26 October 2016

Princely Outfit of the Day: October 26

I had Fashion Plates when I was a kid. You know, that toy where you mix and match portions of outfits for a creation of your own. Did you have Fashion Plates? I'd like to play Fashion Plates with Princess Charlene's whole look here.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the Princess Grace Awards on Monday in New York City.
Give me the skirt, which is lovely and flowy. Give me the hair, because you need that edge in the hairstyle to cut through some of the whimsy of the floral motifs scattered on the skirt. (Obviously also give me the earrings, but that should go without saying.)

And then give me something else entirely to replace the bodice and waist, which is just kind of there and is trying to trick me into believing that she felt a matching brooch was somehow needed. (It wasn't.)

Dress is by Christian Dior; the skirt motifs were presented differently on the Spring 2017 RTW runway. Christian Dior Couture is a sponsor of the Princess Grace Awards.
Fashion Plates, yes. That's what we need.

25 October 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: October 25

The King and Queen of Spain have made their annual visit to Asturias for the Princess of Asturias Awards. So that's one new Felipe Varela outfit, coming right up...
This year, we've got a nude dress with a tulle overlay embroidered in black and crystals. With a soft low ponytail-with-a-twist and her black diamond earrings from De Grisogono, it's a very detailed look. Honestly, it's too detailed to be leaving me as meh as it is.
Maybe I am once again in need of a different shoe. Or maybe I just need to stop getting my hopes up for annual events that I think might produce a year's best. Yeah, it's probably the last one.

One more for the road, because this post needs some color:
The couple also visited the Los Oscos Region.
Ahhh, there we go. Bonus points for this fab pink coat because it is from Asturian designer Marcos Luengo, and because it's nice to see her add another designer to the mix.

24 October 2016

Monday Tidbits for October 24: Another Wedding Gown on Show

Here we go:

--Australians, you have a chance to view the bow-tastic wedding gown of Princess Mabel, wife of the late Prince Friso and daughter-in-law of Princess Beatrix. The creation is part of an exhibition on Dutch fashion designers Viktor & Rolf at the National Gallery of Victoria. If you've ever wondered what 248 bows look like on a single gown, well, now's your chance to see it up close. [NGV]

--Princess Sofia went basic for a trip to Värmland with Prince Carl Philip (it's their duchy), but I do like her black and white coat. [Hello]

--The Princess Royal looked every bit her mother's daughter - just check the jewels - while celebrating 30 years of the St John Ambulance Cadets this week. (The brooch is a dead ringer for the Jardine Star Brooch, but it is from Anne's own collection.)

--Prince Albert has purchased the childhood home of his mother, Princess Grace, in Philadelphia. "We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do with it," he said. "We’re looking at having it contain some museum exhibit space and maybe use part of it for offices for some of our foundation work." [People]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, QEII offers a peek at the photographs set around her audience room.

Coming up this week: Last week's big annual event in Spain, and more...

21 October 2016

Royal Wedding Flashback of the Day: October 21

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg are celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary this week. Let's celebrate too, by getting lost in this dreamy dress all over again:

Christian Aschman/Cour grand-ducale
It's been a while since I looked back at this wedding, and I really have found myself freshly falling in love with this dress. It's not just that it's Elie Saab Couture - although, fair enough, that alone is a bit of kryptonite for me - it's that it was so perfectly made for this occasion and for this cathedral. It really is a royal wedding dress.

Guests start arriving at 12:00; the bride arrives at 40:00.
After luxuriating in the information coming out of the Swedish royal wedding gown exhibition, I'm now dying to see this one given similar treatment. If there was ever a creation that deserved a closer look, right?

This wedding was a feast above and beyond the wedding gown, though. Tiaras galore, guests and hats and more! You can relive the whole thing with the full roundup of our coverage here.

Christian Aschman/Cour grand-ducale
Happy weekend!

20 October 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Yusupov Diamond Sunburst Tiara

The Yusupov Diamond Sunburst Tiara
The Yusupov family held the greatest private fortune in imperial Russia and had a jewel collection to match, one built thanks to a couple generations of serious stone admirers. Prince Felix Yusupov (1887-1967) was the heir to the lot, and he wanted to marry Irina Alexandrovna (1895-1970), a niece of Tsar Nicholas II. Some in her family were opposed to the match because Felix had what was considered a checkered past, but he won the endorsement of the Dowager Tsarina, and the couple wed in 1914. (Prince Felix had quite the life. As a young man, his exploits included dressing up in his mother’s clothes and jewels for nights on the town and he had romances with both sexes. In 1916, he was part of the group that murdered Rasputin. Later, a libel lawsuit he brought against the makers of the film Rasputin and the Empress set legal precedent leading to those disclaimers you see in films proclaiming that the work is fictitious and all persons portrayed in it are fictitious.)

Prince Felix and Princess Irina
Anyway, Prince Felix and Princess Irina made a glamorous couple. Together, they took great care with Irina's jewels; when they departed on their honeymoon, they made a pit stop in Paris to drop her collection off with jeweler Chaumet, who redesigned whole sets (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, and pearls) while they were traveling.

A Chaumet display of Yusupov jewels
Chaumet was also behind the diamond sunburst tiara pictured above, one of Irina's wedding gifts from her husband. The dynamic diadem features layers of diamond rays bursting out from a central round diamond. It was a fresh take on the famous kokoshnik-inspired Russian fringe tiaras, and one that looked very fashionable when worn low in the style of the day.

Princess Irina in the Yusupov Diamond Sunburst Tiara
When revolution came to imperial Russia, the Yusupovs were able to make it out with a few of their most valuable gems. These were mainly single stones of such great size and importance they carry their own names: the Polar Star Diamond (41.285 carats), the rose Ram’s Head diamond (17.47 carats), the Pelegrina Pearl (133.16 grains, not to be confused with La Peregrina, of Elizabeth Taylor fame), and several others. These items were slowly sold off for funds in exile. A pair of diamond earrings said to have belonged to Marie Antoinette also made it out of Russia, and eventually ended up with American collector Marjorie Merriweather Post. Those earrings are today in the Smithsonian.

Those pieces aside, Prince Felix hid most of the family jewelry in the Yusupov Palace in Moscow. The Yusupov jewel collection was one of considerable fame, so of course the Bolsheviks came looking for it. One of the Yusupovs' loyal employees refused to give up the location and was executed, but the jewels were ultimately discovered and confiscated.

Looking over the confiscated Yusupov jewels
The family's collection is pictured above, ready to be examined and likely dismantled in preparation for sale. Visible on the table is the Yusupov Rock Crystal Tiara, another of Princess Irina's wedding presents; the family's version of a classic pearl drop lover's knot tiara can also be seen. Their Diamond Sunburst Tiara is upside down in the middle of the table, and it has never appeared again. Alas, it was probably dismantled to be sold stone by stone.

If the tiara were around today…which royal do you think would wear it best?

One final note: Cartier also made at least one tiara in a very similar design (with a yellow diamond or star sapphire center), which is still in existence. I've often seen this identified as the Yusupov tiara, but it is not.

Photos: Chaumet/DR