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Old 09-05-2016, 10:50 PM
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Debutantes

The Debutante season of 1939
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:45 AM
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Lovely fascinating documentary, Cyril. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:12 PM
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The original debutantes wore long white dresses with hoop skirts and an ostrich feather in their hair.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:33 AM
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Are Princesses ever Debs? Or is there any official coming out into society for them? I've never thought about this before.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:10 PM
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There is no real London Season for young women any more in the sense that the people in the above documentary talk about, and of course no presentation at Court. However, the occasion known as Queen Charlotte's Ball still exists, in which young women dress in white and pastel evening gowns and tiaras and come out in a line to curtsey to a cake.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/ar...ety-event.html

Incidentally, the journalist is incorrect when she writes in the above article that debs curtsied to an iced cake at Buckingham Palace. In fact they were presented to the monarch and curtsied in front of him/her and other royals, sponsored by older female relatives, usually their mothers, who had themselves been presented when young.
Princesses therefore were never debutantes as that would mean their entry into Society was beginning by being presented to their own relative!

I think some balls are still held occasionally for upperclass young women at their parents' country houses when they're eighteen, similar to the very large parties heirs are given when they reach twenty one. The whole paraphernalia of 'coming out' has gone for ever though. I think the last Court Presentation was in 1958.
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Old 09-07-2016, 02:49 PM
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Debutantes

Why do debutantes today still curtsy when they are presented? I've never fully understood that. Also, why do Texas debs lower themselves almost to the floor? I've tried the Texas Dip, and not being from Texas, can't do it.


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Old 09-07-2016, 02:53 PM
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I think a lot of it is just plain old world traditions that have been kept alive. It used to be a big thing to have a "Sweet 16" party and there are various other traditions around the world that mark a rite of passage into womanhood.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:12 PM
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1930 Debutantes for the Court

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Old 09-07-2016, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
I think a lot of it is just plain old world traditions that have been kept alive. It used to be a big thing to have a "Sweet 16" party and there are various other traditions around the world that mark a rite of passage into womanhood.
Quincaneras come to mind. I saw photos if Cuban hermanaa's a few months before I went to Cuba. The dress, the party, it was amazing. They even do huge photo shoots. Could put weddings to shame. My family hosted a birthday gorgeous me, nothing big, but I swear my cake would not have gone amiss at a wedding.
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:10 PM
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Debutantes

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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
Quincaneras come to mind. I saw photos if Cuban hermanaa's a few months before I went to Cuba. The dress, the party, it was amazing. They even do huge photo shoots. Could put weddings to shame. My family hosted a birthday gorgeous me, nothing big, but I swear my cake would not have gone amiss at a wedding.

For my 16th birthday, we just went to Canada's Wonderland, which is only an hour away (45 minutes if my dad does the driving, which he did). I always complain to my mom about how some girls have formal dinner dances, and she says "That's an American thing." We're far from being rich; our whole family was farmers until my grandpa's day, but we did have a house way out in the country near Port Dover (which overlooked our neighbour's corn field) from when I was a baby until I was 18, then my parents sold it because it was getting too much for them. Even our permanent residence in the city (which my parents bought in 1981 and we still live there) was farm land up until the 1920's (our house was built in 1922, the year Grandpa was born).


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Old 09-08-2016, 01:15 PM
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For my 16th birthday, we just went to Canada's Wonderland, which is only an hour away (45 minutes if my dad does the driving, which he did). I always complain to my mom about how some girls have formal dinner dances, and she says "That's an American thing." We're far from being rich; our whole family was farmers until my grandpa's day, but we did have a house way out in the country near Port Dover (which overlooked our neighbour's corn field) from when I was a baby until I was 18, then my parents sold it because it was getting too much for them. Even our permanent residence in the city (which my parents bought in 1981 and we still live there) was farm land up until the 1920's (our house was built in 1922, the year Grandpa was born).


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Old 09-08-2016, 02:21 PM
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You should read "The Last Curtsey" by Fiona McCartney she was a Deb in the final season in 1958. It is a brilliant book, published about 10 years ago.


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Old 09-09-2016, 03:44 PM
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You should read "The Last Curtsey" by Fiona McCartney she was a Deb in the final season in 1958. It is a brilliant book, published about 10 years ago.


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I believe she was the last one presented.


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Old 09-17-2016, 03:23 PM
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Sept 10, 2016 - Queen Charlotte's Ball in London.
Luxarazzi: Archduke Alexander at Queen Charlotte's Ball
The London Season
In pictures: Debutantes at Queen Charlotte's Ball - Telegraph
Queen Charlotte's Ball Pictures and Photos | Getty Images
They now curtsy to the Queen Charlotte Cake. They all wear dresses by Berketex Bride. They raise money for charity all year long.
Lotsa tiaras to look at here folks!
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:28 PM
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Debutantes

When I told my mom the other day that they still have debutante balls in England and the US. she couldn't believe what I said! We're not a rich family, as I said a few posts ago, but she wouldn't let me debut even if we were, because she believes presentations are exploitation of women. She even refuses to be known as "Mrs. Robert Edwards" even after forty years of marriage, because she's not someone's property. Instead she's Mrs. Rita Edwards, which was not proper form in the early 20th century. My grandma signed my dad's and his brothers' and sister's report cards "Mrs. Wm. Edwards" because she grew up in an entirely different generation; same with my mom's mom, who also signed "Mrs. Samuel Embrey, Jr."


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Old 09-17-2016, 11:01 PM
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We have debutante balls here in Australia as well. The girls at my school see it as a wonderful chance to dress up and enjoy being spoilt for the night - not as exploitation or anything like that. The boys who are their partners also enjoy the evening and I have even known some of the boys to ask the girls to invite them to be their partners or offer to be the partner as they want to be involved. It is the biggest night of the social calendar for our senior students - even more than the Formal at the end of the school year. Probably for two reasons 1. some students don't attend the formal due to other commitments and 2. the deb ball is done in year 11 and so the students are able to share their memories with other students and staff while after the formal they don't return to school and half the staff don't attend.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:51 PM
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Our year 13 school ball was a debutant ball of sorts, as the school I went was one of those fancy girls schools who still can't decide on the worth of that whole feminism lark (NB: it was my mother's idea that I go there - I hated it due the the bullying and snobbery, I would have preferred the local state school we were zoned for but I digress...) Anyway, we did not need to wear white dresses (i wore black) but part of the 'tradition' of the event was that we had to be presented to the event by our fathers. Problem was that my parents divorced when I was 7 and my father wasn't really part of my childhood for various reasons - mostly that he often was out of the country and remarried and had children with his second wife fairly fast after the ink was dry on the divorce papers. On top of that me and my sister are twins meaning that we could not do it one at a time. One of the senior teachers suggested that our father come over from Melbourne to do it, but mother was not having a bar of that, meaning that me and my sister were the first to be presented by our mother in the history of the school (and the first set of twins but that's different.....)


Personally I find the whole idea of debutantes creepy and embarrassing; as its in practice two steps away from beauty pageants and those awful purity balls they have in the USA - they dont make boys go through stuff like this, why is it always the girls?
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:48 AM
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These are the sad deb stories , do we have any fun ones ?
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:49 AM
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I think the gist of the debutante tradition dates waaaay back to when girls reached a level of maturity and had finished their formal education and finishing school and were quite ready to be "presented" to London Society and were then officially on the "marriage market" for well heeled, eligible men of good standing. Being formally presented at court was a "feather" in one's cap and the stakes were higher for these young women to meet the creme de la creme.

To me its kind of comparable to a female slave market where the "goods" are paraded out to be claimed by men that needed a wife, hostess, mistress of the manor and baby factory for heirs. But that is a 21st century opinion. Of course it all was considered the norm back then and a young girl's dreams were to marry well. Girls also had dowries back then too to make them more "appealing" to a possible husband.

Those were the good old days eh?
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:07 AM
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Yes, I think being presented at Court in that particular way goes back to George III's day, when the London Season, which had been quite fluid, was becoming more formalised. When you read the memoirs of women who went through it in the 1930's and 40's they usually found it quite an ordeal but most enjoyed the Season afterwards, balls and parties and house parties, though some didn't of course. Married women too were presented, so they could later present their daughters and attend balls at BP etc.

In about 1911/12 one deb became a secret suffragist and when it came time for her to be presented to King George and Queen Mary she dropped to her knees before them and began to beg for the King to use his influence on the Government to grant votes for women.

It only lasted a few moments until officials came and hauled her away, but during this her mother fainted! I suppose in theory the girl concerned had been officially presented, but I doubt she went to any occasions at BP afterwards!
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