If you didn't know, the old school tradition of a debutante ball is still alive and well — but apparently only if you're either ridiculously wealthy or the offspring of a celebrity. The 25th Bal des Debutantes went down on Saturday, Nov. 25, in Paris, France, and one of the selected young ladies was Reese Witherspoon's daughter. Ava Phillippe's debutante debut in Paris was the stuff that princess dreams are made of.
The annual event was held at the Peninsula Hotel in the heart of Paris. According to People, 20 young women hailing from multiple countries were formally presented into society — six of whom were Americans. Witherspoon's daughter was one of those invited to join in on the festivities. According to social media posts, Steve Harvey's daughter Lori Harvey was also in attendance.
I've never been to a debutante ball before and think the closest us "normal" girls will get to that experience is probably senior prom. But it never hurts to vicariously live through the lives of celebrities by Insta-stalking them into oblivion. And trust me, you'll want to creep hard after seeing how ridiculously fancy this shindig is. I mean, it doesn't get more romantic than the city of love, right? I'll just let the social media posts do the talking here.
Ava Phillippe's first waltz was absolutely magical. And don't get me started on her dress!
Just look at it twirl! If I were Phillippe I'd boomerang that spin.
Witherspoon accompanied her daughter, of course, and I swear they look more and more like twins every time I see them.
The tradition of a debutante ball dates back to 18th century England. According to the official Bal des Debutantes' site, young English ladies were formally presented into society by curtsying to the queen while wearing white dresses, gloves, and tiaras. The French adopted this tradition in 1957 but ended it just a couple of decades later in 1973.
Then, in 1992, Ophélie Renouard, a Parisian PR woman, reinvented the traditional concept of the debutante ball as a modern event that isn't exactly as formal as the balls of the past. The Bal des Debutantes (also referred to as the Crillon Ball, for all my The Hills fans out there) was conceptualized as a way to raise money for charities that service young women, which is incredibly awesome.
The event has taken on a life of its own, becoming something of a mini Met Gala, because these young ladies are bringing their absolute A-game when it comes to their choice of gowns. The ball is the only debutante ball where all the ladies making their debuts wear couture or haute couture, per the Bal des Debutantes website. So you can expect the dresses to be dazzling.
I mean seriously, just look at this peek of the lovely ladies' group photo.
Need more? Here's a better look at these amazing dresses:
And here's just a few of the incredible fashion houses represented at this year's event:
The Bal des Debutantes is an invitation-only event, so if you're dying to shell out the big bucks for a ticket to the ball, you're out of luck. But the good news is that social media is a thing now and you can stalk the ball until it almost feels like you were actually there. I know I definitely did.
And even though the event looks stunning and the dresses are to die for, I'd personally much rather attend Serena van der Woodsen's cotillion. The Gossip Girl version is just too good and too entertaining to pass up, don't you agree?