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The Real Life of Viviana G: Bal de l’Eté

By Viviana G
Every year, my husband and I have the pleasure of being invited by Princess Catherine Colonna de Stigliano, and attending the Bal de l’Eté in Monte-Carlo to kick off the summer. I know you are big fans of my first article on the Bal des Etoiles [which is every 2 years in Paris] so I’m going to let you in on how I prepare and what I wear to this upcoming event!

When I received the invitation and saw that the theme for this year’s event was none other than Men in Black with a 007 twist, I squealed with excitement. I looked over to my husband, waived the iPad in his face and said, “Do you see?! I was on the right track!” [Since my Fall 2013/2014 collection debuted in March and was inspired by James Bond and his Bond Girls.] Of course being a man, he just laughed and said, “You do live in an amazing wonderland.” I smiled, because I do, but that is my reality!

Actually, my plan to do a James Bond inspired collection started with my husband. He is a big fan of the 007 films and when I saw him dressed in his tuxedo last year at the Bal des Etoiles in Paris, I told him, “You’re my James Bond”. From there, a light switched on and that is how I got the idea for Masquerade in Prague.

For the weeks to come I started preparing, taking out all the different pieces I could put together for outfits, lining up a row of shoes on the floor and a row of purses on the bed. Needless to say, it was chaos in our bedroom. However, I weeded out what shoes should stay based on comfort and if I was actually going to wear them; and I selected 2 outfits per day along with 4 purses. All-in-all, I was on a good track. Jewelry however, would prove to be another challenge—but I had time.

Now, this weekend-event is 3 days, but the Princess has a private dinner reserved for the last night which of course means an extra outfit that I am more than happy to pack because this truly is something out of a fairytale!

Without further ado, some of my selections for the upcoming Bal de l’Eté!

The first night we will be going to a cocktail dinner appropriately named “Chicago Fizz”. This amazing embossed, hand-painted gold and alligator skin dress with a corset back was made for me by my great friend and fellow designer, Ema Savahl. It was a no-brainer choosing this dress for the first night—it screams cocktail! Because the dress is so detailed, I decided these Nine West—yes ladies, Nine West—strappy satin sandals and matching satin clutch would compliment it well. The icing on the cake is my newly purchased Swarovski stone drop earrings.

For the following day at the Sea Lounge, this Alberto Makali dual print dress would go great over my bathing suit, add my Giuseppe Zanotti mules and it’s the perfect fit! My multi-strand crystal necklace lends a splash of color with its turquoise flower.

Later, for the gem of the night, the Gala under the stars! Imagine a big band playing, Guys and Dolls dancing, and champagne flowing— all taking place under the star filled sky of Monte-Carlo. If that wasn’t dreamy enough for you, a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” dress code is strictly enforced. Who doesn’t love “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”?


For the Gala, I’m in between 2 dresses! Both are Petit Pois, so my choice isn’t made any easier. The first is an off the shoulder, cowl neck, mermaid tail red dress. I know black is the more popular color, but its summer and I want to pop with color in a sea of black!

I’ll be pairing either dress with gifts from my past birthday; a gorgeous Swarovski cuff and necklace my kids gave me, and rose gold Alexander McQueen heels my husband gave me. My choice of evening bag for the night is a vintage Monique Lhuillier which is only big enough for my lipstick, and really, what more does a girl need to carry? I have my James Bond to hold my phone in his coat pocket.

Option no. 2, is a python print dress with a mermaid tail as well. The dress shimmers in the light and the low-cut back is quite the surprise when I turn around.

I just can’t decide! You’ll have to just wait and see which one I choose, but for now, I’m packing both.

The “New York” brunch the last day calls for some color! I paired this bright wrap dress [which you’ll be seeing in one of my upcoming collections], with a canary yellow fringed Tory Burch shoulder bag, some shine with my Swarovski necklace and brought it all together with my Modern Vintage heels.

Of course, I ran into another wardrobe decision for the private dinner with the Princess. My packing wouldn’t be complete without these dilemmas. I’m in between a dress from my new cruise line from the ‘Black Palm’ print group…and that’s all you’re getting out of me on that subject! The dress is an off the shoulder, cowl neck, print dress or I can go with a black wrap dress paired with a beautiful chiffon white and black lace brassier.

Here, I’ll top it off with a pair of black crystal chandelier earrings, bringing some sparkle to it all and repeat my Modern Vintage heels because I’ve realized, it’s not how many shoes you pack for a trip, it’s which fashionably comfortable shoes you bring.

The second choice is a black wrap dress paired with amazing Miu Miu shoes and knuckle ring clutch. Decisions, decisions! Perhaps you guys can help me? If you’re reading this, you have 48 hours as of Thursday, June 20, 2013, to vote on which dresses I should wear.

Decision 1: Gala dress – red, off the shoulder with a mermaid tail dress OR python print, low-cut back with a mermaid tail dress.

Decision 2: Dinner with the Princess— ‘Black Palm’ print, knee length, off the shoulders dress OR black wrap dress, floor length with chiffon white and black lace brassier.

Send your answer to vgabeiras@mypetitpois.com and I’ll write back to you!

Stay tuned as I bring you what unfolds in Monte-Carlo when I come back in 10 days!
As always, know that it’s not what brand you buy or how much you spend on it, it’s how you style it. As long as you wear it with the “I’m Real” attitude, you’ll look fantastic!
Your designer,
Viviana G