Skye Wong and Jasmine Yen on Le Bal 2023

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Skye Wong and Jasmine Yen on Le Bal 2023

It’s the starriest time of the year, when the young and glamorous, the baes and their pals, or Debs and Cavaliers, descend on the City of Lights and indulge in a spectacular festival of golden-edged glamor at the Shangri-La of Paris. hotel, for the annual Ball celebration. Spot star balancing stunts, dresses for days, couture in every way and exultation Golden youth royals, aristos, angels (of the chessboard and ethereal varieties), movie stars, musicians and, this year, a quartet of Chinese Debs: Skye Wong, Jasmine Yen, Yvette Yao and Roxie Zhao. And two Chinese horsemen; Ethan Zhang, son of filmmaker Zhang Yimou, and James Yen, son of actor Donnie Yen and brother of Jasmine.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s Hong Kong and UK-based Skye Wong, currently studying Classics at St John’s College, Cambridge, on the significance of this opportunity for her. “Tradition, glamour, a fun weekend, a chance to wear a stunning dress with stunning jewelry. And I like to support good causes. The Ball celebrates women’s empowerment, a subject close to my heart. And most importantly, I look forward to making friends from all over the world.

Just like his parents always did. “I remember when I was little, my parents would have a huge Chinese New Year costume ball in London every year and their friends would come from all over the world. The frenzy of activity in the house before the ball always excited me, with dress designers, milliners, hair and makeup artists jostling for attention. It sparked my love for fashion and creativity, and made me realize that dressing glamorous – and not just in my Tinkerbell costume – is actually fun.

Wong shares this at Claridges, London, a week before Le Bal, in the presence of her mother, Patti Wong, former senior international president of Sotheby’s. After the conversation, she will cross the street for a final fitting at Vivienne Westwood, whose skeins she has chosen to wear. The excitement is palpable. “We had to choose the designer,” says Skye, “and when I put the dress on, I knew it was going to be the one. I was lucky that he adjusted so well to me. And I have these really comfortable platforms covered in Swarovski crystals; I thought it would be pretty cool. And, more importantly, “I didn’t want to find something that would just look pretty in the evening; I also wanted something to feel good.

The Ball, initiated by Ophélie Renouard in 1994, is the contemporary version of the traditional debutante ball. Renouard saw them all and made his debut; from Delphine Arnault and Dree Hemingway to Bee Shaffer, daughter of American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Shaffer remains the only Deb to have worn a Chanel creation by Karl Lagerfeld, given the close relationship between her mother and the late fabric marketing maestro. “We try to focus on the dress and not the designer,” says Renouard.

And philanthropy. The purpose of the Ball is to raise funds for two charities: the ARCFA cardiology research unit at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital in Paris, which improves the quality of care for children with heart defects in the world. And the Washington-based World Central Kitchen (WCK), which provides meals following crises in different parts of the world.

“I don’t ask anyone for money to attend the Ball, and you can’t buy your way to the ball. This is what makes me famous,” says Renouard. “All the money involved is all for charity and people donate directly. »

Wong knows the associations. “I heard about WCK because before Covid I was a volunteer at Food Angel, a similar charity in Hong Kong. Like WCK, Food Angel provides and distributes meals to those in need, but on a local scale, within the city. I don’t know Necker-Enfants Malades, but I can’t wait to find out more. And when Wong is in Hong Kong, she volunteers for the Hong Chi Association, a charity that runs a factory for workers with mild to moderate autism, schizophrenia, bipolar and psychosis. “It’s so rewarding to be able to connect with and support those affected, given the stigma around these disabilities that still exists in much of Asia,” she says.

So, how far is Renouard moving forward in terms of “sourcing” potential Debts? “We tend to know some of our receivables several years in advance. But this is my 27th Ball and I never cease to be surprised,” she says. “It’s difficult for us, because we are dealing with very young people and, of course, they are still developing their personality, their tastes, their tastes, etc. » Renouard asks all potential Debs to complete a lengthy question-and-answer period, which helps the Paris team write each of them’s profiles.

Wong says it’s a challenge worth serious consideration. “It took a long time to fill out,” she recalls. “You need to describe your ideal day, your style, your greatest achievement, the best advice anyone ever gave you, your perfect day, your career goals and much more. This gives them a complete picture of who you are and how they can discover what they need.

Wong, the offspring of two famous Hong Kong banking families, did not study classics with an eye toward extending her involvement beyond academia. “I was fascinated by it. For example, I could have studied marketing, but I thought that if I didn’t study the classics now, I never would and I wouldn’t have the chance to immerse myself so deeply in such a world. And I always wanted to get into luxury marketing from the age of 11.

Never have the classics seemed so, um… hype-contemporary. “I’m in my final year, I’m studying classics. So it’s traditional Latin and old-fashioned traditional Greek, but this year I’m also taking modern Greek. This gives me an understanding of philosophy, psychology and human behavior that could prove useful if I go into business. But I also work a lot on how the classics are used in a contemporary context, such as media, literature and culture.

So we play psychologist. What are his best and worst qualities? “The positive points: I am charismatic and motivated. The negatives: I think too much and I’m a perfectionist. What does she think of Alexa Chung? “Oh, I love Alexa Chung. I love Alexa,” she says. And his model? “I admire Dame Mary Beard, who has written some of the most inspiring books I have ever read. (Women and Power). She publicly expresses her opinions and does not shy away from controversy. She empowers the modern woman. Wong met Beard. “Before I was admitted to Cambridge, I visited some colleges and ended up at Newnham College. I looked out the window and marveled at the environment that nourished his genius spirit. I have met her on several occasions and she resolutely remains a model.

And the person she would most like to meet, dead or alive? She’s not Alexa Chung. “British rapper Stormzy has been one of my favorite artists for years. I know all his songs and the lyrics. I think it’s incredibly admirable the way he uses his influence in such a positive and humanitarian way that other artists don’t. Through his foundation, he funds scholarships at Cambridge for underprivileged black students in the UK, and even through his words he constantly advocates for the fight against racial inequality and social injustice.

The music resonates greatly with our second Deb, Jasmine Yen. Daughter of an international star and Prestige cover subject Donnie Yen and his wife Cissy Wang, singer/songwriter Jasmine has already signed with RCA Sony Music. His debut music video “idk”, released in July, was viewed more than a million times on SamaGame in three days and made headlines in China, Southeast Asia and the United States. She wears Georges Hobeika haute couture for Le Bal.

Yen has reason to be both excited and nervous. For starters, she’ll perform at the Ball, the first time a Deb has undertaken such an act in the event’s history, and she’ll sing the title track from her debut album, to know. “I thought I should take something a little upbeat, and it’s also like bringing a little Chinese culture to the girls here. Everyone comes to the Ball from all over the world, but many of them have never heard Chinese music before. Yen sings in Mandarin and English. Oh, and she’ll also lead the waltz dance – all the Debs have to waltz with their dad. “We only told my dad yesterday because if we told him sooner there would be pressure, he would be worried, he’s a perfectionist. »

But as if these debuts weren’t enough, she flew from Paris to Hong Kong the day after the ball to prepare for her participation in the Harley-Davidson 120 Hong Kong Music Festival. And guess what? “The funny thing is, we don’t even know the choreography yet, so I’m going home tomorrow and I have three days to learn the choreography and be ready to go.” » This will be Yen’s first live performance in Hong Kong. “That’s why I work very hard to do my best. I’m going to train like crazy. And does she feel the pressure? “It’s a little scary, but I feel like music and performing is really my passion. I like what I do. Being on stage and connecting with people is the most important part. She will play three songs which will open the festival; ‘tbh’ with dancers, then a slower ballad and a final number she calls punk-pop or pop-punk.

How can I best describe his singing style? “It’s something I’m trying to resolve,” she said. ‘THE…

Skye Wong and Jasmine Yen on Le Bal 2023 - 1

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