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Debutantes Party Like It's 1959

January 2, 2007, 12:00 AM EST

Who says tradition is dead? While most college-age girls geared up for decidedly different New Year’s Eve parties, last Friday, 53 “young women of distinction” (according to the event’s organizing committee) donned white ball gowns and long gloves and performed curtsies at the 52nd International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria.

As she has done for the past 40 years, Countess Tania Bobrinskoy decorated the hotel’s grand ballroom as a winter fairy-tale scene, with glistening snowflakes, glinting pink lights, and silvery birch trees (pink as a symbol of femininity, organizers told us, silver for elegance). More than 1,000 guests dined, danced to Lester Lanin’s orchestra, and witnessed the formal presentation of the debs, who are traditionally escorted by not one but two men (one in military uniform, the other in white tie).

Socialite Beatrice Joyce created the event in 1954 so young men and women of a certain standing could socialize on a global level. This year’s ball honored girls from Austria, China, France, Greece, Panama, Scotland, Switzerland, and 16 American states—including Ashley Bush, granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush. The cost of the affair is $12,000 per girl, which secures her place in the ball and includes a table for 12 guests.
Posted 01.02.07

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