The Crillon Ball: A Beginners Guide

by Chiara Atik · November 24, 2009

    An Indian Princess, A British Lady, and daughters of American Hollywood royalty are among the lucky 24 young ladies who are set to debut at Paris' annual Crillon Ball, known in Paris simply as "Le Bal".-

    Clint Eastwood's daughter Francesca, Forrest Whitaker's daughter Autumn, and Lady Diana's niece Kitty will all be making their official debuts on Saturday night at the Hotel Crillon, which overlooks the Place de la Concorde. Unlike its (sometimes garish) American counterparts, don't expect white flouncy dresses and awkward father-daughter dances; these cosmopolitan ladies will be waltzing the night away in haute couture dresses "in the arms of their cavaliers" (the most old-fashioned sentence to be typed on a website, ever). Past debutantes include Dree Hemingway, Amanda and Lydia Hearst, and Lauren Bush. Popular blogger Jane Aldridge is currently in Paris, prepping for the big night. And you can bet Serena Bancroft is gonna be all over this in five years.

    So what is it like being one of these impossibly beautiful, impossibly well-connected, and impossibly lucky debs?

    Well, first, someone from the Crillon committee swings by to take some casual "at home" pictures of you and your family.

    Nothing fancy, maybe just some shots of you on the front lawn....

    Then maybe some pictures with your sisters in the living room, or with your dad, who happens to be a prince,hanging out in the Library. You know. Candid, casual shots..... - After that, you'll probably have to spend a Saturday or so popping across the Atlantic Ocean (either to New York, or Paris) for dress fittings with Oliver Theyskens, Vivienne Westwood, or Oscar De La Renta...

    - It's a total drag....


    Every Crillon girl knows that they'll look practically naked in their custom-made Chanel Couture gown without the right accessories. So a trip to the jeweler is next.




    Be it Prom or a Debutante Ball with 300 members of the international media,  getting ready is the best part of going to a dance. It helps when you have Paris' best hair and makeup artists helping you out.


    You DID remember to find a date, or "Cavalier", among your handsome, aristocratic friends, right? Caveat: Cavaliers must know how to waltz.

    The rest is relatively easy: waltz the night away like Cinderella, and try to remember that, at 18, this might be the best night of your life.

    [All photos via]