Tuesday, June 3, 2014

St. George’s Society 2014 English Ball

I was honored to receive an invitation to St. George’s Society English Ball. This year the coveted society ball was held at 583 Park Avenue.
The English Ball, at which guests wear formal attire with decorations, is the Society’s major annual fundraiser with proceeds going directly to its charitable programs.

Since it began in 1770 as a banquet to celebrate St. George, the patron saint of England, it has been with rare exceptions held every year since and is now established as the premier English social event in New York.

In 1995, the Society established the Medal of Honor, to recognize a person for exemplary service to British interests and/or the international community at large and it was decided that this honor would be awarded every year at the English Ball. Previous distinguished recipients include Sir Win Bischoff of Lloyds Banking Group, Bob Diamond of Barclays, Angela Ahrendts of Burberry, Mark C. Pigott, KBE of PACCAR; Lionel Barber of The Financial Times; Sir John Rose of Rolls-Royce; Martin J. Sullivan, OBE of Willis; and Sir Howard Stringer of Sony Corporation of America.

This year the Society honored Wilbur Ross, CEO of WL Ross & Co. LLC. A well-known private equity investor in the U.S., Mr. Ross was designated one of 50 most influential people in global finance by Bloomberg Businessweek.

 “I am honored to have been awarded the St. George’s Society’s Medal of Honor and to associated with the organization, which has an extraordinary history of helping British and Commonwealth nationals in the New York area, said Mr. Ross.

The Honorary Chair of the 2014 English Ball is Hilary Geary Ross, with co-chairs JoAnne Davidson and Ceasar N. Anquillare JP.

The Society’s Royal Patron is HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO, who takes an active interest in the charity’s work.

St. George’s Society of New York was founded in 1770 by English settlers for the purpose of offering advice and relief to fellow Englishmen in need or distress. Its mission today is to assist disadvantaged people of British and Commonwealth heritage living in the New York area. The Society provides two major forms of assistance, a Beneficiary Program helping elderly and disabled people, and a Scholarship Program at Lehman College (part of CUNY) supporting outstanding students with university tuition.

Visit www.stgeorgessociety.org to learn more and donate.

My carriage for the Ball came in the form of a fancy UBER Lincoln. It conveniently arrived within 10 minutes of me putting in a request. This was great timing as it was after 6pm and rush-hour in the busy city.  Ironically, my driver was not the least bit surprised that I was wearing a ball gown and that I was en route to a ball. He began to tell me his stories of driving royals from Monaco a few years ago. How brilliant is fate for me to get him as my driver?! It was fascinating to hear the rest of his story as he drove me to my own ‘royal’ evening.

Arriving at 583 Park Avenue felt so surreal. A formally dressed attendant promptly went to open my car door. I stepped out in complete awe as I took a better look at the ritzy building in front of me.

583 Park Avenue is a landmark building that was originally built in 1923. The venue’s design was reminiscent of a bygone era and the exterior was certainly unparalleled to the opulence waiting inside…

I wore an enchanting golden floral lace evening gown by THEIA to the English Ball. The gown was absolutely perfect for this once in a lifetime occasion. I’ll never forget the beautiful moments of wearing this extraordinary piece to the ball. So many guests came up to tell me how much they loved the dress. THEIA’s designer Don O'Neill certainly knows how to create a wearable work of art!
The gown had the most perfect sweetheart neckline to accommodate its strapless bodice. The fitted low waist and full-length skirt made me look and feel like a real Princess. Since the gown was such a show stealer by itself I chose a pair of blue zircon stone statement earrings by Jill Zarin to balance the look.

Finally, my look was complete with an up do by Celebrity Stylist Eran Edri. Eran was originally at Francky L'Official in NYC but is now a lead stylist at Red Market Salon in Miami.

The cocktail room at the English Ball looked so majestic with its purplish royal hue. The space started to fill up with ladies in beautiful long gowns escorted by their suited dates.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rose Billings, a Celebrity Photographer who currently shoots society parties for Black Tie Magazine. Rose gave me a few pointers of how to ‘not look too posed’ in photos.

A waiter dressed in white then came over to offer a sampling of caviar hors dourves. The Russian in me couldn’t help but to indulge! :P

Whenever I wear a fancy ball gown I need to snap a mandatory photo on top of a staircase. There is something so romantic about walking down a staircase in a beautiful gown… I never went to prom so I guess a part of me loves to re-create that moment.  

After the ball I snapped a few more photos on a dreamy, lit up Park ave.

The English Ball was a complete dream to experience. It's incredible to know that it has been going on almost every year since 1770 and now I had a chance to experience the 244th one.

Thank you so much to the St. George Society for having me!  

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