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Review by Chris O.10 years ago
The Europeans, and most particularly the Austrians, are famous for having magnificent balls. And as any lady of a certain class and experience will tell you, being invited to one of these grand affairs requires a thorough familiarity and understanding of the dress codes involved. A careless guest who shows insufficient appreciation of someone's balls by breaching one of the many codes of correctness may not get a further invitation, leading to deep social embarrassment.
Although it should be assumed that the aristocracy will need no coaching in how to handle even the more challenging balls, having long experience in such matters, there exist a number of social and financial classes for whom a first experience of the complexities of these events will be cause for stress. Hence the magazine provided by this website, as the Editorial states, not only offers listings of all the dress codes for the various events of the 2011 season, but also adds "exciting new topics about everything to do with balls" and provides details of Austria's "most beautiful balls" in a printed guide.
Now let's be clear, this is a serious matter. According to the magazine, failure to adopt the correct attire for the chosen events may no longer result in duels at dawn but even so, "inevitably leads to disconcertment, undervaluation, and sometimes even expulsion". This is particularly the case with the young, whose limited experience of balls leaves them ill-informed, according to one of the consultants here. And having planned and prepared for that special first experience, no young person wants to face premature expulsion or worse, be refused entry.
This is an unimaginably fascinating subject and the magazine offered by the website is packed with detailed and frequently graphical information that pokes into every nook of the various dress codes, male and female, for every event. There are even clear, step-by-step instructions on how to tie ties and fold handkerchiefs, which would also come in useful in other and less prestigious contexts. Overall this is a fine piece of work and invaluable to anyone suddenly faced with problematic balls but lacking in experience.
Ample photographs accompany and enrich the text, featuring both fashion models and genuine ball attendees. In my opinion the latter are a far more interesting and varied bunch, sometimes looking startled as rabbits in headlights and perhaps somewhat the worse for wear. Or worse for what they're wearing. But assuming you can direct your interest toward the clothes rather than the clothed, you'll be able to see how the rules laid out in theory here have been interpreted in real life. Or what passes for it, in these lofty strata of society.
After the ball, we're told, the attendees are expected to eat a yummy after-ball meal such as 'Salonbeuscherl' - a creamy ragout of baby calf's lungs. Alternatively, a strong goulash soup served with beer is traditional and the claim that it will "sort out your stomach" is one I can well believe.
Challenging as all this may be, one is assured that careful study will reward with a most enjoyable evening and, perhaps, the bolstering of one's self-worth to the point that more of the same may be anticipated as one's due. And wending one's weary way home, or at least staggering down the steps to the limo with one's stomach responding to the uncertain delights of goulash and beer, one will reflect, as a ball organizer here does, that "first and foremost, balls should bring joy". And who could argue with that.
(This review is of the English-language "Dresscode" magazine at this site. Click the "Dresscode" link and select the English Version. It's also available directly at Issuu, http://www.ballguide.at/dresscode-ball/english)
Sourced from SiteJabber
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