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The Bal des Etoiles, Pt. 1 : The Gowns

Jeff and I before the Bal des Etoiles in my first couture design

Jeff and I before the Bal des Etoiles in my first couture design

My husband, Jeff, and I recently traveled to Paris to attend the Bal des Etoiles, a gala benefitting Pain Without Borders.  The event is organized and orchestrated by the flawless Princess Catharine Colonna de Stigliano.  The weekend kicked off with a fabulous fete at the Institut du Monde Arabe. For the cocktail reception, I designed a cocktail dress in a rich emerald green silk and adorned with gold aleçon lace.  I paired it with my American Alligator Carousel Clutch and my Leone necklace with diamonds and rubies, as well as some pieces from an upcoming collection.  I topped the look off with my favorite pair of strass pumps by Christian Louboutin.   

Jeff, myself, and Dino at the cocktail reception at the Institut du Monde Arabe.

Jeff, myself, and Dino at the cocktail reception at the Institut du Monde Arabe.

The following day was spent in anticipation of the black tie gala held at the Cercle De L'Union Interalliée.  For this event, I took my first ever departure from accessories and designed my very first sartorial piece.  For this gown, I used the same gold aleçon lace that was used for the cocktail dress and blush and champagne tulle.    It was the most gratifying experience to see my vision come to life, what started as a sketch on the back of my checkbook at a dinner table turned into the most elegant and beautiful confection I have ever worn.  View some of my favorite images of the gown in the gallery below:

The last day of the Bal des Etoiles began with a brunch also held at the Cercle De L'Union Interallièe. For this I wore a dress that is very special to me.  In the 1970s, my grandmother wore a yellow raw silk dress with an ornate collar to a Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans.  This dress was passed onto me as a teenager.  I had always planned on recutting the gown and turning it into a cocktail dress, but it sat in my closet for over a decade in its original form.  I stumbled upon the dress a few weeks before the Bal des Etoiles, and knowing I needed a dress for the brunch (and wanting something no one else would have), I knew the time had come! It has a very Elizabeth Taylor, vintage-elegant feel, and I love, loved wearing a piece that my beautiful grandmother had worn so many decades ago. 

On the Left, my grandmother in the 1970s on her way to a Mardi Gras Ball.  On the right, the same dress given new life at the Bal des Etoiles brunch, and me a little sleepy-eyed after a long, very fun weekend.

Stay tuned for more on the Bal des Etoiles and our French getaway!