24 April 2015

Royal Style Twins of the Day: April 24

Today, we're flashing back...way back...to a week ago, in Copenhagen, where the reception for Queen Margrethe's birthday at City Hall featured some style twin moments worthy of a closer look.

First up: Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Princess Victoria and their twin appearances with, uh, themselves.
Above, in Copenhagen in 2010 for Margrethe's 70th birthday, and below, also in Copenhagen for Margrethe's birthday, five years on. Mette-Marit's even wearing the same gold headband, which (as the Royal Hats Blog points out) she's worn in several different ways.
"So, whaddya think...same thing this time, except different?" "AGREED."

For the same same thing, you need look no further than the Mexican state visit to the United Kingdom a month earlier.
Mexico's first lady, Angélica Rivera de Peña, sported Mette-Marit's Alexander McQueen coat first. It's an A-line crepe coat in ivory with a double lapel detail, and the only surprising thing about this is that one of the British royal McQueen fans didn't beat both ladies to it. (Perhaps they will join the party later on. I'd love to see this one belted, just to shake it up.) Unusually for one who loves the colorful accessories, I prefer the First Lady's black touches to the Crown Princess' gold/red/nude mix in this Who wore it best? battle.

Our other twin - nay, triplet! - moment from the City Hall event comes from Crown Princess Mary and the gray hat she paired with her Oscar de la Renta coat dress.
As soon as she emerged with this chapeau, I thought it looked familiar - Kate-esque, I said - and indeed it was. From favored royal milliner Jane Taylor, this is a hat we should know well by now.
Zara Phillips sported the same gray version to Cheltenham over a year ago. She paired it with a truly unfortunate outfit that I will pretend I did not see since baby Mia was just a few weeks old at the time. But the original royal example comes from the Countess of Wessex, who wore a version in a different color and material to Ascot in 2013, paired with an Emilia Wickstead outfit in gorgeous vibrant teal. (An outfit that would get a lookalike of its own when the Duchess of Cambridge wore a similar number in New Zealand last year. It's just a chain that never ends.)
Mary's got the lock on sophistication in accessory pairing, but Sophie's version is a welcome shot of color. I'll call this one a tie and I'll take both for myself, outfits and all, thanks very much.

Your turn: Which versions of these twin appearances are your faves?

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, Net-a-Porter, ITN video

23 April 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Ansorena Princess Fleur de Lys Tiara

For at least five years before we ever saw it in action, there were reports of this tiara’s existence. It was said the Princess of Asturias (as Queen Letizia was at the time- hence the Princesa name many articles have given it this week, and the name we’ll use here) had been given a new tiara in diamonds and pearls, with a detachable diamond fleur de lys brooch in the center – the only portion that had actually been worn. Spanish jeweler Ansorena, who made the tiara, commented on its creation and pictures were published. But as the years went on and the tiara remained unused, it started to seem like some kind of mythical, somehow imaginary jewel…which only made its final debut last week an even sweeter surprise.
The Ansorena Princess Fleur de Lys Tiara
The reports were finally proven correct at the gala dinner in Copenhagen for Queen Margrethe’s 75th birthday. The tiara is indeed a creation of pearls and diamonds, set in 18 carat white gold. There are 450 diamonds forming a base of looping swirls and the center fleur de lys motif, and the diadem is topped with 10 large Australian pearls, selected from 3,000 gems to get just the right pieces for the tiara. The fleur de lys is a Bourbon symbol and part of the King’s coat of arms, and Queen Letizia likes to use the diamond brooch with her ribands for state banquets and other gala occasions.
It was made by Ansorena (other Ansorena tiaras have used the same loop design) and it’s not the only Ansorena fleur de lys tiara in the Spanish royal collection. The best known example is the biggest piece available to Spanish queens, a wedding gift from King Alfonso XIII to Queen Victoria Eugenia in 1906. Letizia’s version doesn’t have quite such a cut-and-dried gifting story.

Creating the tiara was Ansorena’s idea, a notion that came to the then-head of the family-owned company while he watched Felipe and Letizia’s 2004 wedding. He decided the new princess should have a tiara and set about designing one, considering other designs and even the use of aquamarine stones before deciding on the final model. Most Spanish reports I've read since the tiara’s debut seem to have settled on it as a gift from King Felipe VI to Queen Letizia for the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary in 2009, purchased for an estimated 50,000 euros, but earlier accounts indicate that Ansorena gave it to the royal family. From the actual giver of the gift to the timeline (it was made earlier than 2009, some say it could have been given as early as 2007 or so, and Letizia has been wearing the brooch portion since at least 2008) to whether or not Felipe had any input in the design, the details vary from one article to the next.
Wearing the brooch
When I first wrote about this tiara in 2011, I said that I suspected that the ambiguity surrounding the tiara's origin suited the royal family just fine, because while accepting lavish gifts is dicey territory, so is the purchase of new jewelry when your country's economy is struggling. Certainly the economic issues Spain has been dealing with coupled with the harsh criticism the royal family can draw are likely reasons behind the delay in the tiara’s appearance, as well as Letizia’s choice to give it a “soft opening” of sorts at a foreign royal event.
We’ve seen a slow and steady increase in her use of jewels since Letizia became the queen consort. The Danish banquet brought not only the new tiara, but a double clip-style brooch she hadn’t been seen in previously, her Cartier diamond bracelet, and even a Bulgari ring said to have been a gift from Felipe after the birth of one of their daughters. I was never quite sure what to make of the new tiara, and I’m still not sure even now that we’ve seen it – it does look much better in use than I thought it would and it sits nicely on her head, though the design overall is not a favorite. Still, I am glad to see it and to see her have a tiara that is her own and not one tied to any other member of the family.

It’s been a week since the big debut and I'm sure you've been thinking of nothing else since, so let’s have your verdicts…

This tiara: A winner, or no?

(By the way, if you need to see it in action again before making your judgment – you know, for science purposes – here’s part 1 and here’s part 2 of the dinner on YouTube.)

(And also by the way, no second post today!)

Photos: Ansorena, and via Getty Images as indicated

22 April 2015

Royal Color Scheme of the Day: April 22

The King and Queen of the Belgians visited Strasbourg, France yesterday, and Mathilde wore something a little bit familiar...
...but not really, because it's new. Apparently the pleated red dress, jacket, and hat worn when the couple made their introductory visit to Germany in 2014 weren't enough to fill the "folded effects/red division" portion of the royal wardrobe, because now we have a slightly darker and slightly simpler red dress with similar details hat. The dress detailing is confined to just one side of the skirrt, which is both an interesting detail and possibly not an interesting enough detail for a fairly basic outfit.
Dior shoes (worn by Mathilde in a different color)
The primary point of interest can't be seen on the above photo, I'm afraid (click here for a gallery, though, or here for a video). Floral shoes! They are (per ModeKoninginMathilde) from Dior, but instead of the green version above, they are pink/red. And they are possibly the best pair of shoes Mathilde's ever worn. WANT. Oh, and P.S.: Look, Ma! Heels and no crutches! Queen Robocop has left the building.

Since we're on Red Queens from Benelux Countries - Mathilde has her specific wardrobe sections, we have our specific coverage sections - Queen Máxima headed from Denmark to Washington, D.C. last week as part of her work in financial inclusion. She repeated a red Natan frock that I thought was a hit originally, and I think is a hit on the second go too.
Who knew talking about finance was such a kick, huh?

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, RTL video, Dior

21 April 2015

Royal Haircut of the Day: April 21

CHOP!
Queen Letizia attended the 'Woman Awards' last night in Madrid.
Look who got her hair did...
She tested out the faux bob (yes, that's bob with ONE o, stop giggling) hairstyle a time or two, and now she's really gone for it. I like to think she made a point of holding on to those long locks juuuuussst long enough to debut her new tiara in the best possible fashion before making the cut. (More on that tiara coming up later in the week, by the way!)
Her newly short and sassy bob was paired with Yanes earrings, Prada shoes, and another Felipe Varela LBD (she really takes that theory that you can never go wrong with a little black dress to heart, you know). I think I like the new 'do - she certainly seems to like it, at least. I do believe I'm detecting some swagger here. And I love a queen with swagger.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

20 April 2015

Royal Closet Raid of the Day: April 20

I was disappointed we didn't get to see any of Queen Margrethe's nieces and nephews at her birthday bash last week, so I'm making up for it closet raid style, that thing we do where we pick the look we love so much we'd like it for our very own. Today's honoree (sure, we'll call it that): Princess Marie-Chantal!
With Crown Prince Pavlos at Princess Madeleine of Sweden's wedding, 2013
You know I love me some OTT Big Time Princessing, but I have love for those that can do it on a more casual scale, too. This whole look is perfectly put together without trying too hard. The white of the dress and the diamonds with the navy and blue sash of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia feels crisp and fresh, and the jewels (one of my favorite fringe tiaras, with small diamond earrings and a long, thin necklace) are just the right amount of added interest.
The dress is a surprisingly simple number from Valentino Couture, the Fall 2011 collection. Marie-Chantal had it made in white, and Qatar's Sheikha Mozah had it made in navy:
I'll stick with Marie-Chantal's version, though, accessories included. My runners up include that Dolce & Gabbana number also owned by Crown Princess Victoria, and the Oscar de la Renta worn the night before this appearance. I'll be dreaming of an M-C-sized shopping spree tonight...sigh.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, Style.com

19 April 2015

Sunday Tidbits for April 19: The Non-Danish Event Edition

It's been a pretty big week for royal news outside of the recent Danish festivities, so I present a totally Dane-free tidbits for your enjoyment! Except for...the times when a reference or two slips in there. You can't expect a girl to go cold turkey.

--Tatiana Santo Domingo and Andrea Casiraghi welcomed their second child! The baby girl, born on April 12, is reportedly named India. [Hello]

--In other princely news, reports say the wedding of Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo will be in two parts: a civil wedding in Monaco at the end of July, and a religious wedding on Lake Maggiore (where her family has a private island) on August 1st. [Hello]

--The invitations for Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist's wedding are out! They have an orange border and are tied with an orange ribbon, perhaps a clue to the upcoming color scheme. Aftonbladet published what they claimed was a list of the invitees, which was swiftly declared incorrect by the royal court. It wasn't anything you wouldn't have guessed based on the guest list for Princess Madeleine's wedding, really. Queen Margrethe said she received an invitation in her press conference this week; she's one of Carl Philip's godparents. The invites also confirmed what most were guessing regarding dress codes: tiaras will be worn by the guests that have them at the wedding itself, and the dinner the night before will be black tie (no tiaras). The wedding is on June 13. [Svenskdam, Aftonbladet]

--Brunei had a royal wedding of their own: Prince Abdul Malik, second son of the Sultan, and Dayangku Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah Pengiran Haji Bolkiah celebrated their wedding earlier this month in a typically lavish and sparkling ceremony. Below is a video from their wedding banquet, where the bride wore purple and a mahooosive ruby tiara that has also been worn by Queen Saleha. [Royalista]

--We missed Grand Duchess Maria Teresa at the Danish birthday dinner, but the Luxembourg couple did release a new set of official photographs to mark Grand Duke Henri's 60th birthday. That's a great outfit on MT, no? [Luxarazzi]
© 2015 Cour grand-ducale / Christian Aschman / tous droits réservés

--And we also missed Queen Sonja, so here she is in New York City, where she opened an exhibition and attended the American-Scandinavian Foundation Gala Dinner. The brooch hanging from her pearl necklace was one of Queen Maud's wedding gifts. [Zimbio]

--Over at the Jewel Vault: another new/new-to-us brooch for QEII!

--And finally... They've released pictures of Prince Harry at work in Australia, and it's good to see that they've followed the basic rules for any Harry publicity: uniforms and cute kids. And while you're in a punch-drunk Harry mood, the Fug Girls present "25 Reasons Harry Should Give You High Hopes for Royal Baby 2.0." [Telegraph, Cosmopolitan]

Photos: Cour grand-ducale and via Getty Images

16 April 2015

Royal Fashion Awards: Queen Margrethe's Fredensborg Birthday Dinner

The last event of Queen Margrethe's birthday fiesta was a dinner at Fredensborg Palace, not to be confused with the dinner at Christiansborg Palace last night. Did you think we were going to repeat our palaces in the same birthday celebration? Don't be ridiculous.

I had hope that this evening's black tie dinner would be a tiara event. (A similar dinner back in 2010 was with tiaras, for example.) That hope, however, was dashed. SO CRUELLY DASHED. My faith in Margrethe's capacity for sartorial splendor has been shaken to its very core! How will we ever recover from this travesty??

Alright, I'm over it. Let's work with what we've got:

Most Side Eye in Accessories
Queen Margrethe
Sorry, birthday girl, but I'm giving you the side eye real hard here. The accessorizing, specifically - it was a great dress when she wore it to the Dutch state visit, and it still is now. But it's got cool and muted tones, and that turquoise and gold set is all kinds of bright and warm, and the contrast is making me cringe. (The necklace was a birthday gift from Prince Henrik, a new addition to her modern turquoise set which includes pieces he gave her for previous birthdays. Which is fantastic - and the necklace is the best piece of the set! - but still not at its best with this dress.) She also snuck a piece of the Floral Aigrette Tiara in her hair. Ordinarily I'd be all over that, but instead, I'm just wondering why she didn't just make the dinner a tiara thing and let the other ladies play too. It's possible I'm not entirely over it.


Most Likely Best
Crown Princess Mary
Even my faith in Mary's ability to pull off a great outfit is shaken. I think I like this one...I might even like the center part low ponytail. Hmm. I reserve the right to change my judgement.


Most Overshadowed
Princess Marie
Here's Marie again, looking fine again. But I'm not looking at her, I'm looking at Hef over there.


Most...Floatiest
Princess Benedikte
Just go with it, okay? Floaty is the only word I've got for this dress, and you wouldn't have been able to stop me from swooping around with my wings fluttering behind me right in the middle of dinner. That's why she's the princess and I am NOT. (One of the many reasons...)


Most Confusing
Queen Anne-Marie
I thought this was the same dress she wore to yesterday's dinner. But it's not. It's very slightly different. Used up those Best in Usual titles a little too soon, I guess.


Most on the Mend
Queen Silvia
I think the latest addition to our ongoing saga of Silvia and her attempts to stylishly heal her shoulder is a scarf cover for whatever device she's chosen this time. I don't know. Sil, you're adorable.

Most Typical
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
I originally posted this as Most Mysterious, because M-M sure did a good job evading the television camera. But sure enough, it's just another typical Mette-Marit flower power frock by Giambattista Valli.


Most Welcome Relief
Crown Princess Victoria
If we can't have tiaras, at least we have Elie Saab. (Her sister's Elie Saab, to be precise.) And on that sigh of relief...

...we're done! Do scroll through and make sure you haven't missed any of the events. We'll return to our regularly scheduled programming on Sunday.

Who was your best dressed at the Fredensborg dinner?

Photos:via Getty Images as indicated, DR1 video, Elie Saab