05 May 2016

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 5

(Note: Tiara Thursday will be up tomorrow.)

Oh look, someone's decided to play along with my Will we ever see it again? tour game. Not with items from the most recent India tour, but items from Royal Tours of Yore appeared yesterday as the Duchess of Cambridge did three engagements.

Kensington Palace
The first stop, at Hampton Court Palace for the opening of the Magic Garden children's play area, brought back a Michael Kors coat from the 2014 Australia tour. I find myself much better able to appreciate its kicky little flare without the hat it was originally worn with.

Kensington Palace
Underneath the coat and unveiled for the day's second engagement, a reception for the Anna Freud Centre, was the Roksanda Ilincic dress from way back on the 2011 tour. Lovely then, lovely now, lovely always, this dress.
Michael Kors coat, Roksanda Ilincic dress, Mappin & Webb earrings and pendant

One more repeat for the road! This pink Alexander McQueen from the Australia tour returned for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery to view the Vogue portrait exhibit, where two of those new photographs of Kate have been installed.
She also chose to repeat a necklace and earrings from Monica Vinader. Curious and possibly intentional timing here: in a new article at the Daily Mail site, the designer said of the first time Kate wore these pieces in 2014, "I knew nothing about it as my press team had lent them to her people and they’d told them to tell no one else in the company." Lent being the word everyone has picked up on - is the Duchess borrowing jewelry?! (Gasp! The horror!) (Nah, wouldn't be so unusual if she did.) Borrowing things to review while selections for an event are in the works is probably standard, with purchase to follow after the decision is made. A good reminder not to read too much into things, at least.
Alexander McQueen peplum dress, Monica Vinader Riva Diamond Cluster Drop Earrings and Diamond Cluster Bib Necklace, 18ct rose gold plated vermeil on sterling silver with pavé-set diamonds
But here we are, going on about the clothes and the jewels, and missing the day's real headline news: Kate REVEALED that the Cambridge family has a new member! A hamster. A hamster called Marvin. Don't tell Estelle.

04 May 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: King Carl Gustaf's Birthday Banquet, Part 2

We're looping back to King Carl Gustaf's big 70th birthday tiara bash this weekend, to take a closer look at a few of the guests we didn't spend much time with on the day itself. Big tiaras and bright dresses deserve proper attention, after all. Our Royal Fashion Awards, continued:

Swirliest Purple Dream
Queen Mathilde
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
I am not surprised that Mathilde has stuck to new Armani Privé outfits for big royal events, yet I am also surprised that this was the result. It's lacking in a bit of the structure we usually see from her Armani ensembles, and I kind of want a belt of some sort in there. It's a swirly purple princess dream of a dress anyway, and this is an excellent use of the Wolfers Necklace Tiara. If there was ever a tiara made for wearing with your hair down, this is it.
Armani Privé Spring 2016 runway (Vogue)
(I'm not sure the designer has officially been confirmed, but as ModeKoningin Mathilde also points out, the same fabric was used on the Armani Privé Spring 2016 runway. Mathilde's creation would have been bespoke.)

Best in Yacht Wear
Princess Benedikte
We saw this dress at Queen Margrethe's own birthday banquet last year, when I declared it Best in Beach Cover-Up Gravitas. Takes on a whole new meaning when one is descending from one's royal yacht on the way to the Royal Palace, doesn't it?
In 2015, for Queen Margrethe's birthday (DR)
For the Swedish birthday banquet, Benedikte wore Queen Sophia's Star and Pearl Tiara. I love this tiara, but it occurs to me that this is really a testament to Benedikte's tiara-wearing skillz. It's spiky and spaced out, and that's no easy combo to pull off. She's a pro.

Brightest Change of Pace
Princess Hisako of Takamado
Freed from the range of pastels often mandated for important tiara events at home, Hisako didn't just pick a color, she picked a COLOR. I don't know who else would pick acid green, and I don't know how else could pull it off quite so well. Bless her, she really committed to her bright palette for the whole day.
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
Curious tiara though, right? It's like your standard wreath tiara in bandeau form, but then it has ears. Huh.

Best in Tiara Power, Part 1
Hereditary Princess Sophie
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
I love Liechtenstein's Habsburg Fringe Tiara (it is indeed the fringiest fringe that ever fringed), and I love Sophie's commitment to wearing it (it's not the only tiara she's ever worn, but it is the one we've seen her wear to every recent big royal event). She also has a commitment to wearing this dress, apparently - she wore it to the dinner before King Willem-Alexander's inauguration, which I think was the last big international tiara event she attended.

Best in Tiara Power, Part 2
Princess Beatrix
Also BRINGING IT: Beatrix in the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara! I'm ever so glad to know that her "retirement" doesn't mean that she's hung up the big guns for good. I wouldn't mind if she hung up this dress for good, but as long as I can convince myself that those are mini pizzas marching up the trim, it can stay.

Many thanks to Sofia for allowing use of her lovely photos! Check out her recap of the day here, and more photos here.

03 May 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: May 3

One of the most interesting things about the annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - fashion's prom night, basically, with celebs galore - is seeing how the evening's theme is interpreted. And, in many cases, how it was just not interpreted whatsoever. Last night's ball celebrated the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibition, predictably resulting in a whole lot of gowns clinging to the theme in metallics and not much else. (Here are all the looks. Give me Claire Danes in an actual light-up dress in "fiber optic woven organza" by Zac Posen any day. Where else could you wear that?!)

Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece attended the gala in 2001, when the exhibit was Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, and she stuck to the theme in the most indisputable way: she wore a Jackie dress.
She attended with her friend (and wedding gown designer) Valentino. This minty green one-shoulder satin gown with embellished hems appeared in a 1967/68 Valentino couture collection, and was worn by Jackie Kennedy during a visit to Cambodia in 1967; the gown was later worn by Marie-Chantal to this event. Another version was worn after that by Jennifer Lopez to the Oscars in 2003.
It was a dress on point for the evening, but also a dress just on point forever and always. The draping seems so easy, but it's really excellent craftsmanship and top-notch fabric at work, and the beading is a wonder. These days I often prefer those who go big or go home as my Met Gala bests (hello, glow-in-the-dark Cinderella gown), but there's always a gold star for those who handle the theme in the loveliest of fashions.

P.S.: Still in the Met mood? Last year we talked Diana at the gala!

Photos: via Getty Images, Valentino, AP video

02 May 2016

Monday Tidbits for May 2: Portraits Here, Portraits There

If you haven't indulged in the weekend's Swedish events, keep on scrolling! Otherwise:

--The Duchess of Cambridge covers the June issue of British Vogue. The shoot by Josh Olins in the Norfolk countryside is for the magazine's centenary issue, with two portraits installed in the Vogue 100 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is patron. [Vogue]

--And some photos of the Duchess' own have been released, capturing Princess Charlotte for her first birthday.

--I need to note that I am here for the supreme coziness of the Ganni poncho/blanket/wrap that Crown Princess Mary wore to the Festival of Research last week. [ParisMatch]

--I love the Swedes and their continuing supply of new official portraits! Of course new shots were needed for King Carl Gustaf's 70th birthday. The two with Queen Silvia are below, click to enlarge. We just saw Mary's repeated take on the red tiered gown, so now I guess it's Silvia's turn. She is again wearing the Connaught Tiara.
Photos: Peter Knutson, The Royal Court, Sweden

--A small group from the Luxembourg grand ducal family was out and about yesterday for the annual closing of the Octave, and I quite like Maria Teresa's outfit. [Luxarazzi]

--One of the hairstylists working with the guests for the Swedish birthday banquet shared a close up of the tiara worn by Princess Ursula of Bavaria. She also wore this Spencer Tiara-esque piece at Carl Philip and Sofia's wedding last year. [Instagram, h/t to Sarah]
Princess Ursula in the tiara last year (SVT)

--Over at the Jewel Vault, we looked at one of my personal favorite outfits from the Queen's modern wardrobe (currently on display in a massive exhibit of her fashion, and with an interesting brooch), and a buggy brooch of diamonds debuted by the Duchess of Cornwall last year.

--And finally, you know only Prince Harry could get Granny to indulge in a bit of light trash talking.

Sunday Tidbits (Monday Tidbits, in this case) is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!  

30 April 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: King Carl Gustaf's Birthday Banquet

Unlike the fancy white tie, Braganza Tiara-deserving banquet held for his 60th birthday (flashed back to here and here), King Carl Gustaf's 70th just warranted black tie. But praise be to the tiara gods, they threw in some diadems anyway. I knew Queen Silvia wouldn't let us down.

They even gave us a group photo! Everybody's wearing their commemorative birthday medal.
Group Photo, Click to enlarge (Peter Knutson/Kungahuset.se)
Row 1: Queen Silvia, King Carl XVI Gustaf
Row 2: President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Dorrit Moussaieff, Queen Margrethe II
Row 3: President Sauli Niinistö, Queen Margarita, Jenni Haukio, Prince Albert II, Princess Beatrix, King Philippe, Queen Mathilde
Row 4: King Simeon II, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Hereditary Prince Alois, Hereditary Princess Sophie
Row 5: Crown Princess Margareta, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine, Mr. Christopher O’Neill
Row 6: Prince Radu, Princess Christina, Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Princess Benedikte, Princess Hisako of Takamado, Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Row 7: Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath, Ralf de Toledo Sommerlath, Tord Magnuson, Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
Row 8: Ewa Westling, Olle Westling, Marie Hellqvist, Erik Hellqvist, Eva Maria O'Neill

For now, a partial edition of Royal Fashion Awards, hitting just the biggest talking points.

Best in Contrast
Queen Silvia and Queen Margrethe
Which did you see first in that group photo: all the tiaras, or one serious orange dress? Even thoroughly tiara-focused me has to admit it was the latter. Queen Silvia combined all her favorite things - shine, sparkle, and diamonds including the Connaught Tiara - in one bright dress made even brighter by the addition of a pink shawl in her hand. (Yes, Virginia, there was a butt bow. Actually, it was more like a...tail feather. Ripe for the shaking.) Queen Margrethe made for a bit of a tonic in her soft blue dress, her second repeat of the day from her own most recent big birthday celebrations. She wore the Baden Palmette Tiara.

Best in Designer Sharing
Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine

A new Elie Saab for Victoria, AND a repeated one for Madeleine. Is it my birthday too? You'll remember Madeleine's; she wore it for her pre-wedding dinner, Victoria wore it for Margrethe's birthday dinner, and now it's back in the rotation.

The dresses weren't the only thing up for sharing. The Swedes did what they do best and swapped their usual jewels all around. Princess Madeleine returned to her favorite Modern Fringe Tiara, but wore the diamond epaulette earrings first worn by Victoria to her pre-wedding event. Madeleine's 18th birthday tiara, the Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara, showed up on aunt Princess Christina; while Victoria wore Princess Lilian's Laurel Wreath Tiara again, her own favorite Baden Fringe was taken for a spin by aunt Princess Birgitta. And the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik that has been favored recently by Madeleine and Christina was once again back with its owner, Princess Margaretha. Follow all that?

Most Surprising Meh
Crown Princess Mary
Oh, this one hurts. Mary threw away a tiara opportunity in favor of a Charlotte Lynggaard for Ole Lynggaard Leaf Hair Jewel (which I tried to make myself believe was part of the Naasut Tiara for as long as possible, but it isn't). The earrings are also new, and specially designed. I'd applaud this if it were sneaking in a hair ornament at a non-tiara occasion, and perhaps I will one day in the future.
It's not just the lack of tiara that leaves me all kinds of meh about this appearance, though. (Honestly, it isn't.) This YDE by Ole Yde dress is so much like a few floral dresses in her closet for day appearances (some of which are also Yde), it feels like a day appearance from the knees up. It's not a badly put together look at all, it's just...meh.

And the rest...
Video: Royals start arriving around 1:40
If I can update this post with more detail later, I will. Until then, let's hit the roster of royals and all their tiara identifications. Here are the royal tiara wearers you can see in that video, with links to the tiaras if we've covered them:
There were more as well, but I'll leave you with just one of my favorites: the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Turquoise Tiara, on Hereditary Princess Kelly!

Sunday Tidbits will be up on Monday for you.