There was lots of excitement this past Saturday 30 March for the Bal de la Rose, an unmissable annual society event on the Rock, held in the Salle des Étoiles of Sporting Monte-Carlo. With the theme this year devoted to the Riviera and its pleasant way of life, this somewhat special Bal was marked throughout by the spirit and memory of a man who was one of its most distinguished personalities: the great couturier Karl Lagerfeld.
A French Riviera motif
After editions devoted to Havana, the Viennese Secession or Manhattan last year, the Bal de la Rose opened this spring season with a 1950s Riviera theme, in the Salle des Étoiles of Sporting Monte-Carlo. Some nine hundred guests were immersed in a bright, modern seaside ambiance, between long tables decked with flowers and tablecloths with large coloured stripes, an array of trompe-l'oeil deckchairs, and other 1950s-style details. The whole beach of Monte-Carlo Beach was replicated within the walls of the Salle des Étoiles, up to its legendary footbridge leading to the diving board, which dominated the scene here.
While the graphic designer and illustrator Mr. Z was in charge of the production, it was Karl Lagerfeld who came up with the idea of the 1950s Riviera décor. A final burst of flair for this friend so dear to the royal family, and to Princess Caroline in particular, and whose absence was sorely felt throughout the Bal de la Rose 2019. It was Karl who, since 1999, had been in charge of its artistic direction, from the poster design to the choice of theme, the décor and even the menu. Yet the artistic director of the Chanel house was clearly present in spirit all night long. Whether in the choice of H.R.H. The Princess of Hanover's black Chanel gown, or in the tranquillity of the Riviera atmosphere, or in the words of Stéphane Bern, who gave a moving speech with the Kaiser's imposing figure as a backdrop behind him.
A fine family photo
Despite the absence of her friend Karl Lagerfeld, H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover, president of the event and of the Princess Grace Foundation, was in particularly good company on Saturday evening. Surrounding her were her brother H.S.H. The Sovereign Prince Albert II, of course, but also her four children and their partners: Pierre Casiraghi and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, Andrea Casiraghi and his wife Tatiana Santo Domingo, the young Princess Alexandra of Hanover, as well as Charlotte Casiraghi and her partner Dimitri Rassam. The young man appeared particularly cheerful, delighted with the attendance this year of his mother, Carole Bouquet, now grandmother to his little Balthazar. For her first official appearance as a member of the royal family, the actress caused a particular sensation, looking radiant on her son's arm and alongside her daughter-in-law Charlotte Tarbouriech, her son Louis Giacobetti's wife.
Life is beautiful
In addition to Carole Bouquet, the Bal de la Rose also saw its share of other dignitaries, such as Minister of State Serge Telle; Jean-Luc Biamonti, Chairman of the Board - Chief Executive Officer of Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer; the French and Italian ambassadors to Monaco, Marine de Carné-Trécesson and Cristiano Gallo; and the President of the National Council, Stéphane Valeri. Other distinguished guests included Laëtitia Milot, star of Plus Belle la Vie, looking glamorous along with her husband, Badri Menaia; and Stéphane Bern, who came as a seasoned MC to liven up every moment of the evening.
A trip in time
Instead of the traditional concert, this year 36 dancers (30 female and 6 male) occupied the elegant Monte-Carlo Beach footbridge as they took the audience on a fabulous trip back in time, to the heart of the Riviera's golden age. It was a truly memorable performance created by director David Alexis, choreographer Cécile Chaduteau and costume designer Annamaria Di Mambro. Then, while Roberto Colletta, the musically pedigreed French-Sicilian singer, brought the greatest crooner hits to life, Les Bouches Rouges alternated between beloved Roaring Twenties standards and yé-yé hits. And Alessandro Ristori, accompanied by his band the Portofinos, topped this Bal de la Rose off with a bit of Italian rock.
An event for a good cause
While it is a legendary symbol of glamour, the high-society backdrop of the Bal de la Rose should not obscure the event's main purpose. In the same spirit as its annual raffle hosted by Stéphane Bern at the end of the evening, the Bal de la Rose is first and foremost a charity benefit with an international reputation, with all profits going to the Princess Grace Foundation. Since its creation in 1964, the foundation has unwaveringly pursued its humanitarian and philanthropic mission to help people in difficulty and disadvantaged children.
© Palais Princier / SBM