Titles and Tiaras: Paris’s Le Bal des Débutantes Dripped in Old Word Glamour

While Thanksgiving festivities and glittering shopping adventures were taking place stateside, over the weekend in Paris, Le Bal des Débutantes, one of Europe’s most opulent debutante balls, took place inside the Shangri La Hotel.

The ball was organized by Ophélie Renouard to raise funds for the cardiology research unit ARCFA of Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital (specializing in care for children with heart defects all over the world) and World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to vulnerable communities during global crisis. Renouard revived Le Bal in the 1990s as a kind of update to the historic debutante balls that had taken place centuries before. The event brought together some of the most notable modern royals and young socialites and philanthropists from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the U.S.—all dressed in extravagant gowns, each to match their own personal style.

Countess Lara-Cosima Henckel von Donnersmarck (a TikTok favorite for her get ready with me videos in her lavish Parisian apartment as a Dior intern) opened up the ball with a dance with her father, the film director Count Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. With a newly debuted short-haired bob, she wore a stunning silver-y lilac Jean Paul Gaultier gown with golden motifs. She topped off the look with a diamond tiara.

Next came a waltz between all the debutantes and their fathers, who were passed onto their cavaliers for dancing with a live band. Archduchess Ildiko of Austria, Princess Lissie Selassie of Ethiopia (with Gregory Peck’s grandson, Harper, as her cavalier), and Marchesa Barbara Berlingier were just a few of the debutants in attendance, as well as Victoria Mestre-Cisneros, Lara Connor, Hannah Husain, Advaitesha Birla and Skye Wong among others. Wong wore a scarlet red, sweeping Vivienne Westwood gown, while Ildiko Von Habsbourg-Lorraine opted for a chic royal blue Alexis Mabille dress. Liza Webster wore a sculptural black and white Guo Pei creation and Lara Connor wore a tiered navy blue princess-like Carolina Herrera gown with bursts of pink and blue tulle.

More dancing, socializing, and champagne glass clinking took place under the glow of the purple light as the Norwegian singer Angelina Jordan gave a performance in a deep plum strapless gown and emerald tiara. A modern debutante ball calls for dressing up and decadent glamor, after all.