Russia’s elite descended on London for their annual debutante ball in what could be mistaken for a mass wedding.
Scores of young girls, aged between 16 and 25, donned white bridal gowns, glittering tiaras, long white gloves and carried bouquets of flowers as they were paraded around the dance floor by their handsome escorts.
Held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the Russian Debutante Ball, whose patron Princess Olga Andreevna Romanoff is a descendant of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, is now in its fifth year.
The girls were whisked around the dance floor by their escorts in the parade of well-rehearsed synchronised dancing.
Not one step was out of place as the eligible young women smiled away while performing for guests who were seated around the hall, quaffing on champagne and caviar.
A debutante couple look ready to walk the aisle as this glamorous beauty decked in a lace white gown is escorted to the dance floor by her handsome kilt-wearing escort
All debutantes, aged between 16 and 25, dress up in the same white or cream shade of dress, carrying floral bouquets
The girls are whisked around on the dance floor by their escorts who are wearing coat tails and white matching gloves
Actress Lana Holloway was a guest at the ball which was held a London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair
Actress Lana Holloway was a guest at the ball, donning a sparkling gown and matching shoes.
Traditionally, debutante balls were a way to introduce young ladies from upper class or aristocratic families who had come of age into society.
The white gowns reminiscent of wedding dresses – a reminder that they were now eligible to wed.
Couples wait patiently together backstage before they are announced and presented to the waiting audience.
They carefully descend the stairwell in pairs, the girls grasping gently onto their escort’s hand.
The balls used to be designed to encourage men and women to unite – it now has a friendlier and more modern approach, helping youngsters from all over the world to form friendships.
One smiling couple wait patiently backstage before they are announced to the waiting crowd
Historic: Traditionally, debutante balls were a way to introduce young ladies from upper class or aristocratic families who had come of age into society
Debutante balls are often assumed to be a uniquely British tradition (our most famous being the Queen Charlotte’s Ball, dating back to the days of George III, when girls were presented to the queen to celebrate her birthday).
However, in the early 19th century they were just as much of a fixture among the European and Russian aristocracy.
In Russia, the party stopped abruptly after the 1917 revolution, during which Tsar Nicholas was executed with his family. But interest in the tradition picked up again in the post-Communist 1990s.
With Russian nationals now scattered across the globe, the ball’s organiser Dr Elisabeth Smagin-Melloni has said it is a response to an increase in demand for what she refers to as ‘a taste of Russian history and culture and a feeling of togetherness’.
Lord Alan West appeared at the event surrounded by a gaggle of female guests all dressed in their best evening wear
A brunette debutante stands waiting for her escort to take her to the dance floor wearing a tulle gown
Friendly competition: For one debutante she was caught at the wrong moment as she looked on at one smiling couple
Don’t trip! The debutantes carefully descend the stairwell accompanied by their escorts as they prepare to be announced