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Call it the Super Bowl of debutante balls. The Bal Crillon des Debutantes — held annually at Paris’ stately Hôtel de Crillon — brings together the daughters of heavy hitters from the worlds of politics, entertainment, art and fashion. Over the last 17 years, Lauren Bush, Amanda Hearst, Victoria and Vanessa Traina, Kathleen Kennedy, Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) and Olivia Pei (granddaughter of I.M.) have all made their debuts at the gala affair, which is single-handedly organized by Parisian p.r. maven Ophélie Renouard.
On Saturday, 24 more girls, including Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter Scout, will don couture confections (for which they are fitted at least a month in advance) and baubles by event sponsor Adler Jewelry. Here, six of the standout participants.
This story first appeared in the November 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Hometown: Malibu, Calif.
Bloodline: Mother is “Dynasty” actress Catherine Oxenberg; grandmother is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia.
Education: Senior at Malibu High School.
Escort: Boyfriend Hudson Franzoni, son of “Gladiator” screenwriter David Franzoni.
Clothes call: Oxenberg, who is applying to culinary school in the fall, flew to New York sans parental supervision to pick out her dress at Mendel’s Midtown showroom. “My mom said, ‘Just find something that accentuates your waist,’” says Oxenberg.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Bloodline: Mother is Carrie Fisher; father is Creative Artists Agency honcho Bryan Lourd; grandmother is Debbie Reynolds.
Education: Junior at Los Angeles’ Harvard-Westlake School.
Escort: Classmate and boyfriend Adam Maltz
Father knows best: Lourd, whose extracurricular interests include guitar and piano, reported that
her father helped her pick out her gown. (It may not have hurt that he is friendly with Karl Lagerfeld.)
Chelsea Chiara Chau
Hometown: Hong Kong
Bloodline: Father is Kevin Chau, executive vice chairman of luxury watch distributor Sincere Watch.
Education: Sophomore at Stanford University.
Wearing: Stéphane Rolland
Escort: Yet to be determined at press time.
Snow bunny: Chau is an avid skier, routinely sneaking away from school to hit the slopes at nearby Lake Tahoe.
Hometown: New York City
Bloodline: Father is author James Mellon 2nd, of the banking family; mother is art restorer Vivian Mellon.
Education: Junior at Manhattan’s Nightingale-Bamford School, the all-girls school rumored to be the basis for “Gossip Girl.”
Wearing: Oscar de la Renta
Escort: Boyfriend Leonard Vigden
All in the family: Older sisters Diana and Angela came out at the Crillon in 2003 and 2006, respectively.
Victoria de Silva
Bloodline: Mother is Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia; father is Sir Desmond de Silva.
Education: Student at Heathfield St. Mary’s School, an elite all-girls boarding school where Sienna Miller, Marisa Berenson and Tamara Mellon are alumnae.
Wearing: Alexander McQueen
Escort: Rodrigo Olaechea, with whom de Silva is being set up by Crillon organizers. (Olaechea is related to Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing, wife of former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.)
Fairy godmother: De Silva will be the first girl in the ball’s history to wear Alexander McQueen, who offered to outfit her out of friendship to her godmother, the late Isabella Blow.
Hometown: Dakar, Senegal
Bloodline: Father is Senegalese pop singer Youssou N’Dour (who was described by Rolling Stone in 2004 as “perhaps the most famous singer alive” in Africa).
Education: Dakar French High School, where she’s studying economics.
Wearing: Franck Sorbier
Escort: Papou Ndiaye, friend of her older brother, Biran.
Role model: N’Dour flew to Sorbier’s Paris showroom with her father and brother in tow to select her dress. While there, she realized that her aunt had been a model for the designer years earlier.