Look for even more glitz and glamour at this weekend's Veiled Prophet Ball. On the eve of one of the year's most anticipated high-society events, representatives from local designer dress boutiques say shimmery gowns will be front and center. “Glitz is very big this year,” notes Distinctions in Fashion co-owner Nancy Lehtman. 

The selection of the dress is one of the most important rituals for the young ladies attending the Ball, now in its 128th year. And this year, look for debutantes to push the envelope with unique choices that will set them apart during the traditional walk with their fathers—one of the highlights of the Dec. 22 event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch. Lehtman says this year’s maids want to venture out of the box. “They want something that’s different than anyone else’s dress.”

And boutiques like Lehtman's Distinctions, located in Creve Coeur; and Special Occasions by Paulette and Teddy, in Ladue, have been busy helping fulfill the debutantes' desire for creative fashion. Every year, shopowners have worked hard to ensure that no two dresses are alike by cataloging each designer item that is sold for the event or removing like gowns from the sales floor once one is sold. Dresses from notable designers, including Jovani, Terani and Marisa Baratelli, are going quickly at Distinctions. Jovani also is popular at Special Occasions, as well as Tony Bowls, Mori Lee and Daymor Couture.

Each delicate detail of every distinctive dress is crucial—from the color, cut and style to just the right amount of sequins. Shimmery, metallic-colored dresses such as gold and silver gowns with plenty of sparkle are popular at Special Occasions, notes co-owner Paulette Friedman, while Lehtman says colors are across the board this year—as long as they have enough added glimmer, they are selling. Strapless, one-shoulder and off-the-shoulder dresses are the most sought-after styles, and there is a range of flowing gowns, as well as tapered dresses. And the most popular accent this year is the bolero jacket, to add extra flare to strapless dresses. “We’re seeing a lot of long silks to the floor with bolero jackets and a high collar,” Friedman says, adding whatever her gown choice, the Ball will give each young woman a chance to shine. “The dresses are going to be fabulous this year.”

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