On The Avenue

Deb Ball Celebrates 64th Birthday

by Michael Gross Photographed by Michael Gross, Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan and Elaine and ChiChi Ubina
Sunday, December 30, 2018
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“Has England arrived?” one of the organizers of the International Debutante Ball was whispering on Saturday night in the Regency Room of the Pierre hotel. England, had, in fact, just arrived, in the persons of Elisa and Lara Defries, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Graham Defries, of Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire.  But France was only halfway in the house.  H.R.H. Princess Zita de Bourbon, Princesse de Parme, though listed on the invitation, had bailed out of the ball for reasons unknown, an insider whispered.  


No matter.  And no need to send in the tumbrels.  Because twenty-two young women of distinction made their debut at the 64th edition of the event, which proceeded from the receiving line to a glamorous dinner dance in the Pierre’s ballroom.  Each deb made an entrance in a designer gown, carrying a bouquet of pink roses in elbow length, opera-gloved hands, accompanied by her own escort in white tie and tails. As she walked into the spotlight to be formally presented, the Lester Lanin Orchestra played her country or state song.  


A patriotic event, the International Debutante Ball, a family occasion full of pomp, ceremony and highly decorated veterans, closes New York’s holiday social season with a whisper of youth and promise. Sponsored this year by Julia Irene Kauffman and The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, the ball benefits The International Debutante Ball Foundation charities, including the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club of New York City, which has been providing a home away from home for the men and women of our armed services since 1919. Co-Chairs were Ms. Anne Eisenhower and Mrs. David R. Hamilton. The Director and General Chairman was Mrs. Gregory S. Hedberg and additional Ball Chairmen included Mrs. Andrew E. Beer, Mrs. Spencer Neville Brown, Mrs. Ryland E.D. Chase, Mrs. D. David Eisenhower, Ms. Susan Eisenhower and Mrs. Jacqueline Mars.


America’s debs were Joile Jacqueline Vanier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jay David Vanier, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Graysen Leslie Airth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Airth of Newport Beach, California; Ireland Irving, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred R. Irving of Naples, Florida; Ella Albright Ekstrom, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Loren Ekstrom of Barrington, Illinois; Meredith Olivia Shields, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. Stratford Shields, of Chicago and New York; from New Jersey, Katharine Louise Benham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Michael Benham of Princeton, Adelaide Mathilde Escaravage, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Escaravage, of Far Hills, and Emila Esteves McManus, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John McManus, 0f Basking Ridge; New York’s Aubrienne Krysiewicz-Bell, daughter of Mr. Thomas Bell and Dr. Susan Krysiewicz; Mary Valentine Apple, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Valentin I. J. Apple of Winston Salem, North Carolina; Daniella Helena Cass, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald A. Cass of  Great Falls, Virginia; and three Texans, Catherine Fields Coselli, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Stapleton Coselli, of Houston, Olivia Claiborne Late, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Steven Late of Austin, and Dominique Lucile Melcher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Collins Goff of Ft. Worth, who was also accompanied by a younger sister who will shortly follow in her footsteps.  


The rest of the world was represented by Axelle Laurent Josi, daughter of Mr. Jean-Louis and Mrs. Stephanie Laurent Josi, of Brussels and Hong Kong; Catherine d’Andigne, daughter of Comte et Comtesse Arnaud d’Andigne, of Paris, Nikhar Tandon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Satyan Tandon of Mumbai, Princess Aurelia of Liechtenstein, daughter of Prince and Princess Hugo of Liechtenstein, who live in Valduz and Syrgenstein, Germany; and Lexa Drummond  and Charlotte Drummond-Herdman, daughter of Mr. Giles Herdman and The Honerable Mrs. Drummond-Herdman of Megginch Castle, Errol, Perthshire, Scotland, and London. 


 


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