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
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
«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
Glen sleeved embroidered dress by Temperley London
Photos: Via Vienna Opera Ball, APA, © Swarovski