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Atlanta Debutantes Step Out

Atlanta Debutante Club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Bal de Salut.

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From left Selma Wight Beard June Weltner Lehman Margaret Spurlin Hanes Caroline Virgin Smith Allison Beard Luzier Rebecca Cherry Hammad all in Bibhu Mohapatra

The flock of young girls making their society entrées at the Bal Crillon des Debutantes in Paris weren’t the only cotillion on the calendar this past weekend. Friday evening in Georgia, the Atlanta Debutante Club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Bal de Salut. Themed “Memory Lane,” the event drew current and past debutantes to the private Piedmont Driving Club for a reunion whose proceeds benefited the Atlanta Children’s Hospital at Emory. More than 1,300 guests gathered at the renovated venue, which has hosted the balls for 100 years: two large tents flanked a ballroom decorated with a 20-foot-long, white floral centerpiece.

And a select group of Southern gals got a dose of New York chic for the night courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra, who was approached by the Atlanta Debutante Club to dress some of its members (Mohapatra’s partner, Bobby Beard, is an Atlanta native). The designer decked out nine women in custom gowns and selections from his fall 2009 collection. Ranging from 21 to 95, their ranks included three generations of ladies from Beard’s family: thirtysomething Allison Beard Luzier and Margaret Spurlin Hanes, who debuted in 1994; Hanes’ mother, and her 90-year-old grandmother (and Beard’s mother), Selma Wight Beard, who came out in 1939.

“No one does it better than the ladies of the Atlanta Debutante Club,” said Mohapatra. “I really enjoyed dressing three generations of Southern belles who know how to have fun in the most elegant way.”