A Retrospective of the Swarovski Tiara for the Vienna Opera Ball

The Christian Lacroix designed Swarovski tiara for 2020.

Each year, Swarovski in collaboration with a couture designer work to create the Vienna Opera Ball’s annual tiara for the young ladies stepping out into society in Vienna. This year’s tiara was designed by Christian Lacroix. I have included a retrospective here of the most recent year’s designs, how it has evolved, and thoughts on this annual tradition in Austria. Aside from Vienna, there is a similar event that occurs in New York each year, which hosts Austrian diplomats and usually Miss Universe attends. Stanford University also holds a similar event for students who are interested in Austrian culture. This year’s Vienna Opera Ball will be on February 20, 2020. ORF, Austria’s official broadcaster will air the ball, which you can live stream.

The Vienna Opera Ball has happened every year at the Wiener Staatsoper since 1814. It has evolved quite a bit since then, but it has continued a tradition of being the premier (and most exclusive event) for seeing and being seen, which is essentially the point of a society gathering…

The event always begins at 10pm and the Austrian President indicates the beginning of the event by entering onto the imperial balcony. Then, 180 debutante couples step into the ballroom. The way in which the couples are selected is through an application process where they must learn strict classical choreography by the Elmayer Dance School. During the event, there is an in house hair stylist, tailor, and medical teams are always on standby in case the twirling becomes a bit too much…

The esteemed businessman Richard Lugner has been known for many years to take famous female social figures, which have included Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Carmen Electra, Dita von Teese, Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Mr. Lugner has certainly kept up the spirit of “seeing and being seen.”

The 2019 Debutante class in Vienna
Austrian businessman attending the ball with Dita von Teese in 2008.
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – FEBRUARY 23: Richard Lugner and Carmen Electra smile at the annual “Vienna Opera Ball” at the Vienna State Opera on February 23, 2006 in Vienna, Austria. This major European ball has been taking place in Vienna since the beginning of the 19th century, and is a highlight of the European social calendar. (Photo by Jan Pitman/Getty Images)
Paris Hilton attending with Austrian businessman Richard Lugner in 2007.
The Versace designed Swarovski tiara for 2019.
The Dolce & Gabanna designed Swarovski tiara for 2018.
The late Karl Lagerfeld’s tiara for the Vienna Opera Ball in 2017.

The tiara designs have varied over the years, all designed by well known designers. In recent years, my personal favorite tiara was designed by Dolce & Gabbana; the beautiful golden toned tiara with elegant crystal flowers entwined with one another exemplify the youth, beauty, and elegance of what the event is known to represent.

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