What to Wear to the Vienna Opera Ball

The legendary Vienna Opera Ball, that started in 1877 under Emperor Francis Joseph, is considered as the highlight of the social calendar in the Austrian capital and usually takes place on the last Thursday of the carnival season. The city of waltzes celebrates more than 450 balls each year but as far as glamour goes, the Vienna Opera Ball is up there with the BAFTAs and the Met Ball. For the event, the State Opera is transformed into the most festive, imposing and high-profile ballroom in the world where important politicians, entrepreneurs, royals, artists, and well-known celebrities from all over the world dance the night away.

 Each year, around 5.500 guests attend. Renowned designers are regularly involved in running the show: this year, Dolce & Gabbana designed the tiara for the around 300 debutantes, that will kick off the Opera ball. After they have finished, the master of ceremony announces: Alles Walzer! (All waltz!). When you hear this and Johann Strauss’ waltz «On The Beautiful Blue Danube», you know that you are allowed to enter the dance floor.

Nevertheless when it comes to the dress code, there is a huge difference. It is much stricter and more old-fashioned than compared to other galas.

The following dress code applies to the Vienna Opera
Ladies: Long Evening Gown
Gentlemen: Tailcoat

What sounds simple at first, is associated with some pitfalls, because if you do not follow the dress code, the access to the ball will be denied.

For the ladies:

long gown (at least ankle length)
no cocktail dress
wide skirt – no body-con dresses (very important)
cleavage: not too deep
no wristwatch – only a jewelry watch

For the men:

tailcoat (elegant evening suit with waist-short jacket and «swallowtail»)
no tuxedo, no simple suit
no tie
«Mascherl» bow tie (white)

I am so excited to attend this amazing event on the 8th of February this year and will practice my Vienna waltz dancing skills. Therefore I need a gown in which I will be able to move and which honors the dress code. Not so easy…

Here are my favorite choices, which one do you prefer?

Lace-insert pleated georgette gown by Elie Saab

iconGlen sleeved embroidered dress by Temperley London

Graphic floral-print organza-silk gown by Dolce & Gabbana
iconDraped front strapless fil-coupé and tulle gown by Delpozo

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via Vienna Opera Ball, APA, © Swarovski

Dolce & Gabbana’s Swarovski Tiara

Making childhood dreams come true. In February next year, I will be attending the Vienna Opera Ball and I couldn’t be any happier about it especially because one of my favorite designer duos, DOLCE & GABBANAicon, has collaborated with SWAROVSKI to create a richly detailed and precious tiara to be worn by the debutantes at this prestigious event.

Dolce & Gabbana

It took 702 Swarovski crystals to create this richly detailed headpiece that is inspired from Mozart’s opera «Le nozze di Figaro», in particular, the words sung in the eighth scene of the first act: «Giovani lieti – fiori spargete!» («Happy maids, scatter flowers!»).

This image has been poetically reflected in the floral design of the tiara, where delicate blossoms meet organic curved leaves.

Each year, Swarovski works with a different international designer to impart the debutantes’ tiaras with extraordinary brilliance. In 2017, it was for example Karl Lagerfeld who created a dream-like piece (for the previous post click here please).

Swarovski’s collaboration has existed since the 1950s. Organized by the Vienna State Opera, the event is the cultural highlight of the Viennese ball season and I cannot wait to experience it myself.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Swarovski / Dolce Gabbana

Karl Lagerfeld’s Swarovski Tiara


On February 23, 2017, the famous Vienna Opera Ball, one of the most exclusive highlights of the Viennese social calendar, celebrates its 150th anniversary. It is an event steeped in tradition and timeless glamour, where debutantes and their partners dance the opening waltz and dazzle wearing fairytale tiaras as they are introduced into society. This year marks a very special collaboration as the tiara is designed by an emperor. No other than «Kaiser Karl», KARL LAGERFELD, teamed up with SWAROVSKI to design the sparkling tiara that will crown the heads of the debutantes.

Swarovski Tiara 2017 - Mood 1 (c) Thomas Schrott_Swarovski

Embellished with 394 clear and saphire blue Swarovski crystals along with five Swarovski crystal pearls, the Swarovski Tiara is named “LE BEAU DANUBE BLEU” (The Blue Danube) which is the common title of a famous waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Thomas Schrott/Swarovski, © Karl Lagerfeld and © Reuters