Watch out, Queen Elizabeth

Stylistically, Britain is a country of contrasts unrivaled. On the one hand, the Royal Family and their upper-crust ilk, all classy in their tartans and tweeds. On the other hand, mod fashionistas, the inspiration for whom came to London in the form of Mary Quant minis and has had a solid run to this day, embodied in its newest guise by brash celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham and their multitudinous groupies. Adherents of the latter taste are getting a fresh boost over the clotted cream set, too, as Britain at long last embraces that least classy of American engagements, the high school prom. Apparently, U.K. youths, awash in pop culture like The O.C., American Pie-ish movies, and MTV, have demanded and been granted proms of their own. And they're pulling out all the stops: Yellow Lamborghinis (with drivers); $700 dresses and tuxedos; fancy-pants dinners; corsages; too much hair product; and shiny, shiny top-hats. The kids love it and, surprisingly, so do some of their parents. Sue Clarke, who spent close to $1,200 on her son's prom, told the Wall Street Journal that it was all worth it, just to see her son happy. "We didn't have proms or things like that when we were younger," she said. Perhaps that's because Margaret Thatcher wouldn't have stood for it.  

"Alien Invasion: High-School Prom Lands in England, Causes a Bother," by Jeanne Whalen and Isabella Lisk, Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2008

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