour magazine next year. In 2009 she appeared on its August cover. Lily is a model and an actress but she also has a talent for writing. As a teenager, Collins wrote a column (titled NY Confidential) for the British magazine Elle Girl. She has also written for Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and the Los Angeles Times magazines.
2008 was deb year for two young actresses, justifying their origins – Anouchka Delon and Scout LaRue Willis.
Scout was 17, wearing chic and impressive haute couture gown by Christian Lacroix. Her career had already kicked-off with three movies and two TV appearances. As the middle daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, she and her 2 sisters are only allowed to take part in movies their parents are in. Scout recently graduated from Brown University, where she worked on a music project, contributing vocals for young talent Nicolas Jaar that were broadly appreciated. Accordingly, it will be no wonder if Scout trails to career in music…
Delicate and graceful, Alain Delon’s daughter, Anouchka, allured the audience in her Elie Saab haute couture ball gown. She was 18 and became a charming sensation with her beautiful eyes – one blue, one brown. Anouchka was co-starring with her father in “An ordinary day” at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès – Théâtre Debussy, in Cannes that showcased her indisputable talent. Young but committed, she has a four-year relationship with Julien Dereins. The adorable couple attends galas and social events always hand-in-hand.
While I’m in the mood for famous actors’ descendants, I have to mention 2009 debs Francesca Eastwood and Autumn Whitaker. It was the year of US celebrity daughters – except for these two girls the glam of the night was co-stolen by Jane Aldridge.
Francesca is the daughter of Clint Eastwood and Frances Fisher. She was only 16 when she made her social debut at le Bal in a baby blue Dolce&Gabbana Couture dress that perfectly complemented her same-colored eyes. While looking innocent, Francesca is rather wild – last year she got married to Jonah Hill’s brother – Jordan Feldstein, in Vegas but the matrimony only lasted a week before she filed for annulment. Francesca is an actress and was Miss Golden Globe 2013.
Autumn Whitaker excelled as belle of the ball in a stylish tanned Jason Wu gown, matched with spectacular diamond-white gold jewelry set by Adler. She was 17 but her genes had already blossomed and she looked just as gorgeous as her supermodel mother.
Jane Aldridge was also just 17 but she already had a successful blogger’s career. Her mother is a former model and currently, also a home décor blogger, so it’s no wonder where Jane’s looks and talent come from. She looked stunning in a black and white Chanel haute couture dress that ratified her influence and fashion insight. She was invited to cover le Bal’s latest edition on her online platform and recently announced the launch of a new project that I’m personally looking forward to.
There was a gap in le Bal editions in 2010. However, next year makes up for that loss. 2011 was deb year for some of the most prominent heiresses today – Elisabeth Woodward and Alexandra Spencer from the financial perspective; Hikari Mori, identical twins Misha and Theresa Horne, Remy Fisher, Shaiyra Devi of Kapurthala, Flora Collins and Vivian Chou from the fashion industry; Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor, Tallulah Willis and Margaret Qualley from show business.
Both Elisabeth Woodward and Alexandra Spencer chose awing white gowns for their social debuts. Except for wealthy families in the business of finance, they have mothers, doing lots of charitable work in common. Alexandra –ICAP (world’s leading inter dealer broker) chief executive’s daughter strode in Maxime Simoens haute couture, which made her one of the top 5 best-dressed 2011 debutants. Elisabeth was 18, dressed in a magnificent Vera Wang black-belted dress. The heiress of the Hanover banking fortune is now studying history and comparative literature at Brown University and works as a journalist at The Huffington Post. She’s also heavily involved in charitable work with her mother, managing an educational program for adolescent girls in Ethiopia.
If you were a heiress to a fashion empire, would you wear your own heritage? Hikari Mori did – at 2011 le Bal she debuted in a vintage fuchsia haute couture dress, designed by her grandmother, Hanae Mori. Then 19-year old Hikari was already an actress and a successful model in Japan.
The daughters of the “driving force” behind J Crew brand, Misha and Theresa Horne played a dual angel-devil game in House of Worth angelic white and seductive black matching gowns.
GAP founder’s granddaughter, Remy Fisher chose royal blue Gaultier Paris haute couture gown, while the niece of LVMH Asia representative stepped out in a parrot green Lecoanet-Hémant. Indian royal heiress Shaiyra Devi was 19 and already a poetess, studying liberal arts in the US.
Flora Collins appeared in Carolina Herrera and naturally, was in top 5 best-dressed debutantes list. Herrera personally helped the young new Yorker in that blush-toned exquisite choice. Her mother is Vanity Fair’s best-dressed list editor and her father teaches art history at Parsons the New School for Design. Flora herself has a talent for writing and has articles in Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair. Collins is currently a sophomore at Vassar College, majoring in English. In 2012 she won an Adroit Prize in Fiction for her story “Debbie”.
Five years after her sister’s debut, Vivian Chou showcased her own brilliance in fire red Yves St Laurent Haute Couture. “The fashion empress”, as the press named her and Veronica can often be seen at New York Fashion Week Michael Kors defiles which is only natural, since her father is the brand’s majority owner. While she’s not yet as famous as her older sister, I’m sure we’ll soon hear a lot more about her.
Chanel haute couture was 19-year old Atlanta de Cadanet Taylor’s choice for her le Bal appearance. She is Duran Duran bassist John Taylor’s daughter and already a style icon. Atlanta is a NEXT model and DJ, constantly in the spotlight. Her background, sense of fashion, beauty and talent make her a definite IT girl. She’s been in Tatler, Glamour, V Magazine, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan, she’s worked for Forever 21 and Net-a-Porter. Last year Atlanta moved to New York from London and currently she’s conquering Manhattan.
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s youngest daughter, Tallulah attended le Bal at the age of 17 (3 years after sister Scout). Her black Lanvin gown was bewitching, especially with the silver-sequined décolleté that perfectly enhanced her sparkling blue eyes. Her two sisters, Scout and Rumer played along with father Bruce for the special night with the young actress.
Another actress successor and younger sister of the former deb Rainey (six years earlier) at the grand 2011 event was Margaret Qualley, who was then 16 years old. She mastered the Elie Saab haute couture gown with the grace of a lifelong dancer and the pose of a future model. Her success in the world of fashion wasn’t much later – in 2012 Margaret marched the catwalk for Chanel and Valentino, got featured in Vogue Russia, Teen Vogue and Interview Magazine and became an IMG model. The gifted Andie MacDowell heiress is now a student at NYU and is getting ready for her TV debut this summer in “The Leftovers”, co-starring with Liv Tyler.
Four names stand out in le Bal 20th anniversary edition. What unites them is the American-French bond. Shanna Besson and Sophia Stallone, representing the glamorous movie heritage, Bronwen Carter – Vanity Fair chief editor’s daughter, and Lily Rivkin, daughter of the American ambassador in Paris.
19-year old Shanna wore an amazing sequined multi-colored Chanel haute couture gown. She is pursuing a career in acting and directing movies, just like her parents.
Sophia Stallone, the “love of Sly’s life”, as her mother calls her, looked every bit princess in the baby blue Elie Saab haute couture dress. It was a tough year for her, expecting a heart operation the next month after le Bal but that didn’t spoil the least her starlight debut. The whole family was there to enjoy Sophia and Sly’s opening dance and to admire the eldest Stallone daughter social debut.
Bronwen Carter chose Carolina Herrera and Lily Rivkin – Ralph Lauren for their dazzling debuts. I have no current information on Graydon Carter and Cynthia Williamson’s only daughter but I’m sure she’s yet to be heard of. Lily is a Yale student now, with intended major in English or History and she wrote a Vogue article about Le Bal des Debutantes the year following her participation. She’ll most probably pursue a career in journalism.
Latest le Bal edition was last year and it was the night of the smart young beauties. Kyra Kennedy – the niece of late President John F. Kennedy, Lady Amelia Windsor – the great-great granddaughter of king George V and Lauren Marbe – the only girl in the history of the event, invited not for her origins but simply for her brains – having IQ higher than Bill Gates and Albert Einstein!
18-year old Kyra wore icy-blue Christian Dior haute couture gown to open the ball dance floor with her father Robert F. Kennedy. The elegant dress was the first couture wear for the young heiress. She was an intern at the fashion house and is hoping to study at FIT.
Same-age Lady Windsor was sparkling in Elie Saab haute couture. The heiress of the British throne also has a professional interest in fashion and she’s done an internship for Chanel. With her graceful look and talent, I’m sure she’ll be a success.
Lauren Marbe’s first couture gown and high-society look was a cream dress by Anne Valérie Hash. The 17-year old entered the list of the world’s smartest teenagers the previous year with IQ score of 161! The smart, beautiful and talented (she sings and plays a piano) Mensa member is yet to determine her future path but I have no doubt it will be one of a leader!
The further we go through le Bal editions, the younger the girls become. Their careers are just emerging and some are still sophomores. We are yet to witness these fine young ladies’ progress and this is the most exciting part of the story! One thing is certain – the event is a right place to look at when in search of promising young beauties…