"We can be like the Europeans, not like the Arabs", Beatrice Bekhache, 18, a Lebanese Debutante Ball participant. Lebanon was known as the Paris of the Middle East before the civil war took place, it was a haven for the Arab elite filled with both Casinos and an active nightlife.
Whilst Lebanon is facing regional political turmoil, Lebanon's High Society continues it's gala dinners and Debutante Balls. The exclusive social group is made up of "well known, wealthy families with 'high status'".
Born to Lebanese parents, but raised in London, when visiting Lebanon, I was exposed to large, extravagant, theatrical weddings; the push for perfection was all so visually exciting.
I was drawn to photograph glamorous Lebanese weddings, and through this, I explored their glamorous lifestyles which included events such as hosting 1,000 guest weddings while being entertained by A-list Arab pop stars, attending extravagant dinner parties, and celebrating with lavish baby showers, all while adorning designer dresses and dripping with jewellery. As Lebanese society is so close knit, weddings and other social events are where families can "show off" their wealth.
The Annual Debutante Ball is designed to introduce young ladies from all over Lebanon, aged between 15-21 to Lebanese High Society, whilst raising money to buy ambulances for the Lebanese Red Cross. Every year, the Ball is broadcast on National television, and a foreign Prince as well as Lebanon's first lady are invited to attend. The Debutante committee carefully selects these ladies, who all come from “good, wealthy families”. To take part it costs approximately $2,000, which the participants describe as "the best night of their life".
With the constant push for perfection in this society, the Ball and other luxurious events are a form of escaping a harsh reality currently faced in Lebanon.