|Liang Zhouyang, fifth generation descendant of famous scholar Liang Qichao, was one of the belles of the ball. (China Daily / Li Zheng)|
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Where girls become ladies >>
For the first time, China has publicly shown off its own debutantes.
Two Chinese girls were among 14 young women who attended the second Shanghai International Debutante Ball on Saturday night.
The event attracted hundreds of formally dressed guests, who flew in from around the globe.
"Last year, I had to explain to everyone how I tried and failed to find mainland Chinese women as potential debutantes. This year, I found two," says the ball's founder and organizer, Zhou Caici, who's also known as Vivian Chow Wong.
At 10:30 pm, as an opera singer crooned to piano accompaniment, 14 white-couture-attired women from different parts of the world filed out of their Rolls-Royces adorned with diamond tiaras. Each was received by a male escort.
The two Chinese women are Liang Zhouyang and Pei Yunshuo. Liang is the fifth generation descendant of Liang Qichao (1873-1929), one of the most influential reformists of the early Chinese Republic, while Pei is the daughter of a well-off trader.
Zhou says the women are the two most ideal candidates "not only for debutante balls but also to represent the prototype of Chinese high society".
Last year, Zhou - the youngest daughter of Chinese Peking Opera master Zhou Xinfang and an active socialite in Hong Kong, London and her hometown Shanghai - defined the perfect debutante as someone "every mother would like her son to marry but not every son could get".
"Who wouldn't be impressed (by Liang Zhouyang) with her famous paternal great-grandfather, great-grandmother and famous maternal great-grandfather?" (They all were celebrated academics.)