Ava Phillippe and Lori Harvey, daughters of Reese Witherspoon and Steve Harvey took part in the traditional "coming out" Bal des Debutantes in Paris this week for a traditional “coming out”. But before we talk about Parisian list of debutante let's go back in history a bit and reflect on the importance of keeping the tradition.
Debutante Ball was part of the Renaissance cultural and intellectual movement and it encouraged young men and women to be educated, well mannered, respectful, all those things and more that are lacking in the modern world.
The word debutante was adopted into English from French during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England in the second half of the 16th century, when she began the custom of formally presenting eligible young women at court. Back in the Victorian time young girls were kept closely guarded at home until about age 18. Debutante (French for female beginner) is a girl or young woman of an aristocratic or upper-class family who has reached maturity and, as a new adult, comes out into society at a formal "debut".
To gain entrance to a ball, débutantes must usually be recommended by a distinguished committee or sponsored by an established member of élite society, typically their mothers or other female relatives.
A completed education, and the quality of it, was extremely important for the girl who was "coming out". An accomplished lady spoke several languages, played piano and sang, painted in watercolors and oils, did needlepoint, memorized every member of the monarchy, peerage, and gentry, including family background, and learned classical history and geography.
Only a handful of girls met all the criteria. Everyone understood the impossibly high standards that were set, so not everyone could participate. But those would “come out” at smaller balls, or country dances, and relied on their families and friends to make connections and move them up the social strata.
Yes, back in the history the ball was the best venue for young ladies to encounter possible suitors. Some of you will argue that although tradition is important, it needs to change with society. Yes and today it is no longer be about finding a husband for a young woman, but what it is, is a way of introducing young adult to a bigger group, community, it's about recognizing and honoring young women and doing it gracefully. What is wrong with that?
The 25th annual Le Bal des Debutantes featured 20 young women. Ava Phillipe was joined by 5 Americans including Laila Blavatnik, daughter of Warner Music Group owner, and Lori Harvey, Steve Harvey’s step-daughter. Ava wore a stunning gold Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown that covered her shoulders and arms. She wore her blond hair down and kept her makeup simple. Her escort for the evening was Maharaja Padmanabh Singh, from the royal family of India’s Jaipur state and a member of the country’s national polo team.
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