22 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018, Day 3

Update! You can find all the Ascot goodies for the rest of the days at the Jewel Vault:
Day 4 // Day 5

Yesterday was Ladies’ Day, or Gold Cup Day, the halfway point in this annual festival of hats and usually home to some of the best millinery we see throughout Ascot. Did the royal ladies rise to the occasion? Judgment awaits, and you can check out the Queen in pink here.

Best in Ascot Rituals
Countess of Wessex
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Sophie did her duty and fulfilled another crucial Royal Ascot requirement yesterday: the ritual Muppet sacrifice. Minus the very visible base in the close ups, though, this Jane Taylor hat is one former Muppet I can get behind. Love that she leaned into lavender for the accents with this Suzannah dress.
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Yes, you see, Sophie comes to entertain, if not by with her hat then with her animated race watching. (It seems she didn’t back the winner in the Gold Cup race, based on her facial expressions.) She’s here to entertain and to make you jealous of her big aquamarine ring. Mission accomplished on both fronts. (Aquamarines had a moment on Day 3; the Princess Royal was also in the game.)

Best in Winning Streaks
Princess Beatrice
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The hits just keep rolling in for Beatrice. This striking black and white Jonathan Simkhai dress is great on its own and even better paired with this Sally-Ann Provan hat. She wears this saucer shape so well.
Sally-Ann Provan Greta hat

Most in Need of Day 2 Advice
Princess Eugenie
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Eugenie…could have kept that streak going for herself if she’d consulted the Day 2 outfit of Autumn Phillips for a little advice first. The boater hat from Sally-Ann Provan definitely lives up to the Ladies’ Day expectations in true planetary ring fashion, for sure, but the Erdem dress needs something simpler to work. It’s a competition and nobody wins.
Erdem Bernette dress, Sally-Ann Provan Naeva hat

Most Unexpected Color Combo
The Duchess of Gloucester
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Green hat, loads of emeralds, and a burnt orange dress. Green and orange has to be one of my least favorite color combos. Except that…a) it’s Birgitte! That’s the last person I’d guess would come out with this combination so yay for surprises, and b) that’s a great shirtwaist dress (she knows it, too; she wore one in blue on Day 2), and c) EMERALDS. Big emerald drop earrings and pearl necklaces with emerald beads, part of a wedding present to Princess Alice from Queen Mary. Yum.

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I'm not hitting absolutely everyone here, but BONUS ROYAL ALERT: Hi Serena! The Duke and Duchess shared a carriage with the Earl and Countess of Snowdon. There is, as always, much potential in what we can see of Serena’s outfit.

Who's taking home your prize ribbons for Day 3?

21 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018 Day 2, Plus York Extras

We're sticking with the British royal goings on today, with highlights from Ascot yesterday plus a taste of what the York sisters have been up to in their non-Ascot time this week. (Spoiler alert: it's good.)

Let's begin with the second day of Royal Ascot. Two ladies for day two. (I'm not covering everyone; the Queen and Princess Alexandra have been covered at the Vault, the Duchess of Cornwall repeated her spearmint number from the garden party last month, and there were a few more.)

Best in Busyness
Autumn Phillips
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So we've got ruffles at the collar, ruffles on the sleeves, a tie at the waist, a whole lot of pattern, and a hat with an ornament stolen from an aquarium...and it's a success?! The hat's got just enough solid color space and clean enough lines to balance the print on this Beulah London dress. Autumn always makes it work.

Best in Millinery Distractions
The Countess of Wessex
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At least once an Ascot, Sophie will give us something worthy of a My Fair Lady remake. She's good like that. Her first attempt for 2018 comes from Jane Taylor (of course) and is paired with a new jumpsuit from Emilia Wickstead (of course). Yes, I said jumpsuit. Those are allowed in the strict Ascot dress code and she's taking advantage. For better or for worse. It's hard to tell that it's a jumpsuit, and with that glorious millinery distraction in place, you can just glaze on over that fact, if you like. Like me.

Emilia Wickstead Vida Jumpsuit

Now we'll steer away from Ascot for a sec. When the York sisters left the racecourse on Monday, their day wasn't over. Nor was their streak of sartorial excellence. They hit up the annual Serpentine Summer Party at The Serpentine Gallery and let their hair down (and up) in two outfits perfect for the arty occasion.

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As ever, I recommend abandoning all jackets slung across the shoulders - especially leather jackets, which don't have the drape to do it right anyway - but the rest of this is divine. The dress is feathers but the top makes me think of mermaid scales and I would be entirely here for Princess Beatrice deciding to go into mermaid mode. A+.
Mary Katrantzou Talon feather-jacquard midi dress

Princess Eugenie brought her fiancé, Jack, who frankly could use something more interesting than a business suit to wear when his date is going to be so sassy.

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SASSY. Oh, I like it. This top is gorgeous. I'd scoop one up for myself, had I a spare thousand bucks and a Serpentine party to go to. But do me a favor next time, Eug, and Just Say No to Barbie feet.
Roland Mouret Iris one-shoulder asymmetric fil coupé organza top

But wait, there's more!
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Princess Beatrice is soaking up all the arty summer parties she can - can't blame her for that - by attending the V&A Summer Party last night. GIMME THOSE SHOES. She's wearing a dress too. But gimme. those. shoes.
Kurt Geiger Stratton shoes (h/t to Polka Poppins)

20 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018, Day 1

Ascot has arrived! A five day festival of royal hats and more. Was the royal wedding the best of the Windsor chapeaux for the year, or were they just getting started? We are about to find out. To the awards! (For the Queen and the Princess Royal, hit up the Jewel Vault.)

Best in Hats
The Duchess of Sussex
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The Givenchy dress may not be much more than a shrug for me, but the hat's a strong YES. Ascot is precisely the place to go to get your Dynasty on, so this sculptural number from Philip Treacy is *chef's kiss*. My favorite from the royal crew on Day 1.
Philip Treacy hat

Best in Brooch
The Countess of Wessex
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Sophie's outfit gets a meh-but-YES from me, too. The dress, a new one from Emilia Wickstead, is okay; I think the variation between the heavy black trim on the dress and the light trim on the Jane Taylor hat is what's giving me the mehs. (Two days in a row I want her to go all black with the accessories, maybe? At least I'm consistent.) (Until tomorrow, probably.) Her brooch, on the other hand, is a debut and it is a delicate diamond rose and it is soooo lovely. It's similar to a few in the Queen's collection, although I don't recognize it as one we've seen on Her Maj. Get a lot of use out of that one, Sophie. Pretty please.
Emilia Wickstead Pink Dionne Macramé-trimmed Crepe Dress

Best in Monochrome
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
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I do so love it when the York sisters turn up in a pair of winning outfits. Both taking the monochrome approach to hats n' dresses (plus neutrals for the accessories) paid off here. Beatrice's Claire Mischevani dress is a rich jacquard, paired with a matching hat from Juliette Botterill. Eugenie brought a modern feel to the racecourse in a coat from Osman and hat by Emily London. Somehow even the rogue graduation tassel on Eugenie's hat works, this is some kind of sorcery.
Claire Mischevani pale blue jacquard pleat dress, Osman Fleur tie-waist cotton-blend coat, Emily London Alcor hat

Best in Basics
The Duchess of Cornwall
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Am I a big fan of this pale gold on Camilla? I am not. I don't think it's her best shade. Would the shape and details of this dress and hat be divine in another color? They surely would. (The dress is by Dior.) She also could have taken a bigger version of her trademark pearl choker here, I think; she's opted for a standard pick, her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Small Diamond Clasp and her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings.

Runner Up in Hats
Princess Haya
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Princess Haya, here with husband Sheikh Mohammed and kids Sheikh Zayed and Sheikha Jalila, combined the York color strategies. The Philip Treacy hat's the standout here, with a large flower on top and flowers underneath in the back. Interesting enough for Ascot without going overboard. My second fave chapeau for Day 1.
Roland Mouret Blue Etty Square-neck Crepe Dress

Most in Danger of a Millinery Escape
Princess Michael of Kent
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Speaking of going overboard, this hat seems ready to jump right out of the carriage at any time. I feel like she needs a chinstrap just to be safe. Well, Ascot is as much a place for hats with a mind of their own as it is for Dynasty throwbacks.

Who's taking home your awards for Day 1?

We'll be following Ascot throughout the week here and at the Vault, so stay tuned for Days 2 through 5...

19 June 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: British Royals at Garter Day

Ah, Garter Day, the one day in the royal year when a dramatic velvet cape and a jaunty feather in your cap isn't just desirable, it's mandatory.

On Garter Day, the Queen gathers the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior order of chivalry in Britain. Appointment to the Order is the Queen's gift and up to 24 Knights Companion can be members at any time. Two new members were installed yesterday, Dame Mary Fagan and Viscount Brookeborough.

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Then of course you have the Royal Knights and Ladies, those members of the royal family that have the Order of the Garter: the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra. Absent this year was the retired Duke of Edinburgh. (Incidentally, Royal Knights and Ladies do not count towards that 24 member maximum. Stranger Knights and Ladies, the foreign monarchs the Queen has honored with the Garter, also do not count towards that max.)

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The members wear their Mantle (robe) and Bonnet (hat), along with the Collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter. (See the links for more details.) No one's mantle is more impressive than Her Maj's own, which requires two pages to manage. It's no surprise that she chose to ride in her car rather than walking to St. George's Chapel with the rest of her crew yesterday. As always, she and her enormous earrings - Queen Mary's Floret Earrings - have already been covered at the Jewel Vault.

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The royal ladies supporting their Royal Knight husbands were the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, and the Duchess of Gloucester. While Camilla's sharp black and white outfit is new, the hat has been worn with a navy and white outfit in the past. I don't see a huge color difference and yet I don't like the crossing of the navy/black streams even in theory.

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Sophie's remixing her repeats again, including another hat redo. She added some festive frippery of her own to this chapeau and tied in the black from the dress. The dress is an Emilia Wickstead landscape print with horses galloping through it and I gather the print is even supposed to show an abstract Windsor Castle view. A frock with a built-in wink, of course I love it.

Emilia Wickstead Fall 2012 RTW
The Countess was my favorite royal wedding guest when she debuted this dress in Luxembourg in 2012, with a black belt and black accessories. Much as I adore her remixing, I'm thinking we need to bring back the black. No?

18 June 2018

Monday Tidbits for June 18: A Tiara Return and More

Another busy royal week ahead, but first:

--It's the return of the Spencer Tiara! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the wedding of Harry's cousin, Celia McCorquodale, over the weekend. I am more interested in the tiara than anything else here, it's nice to see it in action again. [The Sun]
A post shared by DNARoyals (@dnaroyals) on

--The Duke and Duchess of Kent attended a memorial last week for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, which prompted Buckingham Palace to reveal that the Duchess has returned to teaching music part-time at a school attended by children who lived in the building and area. [Instagram, Express]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, we covered the Queen's day out with the Duchess of Sussex, as well as a weekend outing with - shock! - no brooch.

--Prince Nicolas turned 3 on June 15, so of course we have a new picture of the birthday boy.
Erika Gerdemark/Kungahuset.se

--And finally, Sotheby's is auctioning a selection of important royal jewels from the Bourbon Parma family, including some that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette. I think we'll be talking about this more in depth later. [Forbes]

Coming up this week: It'll be a busy one, with Garter Day, Royal Ascot, the Spains in the US, and more...

Tidbits is your spot for royal topics we haven't covered separately on the blog, all week long. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!