Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford in the 1830s, is credited with first making ‘Afternoon Tea’ into a formal social occasion. Finding herself peckish between lunch and supper, she began inviting friends to her home at Woburn Abbey for tea, scones, cakes and conversation.
As a stylist and creative director, I am in the business of bringing dreams to life, and the revival of Queen Charlotte’s Ball that I led was no exception. Just like I did for the debutantes at the Ball, I can provide the styling and training that will make you shine like a star.
The Queen Charlotte’s Ball lost its steam before 1976, when it was no longer held, but over the past ten years I revived it beyond its own wildest dreams, and the young women who have made their debut at each event have bloomed in beauty and grace. The Ball had been a glamorous London institution for more than a hundred years, begun by the feisty Queen Charlotte, who is portrayed brilliantly by Golda Rosheuvel in the ever-popular Bridgerton. The debutante ball was a place for the young and available women, carefully selected for this exclusive event, to put their best foot forward, meeting and mingling with their elegant peers as promising new members of British society. The drama and delight of this event is showcased with great charm in Bridgerton, wherein viewers have a view through a colourful window onto a fabulous practice of the past. However, the story is far from over, and I have made it completely my own. When I brought the ball to life for our modern age, I took it to new heights, with the whimsical fantasy of Alice in Wonderland and the graceful dream of Swan Lake, to name a few. I worked so hard to bring these fabulous dreams to life that the Daily Mail found my dedication and effort impossible to ignore. By creating these dreamlike scenes I made a statement that nobody had ever done before, and so I stepped firmly outside the stricture of tradition to bring something new and fresh to the perspectives that had Prince Philip call the old ball ‘daft’. As he is a charming man of much taste, who was a delight when we spoke, I am sure he would agree!
Something I have always been proud of in my work as a stylist and creative director is how I work with girls of every race and colour of skin to be comfortable in expressing their own beauty. I create opportunities for Black girls, Asian girls, and girls of every heritage to be a princess for a day, by teaching them deportment and choreographing their movements to perfection. Bridgerton, now popular for its depiction of the Regency Season, has received wide acclaim for the colour-conscious casting that added much-needed racial diversity to English period drama by casting non-white actors in lead roles. In this regard, I have been ahead of the times, teaching girls of every background how with the right deportment and choreography they can be the stars of their own show. I have been striving throughout my career to show every young woman to her best advantage in all her beauty and power, and I can cater to any woman’s personal beauty if they ask for my help. The contemporary age has demonstrated to the world that we are beautiful for our differences, not despite them, and my work has had elegance and beauty in diversity at its very heart.
Making one’s debut may be all about glamour, but it also about the fun and fantasy of being at the heart of the action. In my work I make sure to provide young women and their families with a safe place to explore what it means to put oneself forward on the social scene, and then step into a world of dreams like the escape that Bridgerton provides. For one of my personal favourite years of the ball, I invited my brother, the celebrated mentalist and hypnotist Jakub Kroulik, and he certainly brought the girls the magic as a true Debs’ Delight. We are Czech, and if I do say so myself our charm and energy swept the British off their feet! When speaking with the debutantes, I didn’t promise meeting Prince Charming, but I did make sure that the evening was dynamic and exciting with opportunity to dance. The debutantes that I personally taught caught every camera’s eye, the results of which you can see for yourself. The future promises many an event at which to dance the night away, so let me be the one to guide you through all the right steps.
As a personal stylist I often work with women, in glamorous locations such as Lancaster House (which served as a filming location for another popular period drama, The Crown), but I find that it is also important to introduce them to some true gentlemen. Guests like my brother and Alexander Habsburg are not only excellent role models to young men, following in the gentlemanly tradition of men such as Prince Philip or even the cultured leads of the tale told in Bridgerton, but they also balance the scales in a dazzling display on an evening of glamour and gallivanting, where a young woman can have fun and revel in the fantasy of it all. Allow me to bring your fantasies to life with the effortlessness of a good time!
Traveller's Club, Pall Mall, London
To master the art of polite English conversation what could be better than individual tuition from the Royal Family’s personal tutor, and Lukas’ business partner, Richard Hilliard.
Richard and Lukas teach in the prestigious Travellers Club, the quintessential home for English gentlemen founded in 1819 for them to entertain distinguished foreign guests.