Monday, 26 January 2009

Kensington Palace - To Deb or not to Deb?

Recently, I went to Kensington Palace to view the last debutantes exhibition.
The exhibit takes visitors on a journey into the glamorous and alluring world of the debutante with a new exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the last court presentations. The last debutantes were presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March 1958. After making their curtesies, some cheeky debs stole palace teaspoons to take home as souvenirs.

The main aim of the debutante was to acquire and secure a weathy husband.
A debutante would go out into the world and attend a series of balls and parties for a season and other high society functions to attract an affluent man for the purpose of marriage.

To Deb or not to Deb? How does being a debutante hold up in today's modern world?Have expectations of men and women changed since the 1950's? In the exhibit, their was a multimedia video interviewing young Drama students from Charles Catholic Sixth Form College. In their video they reflect on their own experiences in comparison to the young debutantes of 1958. Unlike the debutantes, most girls want to work and be independent of a man. Most of the young women in the interview, stated strongly that it was highly imperative for their success to go to college and to have careers. They feel that their role as wife and mother were secondary to that of having a career and making something of themselves. In addition, that depending on a man to provide meaning and a sense of purpose was considered old fashioned and outdated.

After many young womens parents were paying fees to pretend to be a debutante, Finally, Lord Chamberlain claimed the end of a dying and outdated tradition and that was the end of the Debutante as we know it.

For more blogs by Sabrina Bravissimo



Royal Historical Palaces

What should visitors expect?
The last debutantes exhibition will draw visitors into the world of the debutante.

Visitors experienced the bewildering rules of etiquette, dizzying schedule of presentations, cocktail parties and dances and they will have the chance to be schooled in the art of the perfect curtsey.

The glamorous gowns of some of the last ‘debs’ were displayed alongside photographs and personal memories, creating an evocative multimedia experience.

The exhibition will capture the spirit of a world in transition in which the status of the upper classes became a subject of fierce debate. With the diminishing spectre of world war, independence in the colonies and cultural revolution around the corner, the debutantes’ days were numbered.

Against a mix of ceremony and indulgence, the exhibition illustrates the social unrest, political activism and teenage culture that set the scene of change in Britain during the summer of 1958: the year of the last debutantes.

Fashionable afternoon dresses and ball gowns, including stunning examples of couture by Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain, as well as accessories worn by some of the ‘debs’ during the final Season of 1958 will be displayed in this multimedia exhibition which tells their stories against the backdrop of dramatic social change that heralded the arrival of the swinging sixties.


In the United Kingdom, until 1958 debutantes were presented at court at the start of the social season. Only ladies who had already been presented were entitled to present another lady, which ensured the social exclusivity of the privilege. Most women were presented by their own mothers, but this would not be possible if their own mother had not been presented, or was dead or absent from Court for any other reason. Hence, it was possible to be presented, instead, by another eligible woman, provided she personally knew and could vouch for the lady being presented. As well as debutantes properly so called, older women and married women who had not previously been presented could be presented at Court. A mother-in-law might, for example, present her new daughter-in-law.

The presentation, to the reigning monarch, followed an elaborate ritual, and the debutante was required to wear distinctive formal court dress. In particular, they were required either to carry feathers (usually in the form of an ostrich feather fan), or to wear feathers as part of their headdress. [1]

Queen Elizabeth II abolished the ceremony of presentation at Court of debutantes in 1958. Attempts were made to keep the tradition going by organising a series of parties for young girls who might otherwise have been presented at Court in their first season (to which suitable young men were also invited). However, the withdrawal of royal patronage made these occasions increasingly insignificant, and scarcely distinguishable from any other part of the social season.

However, the expression "debutante" or "deb" for short continues to be used, especially in the press, to refer to young girls of marriageable age who participate in a semi-public upper class social scene. The expression "deb's delight" is applied to good looking unmarried young men from similar backgrounds.


Friday, 23 January 2009

Hampton Court Palace and Gardens

Picture 053
Picture 053,
originally uploaded by Sabrina Bravissimo.

Recently, I went to the Hampton Court Palace with my friend Aaron. I became a member of theRoyal Historic Palaces,which includes entry to all the grand palaces in London,plus the privlige of being invited to events unbeknownst to the public.The Five Great Royal Palaces are Kensington Palace,Tower of London, Banqueting House,Kew Gardens, and Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court Palace,was the home of Henry VIII, and his
six wives, that's right, six wives. King Henry VIII was desperate to
get an heir for throne, so he fought tooth and nail to get a proper wife
to bear him the proper male heir. Since, in those times it was deemed that only men could rule properly. The irony of it all, was that his daughter, Elizabeth ended up being the finest and most powerful monarch. England prospered and became very powerful and rich under her reign. Unfortunately, her mother Anne Boelyn was beheaded.

Stay Tuned for more LONDON DIARIES


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

My Neighborhood:Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate, Kensington

Currently, I live in Charming Bayswater which is located
2 blocks from Hyde Park in West London.
It's great to live so close to the Park because
on sunny days I can jog or if I am feeling lazy walk in Hyde Park.
Also, on Sunny days,( they do happen even in Winter)
I grab a croissant and a thermos and head down and walk through
Hyde Park and sit on a bench and have a great look at the Swans
and the Ducks and think about what I am going to do today
and think about the great mysteries of life, no, just kidding.

Straight through Hyde Park is Kensington Palace
and right next door, The Orangery.
The Orangery is great for tea and many
fabulous ambassadors and tourists dine there.
If you keep walking through Hyde Park for about 20 minutes,
you land on the corner of Marble Arch and Oxford Street.
Walk one block down and the fabulous and super cheap department
store,Primark is there. Primark, is one of London's great
finds. You can find really cool pajamas for £4 and
great berets for £5. All Londoners know and shop at Primark
for the cool chic clothes and great bargains.

OK, back to Bayswater,the neighborhood where
I have lived in for about 6 weeks now.Bayswater,
is opposite Hyde Park is a great little neighborhood,
filled with great Restaurants,two tube stations
( Queensway and Bayswater), a Skating rink, Casino,
Whiteley shopping Mall that has a Marks and Spencers
and an Odeon movie theater, and even a Tesco. Tesco, is the British
version of Ralphs or Safeway, but to me, it's more interesting
because they have all these great spices I have never seen before
(Morrocan Spices for Cous Cous, Bouqet Garni for Stews is only £1.29

Bayswater is big Arabic village, so many restaurants are Persian,
Middle Eastern and Lebanese. Many restaurants sell Shisha, which is flavored tobacco that you smoke from a Hookah.So, if you 'd like you can smoke your shishah and have some Morrocan Mint tea in these very groovy caravan type restaurants. I say,"No thank you! but you go on smoke your shishah and ruin your lungs see if I care." Anyway, it's a big past time in Bayswater.

If you walk West from Hyde Park on Queensway, make a left on
Westbourne Grove, you end up in chic and trendy Notting Hill.
Notting Hill where the famous movie with Hugh Grant and Julia
Roberts took place. My favorite chic street in Notting Hill is Ledbury
Road there is a Pisarro Gallery, a Dyptique pefumery and many
chic clothing stores. Notting Hill also has the cooleset restuaurant bar,
Beach Blanket Babylon where you can hang from the chandelier
in this ultra trendy restaurant that looks like a boat.

If you keep walking on Westbourne Grove you'll end up on Portobello
Road. Portobello Road is a shoppers paradise, it's about 100 stalls
of antique's and vintage finds.It's an absolute heaven and very fun.
When, I went today they had beautiful Swing Music playing,
which added a glamorous touch of a bygone era. If you continue walking
on Portobello Road for about 15 minutes, you end up at High Street
Kensington make a right and your about minutes to Kensington, another chic place for high end antiques. My yoga studio, The Life Center is close by.
If you walk another 5 minutes, you get to Kensingston Church Street,
Whole Foods London is there, being from California I feel like home
whenever I see Whole Foods, I get very excited. Anyway, Kate Hudson
was last seen there.If you keep walking another 10 minutes you end
up on Embassy Row, where you see the most glamorous and opulent
mansions that house the Ambassadors and the like. When, I went last
Sunday, there was a big riot in front of the Israeli Embassy
to protest the Gaza Attacks. You keep walking on Embassy Row
for 10 minutes (or longer if you want to admire the mansions)
and then you end up on Bayswater Road. Again, Hyde Parker right next to you.

You walk two blocks or as the Brits say 5 minutes and there,
you found my home. During this walk I found out later
they were protesting outside the Israeli Embassy for the attacks
in Gaza.

The whole loop takes about 45 minutes and in the freezing cold
is quite invigorating,energizing and very inspiring. It's Great Excercise
Blokes for burning off all the beer that you drink in the pub.

Cheers !

Beautiful, Eclectic Portobello Road in Notting Hill


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