This year’s Bal de Debutantes (Debutantes’ Ball) at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris will feature two Chinese ‘princesses’:
Two daughters of prominent Chinese families are to lead a pack of young debutantes at an extravagant Paris ball on the weekend that looms large in the calendars of the planet’s rich and powerful.
The presence of Chen Xiaodan, the daughter of the governor of the Bank of China, and Veronica Chou, the daughter of an influential tycoon, confirmed the growing stature of Chinese on the international jet-set circuit.
The annual ball is the continuation of an European aristocratic tradition whose purpose is to introduce young girls from wealthy and powerful families (ages 15-19) to society. The tradition had perhaps fallen into abeyance during the 20th century (or perhaps before) but was restarted by Jacques Chazot in 1957 and then modernized by Ophélie Renouard in 1990. The young women get to pick who takes them (a dashing prince, perhaps) and wear dresses made by famous designers. The money goes the Pierre and Marie Curie Foundation. There have been several Chinese women who have gone in the past to hobnob with the other members of the ruling elite:
Bao Bao Wan, granddaughter of Wan Li, former chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress and executive vice-premier of China as well as daughter of Wan Jifei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trading.
Shanghaiist contributor Hélène helped with this post.
Photo from affordablehousinginstitute.org.