A young Houstonian recently made a Texas-sized entrance at one of the world's most prestigious and time-honored gala events. Catherine Fields Coselli made her debut at the 64th International Debutante Ball, which took place at in the Grand Ballroom of the tony Pierre Hotel in New York. The event gathers the daughters of some of the world's wealthiest and most prestigious families. Young women don extravagant white gowns, some of which cost six figures, and are received by dapper young gentlemen in tuxedos.
Coselli was among the 23 “women of distinction” from across the globe who made their debut. She was one of three Texans; Olivia Late of Austin and Dominique Melcher of Fort Worth joined Coselli. The ladies of the Lone Star State struck a memorable pose with the “Texas Dip,” in which the debutante bows her head nearly to the ground with her arms outstretched to either side.
Catherine's parents, Dr. Joseph Stapleton Coselli and Kelly Coselli, welcomed their daughter in the receiving line. Attendees of the ball and the surrounding parties included the daughters of diplomats, titled Europeans, ambassadors, and other VIPs.
Coselli currently attends High Point University where she is a HPU Scholar, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, where she was also vice president, and is on the dean’s list, according to a statement. She is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, where she has participated in many community service opportunities with the Girl Scouts Organization, among many other volunteer positions, which began in her early teens. Catherine’s passion is riding horses; she has competed nationally and blue ribboned, won reserves, champions, and grand champion. She has travelled extensively and also spent her 2017 spring college semester abroad in Italy.
Catherine’s father, Dr. Coselli, is chief and professor of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, where he holds the Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair. In addition, Dr. Coselli is the chief of adult cardiac surgery at Texas Heart Institute and is an associate chief of cardiovascular services at St. Luke’s Medical Center. Kelly Coselli is a member of numerous clubs in the Houston area, as well as many church and educational centers, and does extensive volunteer work at Camp For All.
For her debut, Catherine wore a classic “Langham” gown (by designer Anne Barge) of Italian silk kalika, inspired from her time in Italy. The bodice is detailed with hand cut, individually sewn French Alençon lace and accented with Swarovski crystals. The flowing box pleated skirt was meant to be especially highlighted when Catherine executed her Texas Dip.
As CultureMap has previously reported, since the International Debutante Ball launched in 1954, there has always been a strong Texas presence. Deb balls were traditionally organized for affluent young women to meet potential suitors, but today's debutantes are accomplished women who have graduated or will soon graduate from college and look to the experience to make professional contacts with people across the nation and around the world at the ball, as well as honoring family traditions, and having fun.
In Houston, the debutante tradition continues with annual presentations by the Allegro Association of Houston, River Oaks Country Club, Jack and Jill Houston Chapter, and the Momus Crew at Mardi Gras in Galveston.
Over the years, the ball has benefited numerous charities through the International Debutante Ball Foundation, including one of its major beneficiaries, the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club of New York, which has been providing a home away from home for the men and women of our armed services since 1919.
The fairy tale spectacle certainly makes the debutante ball intriguing — but, is there something more? At at time where social media and politics seem to reach for the lowest-hanging fruit, it is perhaps the themes of gentility, grace, and civility that have kept the debutante ball tradition surely, and glamorously, thriving.