Monaco’s Bal de la Rose has been a highlight of the spring social calendar since its creation by Princess Grace in 1954, now nearly seven decades ago. In honour of this Friday’s event, Monaco Life takes a look back at the glamour of the Rose Ball over the decades.
The 67th Rose Ball, held under the High Patronage of Prince Albert II and presided over by his sister Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is taking place on Saturday 25th March at the elegant Salle des Etoiles of Le Sporting. Not surprisingly, the event is a sell-out.
Steeped in tradition, this annual charity gala established by their mother, Princess Grace, has attracted the rich, the famous and the beautiful not only as the social event of the season, but as an exceptional way to support a good cause.
Over the years, the Bal de la Rose has been an extremely sophisticated event, often bucking trends. The first ball in 1954, for example, was held during the height of Latin dance mania. In response, Henry Astrik, the creative director of Société des Bains de Mer, suggested the waltz be ‘the dance’ of the gala, a retro twist that the guests adored. He also suggested using only roses to decorate the event, 25,000 of them in total, eschewing a beloved custom that still holds to this day. He also hired no less than 100 violinists to play the evening’s musical sets, a nod to Astrik’s sense of order.
Special guests have always been a part of the scene and have ranged from Hollywood royalty to actual royalty, including the likes of Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Natassja Kinski and Joan Collins. Since the 1990s, supermodels and fashion designers have been added to the list and the Rose Ball has been host to such household names as Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld, Claudia Schiffer, Christian Louboutin and Helena Christiansen.
The glitz and glamour of celebrities and personalities from outside the Principality are a draw, but no more so than its homegrown stars, namely the Princely family. Prince Albert II, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie have been major players and supporters, and more recently, Princess Charlene has been added to the already heady mix.
The grown children of the Grimaldi clan also make waves, with Charlotte Casiraghi, Chanel’s brand ambassador, and her husband Dimitri Rassam, Pierre Casiraghi and wife Beatrice Borromeo, Princess Alexandra of Hanover and husband Prince Christian, as well as Andrea and Tatiana Casiraghi taking their places in the spotlight.
DIFFERENT EVERY YEAR
In 1977, openly gay French dancer and socialite Jacques Chazot organised and performed at the Ball. From then on, the idea that each year would have its own theme emerged to embody the event and direct the dress code.
Other big-name organisers have helped keep this spirit of the gala alive. Fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Louboutin are amongst those who have created theme nights such as Manhattan, Havana or Les Années Folles that have delighted and inspired guests.
AND THIS YEAR…
For the 69th edition, fashion designer Chrisitian Louboutin will be creating the atmosphere of the Ball for the second time. He has chosen the extraordinarily fun theme of Bollywood, which will no doubt inspire some impressive costumes and entertainment.
The décor will be another wonder altogether, as guests will enter what feels like a film studio, replete with dancers and singers, and be taken on a journey by fictitious first-time attendee Beauty.
Jeremy-Loup Quer, the Paris Opera Ballet’s principal dancer, will share the stage with the famous choreographer and actor Punit J. Pathak as the story unfolds. Then, French singer Mika will perform as a fantastic finale act.
The Princess Grace Foundation, benefactor of the event’s largesse, has had the Rose Ball as its biggest fund raiser of the year since 1964, helping children and people in need through its humanitarian and philanthropic projects.
Featured image: Karl Lagerfeld, Caroline Princess of Hanover, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert at the 2014 Bal de la Rose. Photo source: Palais Princier