The debutante Etiquette Day is an exciting opportunity for the girls to acquire new skills and also make friends. It is the first time all the new debutantes come together and so is a lovely day to get to know each other.

This year not only welcomed the new debutantes of 2012 but also offered an informative opportunity to the twelve girls picked to take part in the first international Far Eastern Debutante Ball hosted at the Waldorf Astoria, Shanghai in January. I attended personally as one of the Shanghai girls and fondly recalled my first debutante Etiquette Day in 2010, which proved the start of an amazing year.

Sir Tobias Clarke Bt., who will be accompanying us on the trip to Shanghai, welcomed us with an intriguing talk on the history of the London Season from the perspective of a deb’s delight! He has such a wonderful way of capturing one’s attention in his wonderful narratives and kept us all greatly entertained.

As well as learning about dress codes and table manners, a huge part of modern etiquette for young ladies is career orientated. Former debutante Mrs Marcus Dyer gave a highly useful talk on interview techniques, including practical examples with brave volunteers! Interviews can really be very intimidating but Etiquette Day, and indeed the whole debutante experience, is wonderful at showing how to make a good first impression and get the very best you can out of an interview. This is so important for all the girls as they progress in further education and work, and I have found what I have learnt through the London Season to be such a great help.

Mrs Annabel Keville is a most valuable source of knowledge on Far Eastern protocol thanks to her extensive work overseas. She gave us a fascinating glimpse into Chinese culture and what we can expect in Shanghai. She very importantly taught us what would be thought polite and impolite when visiting and equipped us with some basic phrases to speak.

The Etiquette Day for 2012 was held at the Mayfair Hotel, which was a welcoming and sophisticated setting. When it was time for lunch we stepped down to Quince, the magnificent restaurant of Silvena Rowe. The restaurant opened in June 2011 with an interior which decadently harks to Rowe’s Turkish heritage. Rowe is a renowned expert on Eastern Mediterranean cuisine and brings this to an intriguing menu. The meal was an absolute treat enjoyed by all.

We also sipped Quince’s signature cocktails, which were simply delicious. The sommelier gave us wonderful, practical advice in a talk on wines, cocktails and the key to opening a bottle of champagne gracefully!

Thank you so much to Silvena Rowe, Quince and the Mayfair Hotel for hosting our fabulous day, and of course to London Season Chariman Mrs David Hallam-Peel and Vice Chairman Mrs Jonathan Woodall for organising such an enjoyable and informative experience.

Blog post by Florrie Clarke, debutante of 2010. Photographs kindly provided by Mike Daines at Photocall Events

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