05 March 2015

Double Tiara Watch of the Day: March 5

Your regularly scheduled Tiara Thursday post will be up tomorrow, but for today: The tiara-wearing streak rolls on!

The Swedish state visit to Finland continued yesterday, starting with another pair of serviceable suits...
...and rolling on with a white tie return banquet. (Click here for some photos, here for a video.) White tie return dinners (and the tiaras that come with them) are something we don't see so often these days, as things grow ever more informal, so this was a nice touch.
Queen Silvia took care of the crowding caused by her sparkly neckline at the previous dinner by moving all her extra glitter to the sleeve area on her dark velvet gown. She topped that with the Nine Prong Tiara, a.k.a. The Pronger, a.k.a. Sil's Party Antlers, a.k.a. Fireworks, But For Your Head. I'm not in love with this appearance either, but I am impressed that Silvia brought her #2 and #3 tiaras for the occasion (the Braganza Tiara being #1). Whether she's making a statement about the importance of the trip or just trying to make up for the lack of a tiara occasion on their last state visit, it doesn't matter. Just more big tiaras. (Even if they are the Pronger.)

Over in Britain, the state visit from Mexico continued with the traditional banquet at the Guildhall, given by the Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation. And as usual, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were on hand to contribute to the tiara power. (Just the Duchess with the tiara contribution, though. Not the Duke. Though that would be a sight to see.)
And it looks like the Duchess brought out her turquoise set, the Teck Turquoise Tiara and its accompanying jewels, which is a fantastic change from her regular Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara. I do adore this tiara, and I love that she's taken the opportunity to pin the two brooches on the front of her dress, stomacher-style. (By the way, the Duke is wearing the sash of Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle, while the President is again wearing the Order of the Bath.)
Credit where credit is due, the banquet has tiara power with or without the Duchess, courtesy of the Lord Mayor's wife, Gilly Yarrow (seen above, far left). Her tiara, a nice diamond scrolling number, is one she's worn previously. So that's a triple tiara watch for the day, I guess. Not too shabby.

And finally, a non-tiara note:
A state visit that includes a trip to Downton Abbey (for first lady Angélica Rivera and the Countess of Wessex) is my kind of state visit.

Now, is somebody going to do us a kindness and wear a tiara out tonight so we can keep this streak rolling, or what?

Photos: Vesa Moilanen/AFP via Getty Images / IS TV video / Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images / @BritishMonarchy

04 March 2015

Tiara Watch of the Day: March 4

State Visit Month, I love you. Yesterday gave us two more state banquets to drool over: the state visit from Mexico to the United Kingdom (which has been covered in full over at the Jewel Vault, so please head thataway for discussion) and this one we're about to talk about right now.
Kungahuset.se
Sweden's own King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia headed out for a state visit party at the neighbors' place, a.k.a. Finland. They were received by the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, and his wife, the always well-turned-out Jenni Haukio (above). Liked the color of Silvia's suit, liked CG in uniform, everybody looks swell, etc. Let's get to the tiaras. (Okay, just tiara. Not plural, because we can't have everything I guess.)
Let's hear it for the Leuchtenberg! The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara with accompanying necklace and earrings, that is. Any time Silvia brings out her blue big gun, it's cause for celebration.
However...(you knew this was coming...) I'm mad at this dress. I don't mind that Sil is doing a little color combining - I like that a lot, actually, because why wait for a blue dress to bust out these baubles? - but the spangles on this most figure skater-y of dresses combined with the collar* are seriously inhibiting my love of the Leuchtenberg necklace. That's too much going on up top. For shame, red dress, for shame.

*Your Order Report: The King and Queen are both wearing the collar of Finland's Order of the White Rose. The President has on the collar from Sweden's Order of the Seraphim, while his wife has the sash of the Order of the Polar Star, a lower Swedish order also often given to members of fellow royal families that aren't either a monarch/consort or an heir. These are the primary ones on display; each is also wearing home order(s) as is typical.

Photos: Kungahuset.se and via Getty Images as indicated

03 March 2015

Tiara Watch of the Day: March 3

On Sunday, the King and Queen of Spain welcomed the President of Colombia and his wife for their state visit to Spain.
For the welcome ceremony, Letizia wore a repeated dress from Spanish label Oky^Coky which has the look of separates (but isn't) with a Felipe Varela black coat and Magrit beige heels. I do like the mix of textures here and the softness added by the blouse portion, but this is a state visit, and this isn't what we're here for.
There we go! Monday night gave us what we needed, a gala dinner complete with tiara (the Spanish Floral Tiara, worn with her wedding earrings which were a gift from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, her fleur de lys brooch, and the riband and star from Colombia's Order of Boyaca). Queen Letizia's Varela dress is another repeat, originally worn for the Dutch inauguration in 2013:
I was definitely a fan of this ensemble at its original appearance, with a jaunty hat (so many of you couldn't handle the angle, but I liked it) and the color worked quite nicely with the light blue of her Spanish sash. The dress is still lovely as ever and she looks fantastic - but I can't help but note that I am starting to see a pattern emerge from her recent tiara appearances.
Take a look at the 2014 Mexican state visit, or her Carolina Herrera black gown from last October's state visit (which I loved, but still). You take a sheer neckline, a slim silhouette, add in some lace or other doodads, throw the Spanish Floral Tiara on top, and VOILA! You've got yourself a Letizia tiara appearance. Anyone else feeling my déjà vu here?
But there is a positive side to all these similar appearances: Letizia has apparently switched her favorite tiara from the Prussian Diamond Tiara (worn for her wedding, and for the majority of her subsequent tiara appearances) to the floral tiara, and that's a change I can get behind. She can wear that bauble all she likes, right up until she decides she should give it to me instead, ahem.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

02 March 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: March 2

As noted yesterday, this month should bring us some treats to discuss (we'll be checking in with the Spanish state visit tomorrow). Typical me, though, I'm already looking forward to some of this year's big royal events, primarily Queen Margrethe's 75th birthday celebrations in April and the Swedish royal wedding in June. I predict that my excitement will lead to random outfit flashbacks involving previous similar events in the weeks to come, so you've been warned. Starting...now!

For Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday celebrations, a gala concert was held on the first night of the big royal gathering. Today's flashback features two of the gowns from that night on two of our lovely crown princesses:
Unfortunately, a volcano in Iceland decided to erupt just as the celebrations were getting underway, wreaking havoc on the travel plans of many of the scheduled royal guests. Crown Prince Haakon was among those delayed (he was coming off a solo visit to the Middle East), but Mette-Marit made it in time and Crown Prince Frederik pulled double date duty to escort M-M and Mary.
Mette-Marit's dress hits everything she typically goes for, no? A little bit of ruffle, a little bit of floral. A thoroughly standard appearance with one exception: we got to see the Amethyst Necklace Tiara instead of her standard Diamond Daisy Tiara! Only because the Diamond Daisy would make a later appearance and not because she actually chose this one first, but still.
Mary brought out her big gun, the Danish Ruby Parure, and this was its first public appearance after she had the shape modified to her tastes. She wore the ruby earrings with pearl pendants, the brooch, and the ruby bracelet as well. All of which served as a perfect complement to her sleek white Jesper Høvring gown, with the shoulder strategically placed to accommodate her Order of the Elephant riband. This was a winner for me, and I think it's time we see this gown again. Please?

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

01 March 2015

Sunday Tidbits for March 1: Visits Galore, and Things to See Near You

We are heading into prime spring state visit territory, and tiaras are coming our way. Until then, a few tidbits packed with visits current and future and some exhibits you might like to catch:

--The King and Queen of Norway completed a state visit to Australia this week. Queen Sonja opened an exhibit of her art while there, which is pretty awesome. [Hello!, Royal House of Norway]

--The Duke of Cambridge's current trip to Japan and China is going well. I love a royal gamely sporting traditional garb, if only because (in this particular case) it's one less appearance of the infamous blue suit. [Kensington Palace Storify]

--He also popped in for lunch with the Emperor and Empress of Japan. [BBC]

--For those in Canada: A state visit from the King and Queen of the Netherlands has been announced, and it will occur May 27-29. No real details on locations yet, but keep an eye out. [Governor General of Canada]

--For those in Denmark: A selection of Crown Princess Mary's dresses will be included in an exhibit called Danish Fashion Now at Brandts in Odense from March 27th to September 13th. [Brandts, h/t to StyleofMary]

--For those in the U.K.: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty opens March 14th and runs through August 2nd at the V&A in London. [V&A]

--The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway and family joined the Swedish royal family for the ski championships in Sweden. [Zimbio]

--Queen Elizabeth II debuted a new brooch this week when the King and Queen of Tonga came to visit, one given to her last November. [Jewel Vault]

--And finally, one last birthday girl for February: Princess Estelle! She turned three years old on Monday and new photos were released for the occasion. Her adorable coat comes from Lars of Scandinavia. [Kungahuset]
Kate Gabor / kungahuset.se

27 February 2015

Royal Outfits of the Day: February 27

Yesterday, King Felipe and Queen Letizia went on one of their annual engagements, the opening of the ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid. Letizia debuted a new Felipe Varela dress, a tri-color design with Swarovski crystal accents.
So, like a sedate Mondrian, I can get behind that for an art event. But - and here comes something you won't usually hear me say - maybe we lose the crystals? Only because I'm wondering if the kids got a BeDazzler for Christmas or what.

And since we're in a Letizia mood, here she is in meeting mode earlier in the week:
I like a lady that can make a leather dress look businesslike. This sheath is from BOSS Hugo Boss, and the blazer is also Hugo Boss.
In another style twin coincidence for the week, Leti's love for Hugo Boss crossed paths with Crown Princess Mary's love for the same brand, and they both sported leather dresses. (Okay, less like style twins and more like...style cousins. Second cousins, twice removed.)
Yesterday, Mary was out and about in BOSS Hugo Boss dress with a leather bodice and twill skirt with a partial check pattern. The frock comes from Jason Wu's first collection for the label (Fall 2014 RTW), which featured several other plays on these mixed materials and pattern. Mary added a shirt underneath, which actually fits right in with the rest of the collection. I love the skirt portion, but I could do without the leather on this one. It's a little too armour-esque, no?

Photos: Europa Press via Getty Images / Hugo Boss / BilledBladet video / Saks Fifth Avenue

26 February 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Barberini Sapphire Tiara

The Barberini Sapphire Tiara
So many of the sapphire tiaras we know today are fairly symmetrical, even architectural, in their design, so an asymmetrical floral option makes for a refreshing change of pace. Joining other sapphire floral tiaras such as the Ogilvy Tiara, the Barberini Sapphire Tiara features a flowering wreath design. A rose-cut diamond branch is the base for old-cut diamond flowers with an oval collet sapphire at the center of each, and more sapphires are scattered along the branch. The stones are mounted in silver and gold, and the tiara dates from around 1850.
Other pieces in the set
The tiara is part of a parure that includes a necklace, brooch, and girandole earrings. The accompanying pieces are also notable for their commitment to the floral theme, when many parures might opt for a simpler design for the rest of the set. These were among the jewels that belonged to the Barberini family, an old Italian noble family that counts a pope among its ancestors (Pope Urban VIII) and who gave their name to the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, today the location of the National Gallery of Ancient Art.
The tiara is modeled before its most recent auction
These particular pieces are known to us via their history of auctions, rather than their former owners. The jewels were first sold by Christie’s as a parure in 1971 for $18,850. They were sold again, this time as four separate pieces, in 2009, and brought in close to $250,000 all together ($100,144 for the tiara alone). Floral tiaras are not my favorite overall, but this one does have a charm that makes me wish I’d had the checkbook power to scoop these up.

Sapphires in your floral tiaras, yes or no?

Photos: Christie's / Marco Secchi via Getty Images

Royal Style Twin of the Day: February 26

Look at this trouper, visiting EU institutions in Brussels yesterday:
An injured knee (apparently suffered during the family's recent ski vacation) can't keep Queen Mathilde down, and it certainly can't keep her from playing the Natan style twin game. She's giving us flashbacks to Máxima's ensemble from last week, and I think she's coming out on top, because 1) she's restricted her orange accessories to a small pair of earrings, and 2) those are some kicky little flats. I'm not usually a fan of her footwear, but in accommodating her injury, she's managed to up her game.

Since we're hanging out with Mathilde, here's an audience she held earlier in the week (before things got tricky with her knee, I guess):
Color: Yes! Slouchy turtleneck collar: No!

Photos: @hellomag / Dirk Waem/AFP via Getty Images

25 February 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: February 25

My Twitter feed reminded me that yesterday was the anniversary of one special event: the engagement of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling on February 24, 2009! The couple met in 2001 when Victoria was a personal training client of Daniel's at the gyms he owned in Stockholm, and by 2002 their relationship was known to the Swedish press. They tied the knot in June 2010. This was a long engagement, by royal standards, leaving plenty of time for Daniel to recover from the kidney transplant he underwent shortly after the engagement.
Anyway, this means we should talk about the engagement day outfit, no? (Hers, that is. Daniel wore a suit.) Victoria's dress for their meeting with the press has always held a special place in my heart. Because purple, that's why.
It's not just purple, it also has a very special accessory which I adore: a petite diamond flower brooch given to Victoria by Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian, which was a sweet way to connect her big day to beloved family members. And it was a lovely match to her classic diamond engagement ring (which we discussed in our engagement ring series), too.

Video: The press conference
As it turns out, the dress was actually quite a tip off to what her wedding dress would ultimately look like. The open neckline and the wide waistband would both feature prominently in her wedding gown, and the purple dress was made by Pär Engsheden, which ended up being an early hint at the wedding gown designer. No surprise I enjoyed her selection, then, since the wedding dress (and the wedding itself) are personal favorites.

Photos: Pool via Getty Images

24 February 2015

Royal Outfit of the Day: February 24

I was excited to see the Oscar party scene yield a pair of familiar faces:
Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and Princess Marie-Chantal attended the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
I was slightly less excited to see Princess Marie-Chantal's gown, sadly. Listen, I consider myself a fan of her style; even when I don't like the exact pieces she selects, there's an easy elegance to her styling that I admire - she manages to make interesting choices without looking like she's playing dress up. But this Alexander McQueen dress seems doomed from the start. I'm not sure any amount of tailoring can make this satin behave when it clearly wants to make all kinds of folds and puckers at the slightest sign of movement or curve. But I still like the softness of the color palette and the floral design.
As shown in the Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2014 collection, far left; and in the retail version, full-length in ivory satin with floral embroidery in nude and silver.
Another part of the reason I like following Marie-Chantal's looks was well on display in spite of all that: her jewels. She has a collection of unusual pieces and she doesn't make them wait for a vanilla outfit to go on parade. These earrings, which I believe are from JAR, one of her favorites, are a great touch to bring out the pink tones in the dress. Yet another piece for me to covet...

P.S.: My fave from the Oscar after parties? Diane Kruger, making me love a red jumpsuit in Donna Karan Atelier. That's some serious style power, right there.

Photos: Pascal Le Segretain and Venturelli via Getty Images / Alexander McQueen / Matches

23 February 2015

Potential Royal Fashion of the Day: February 23

It's Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear runway time, so let's waste away our Monday looking at some pretty things and dreaming up a wish list for royal fashion to come. As always, click the designer names to be taken to the full collection...

I'd just like someone to wear that one up there on the left for me, please. Anyone. Thanks.

From pastels to orange tartans and back, there are a few things here that we could see pop up in one form or another on the Duchess of Cambridge or the Countess of Wessex. Probably not the black PVC numbers, but one never knows.

Mixed materials and patterns characterized the collection from Queen Letizia's new favorite designer (well, the designer I'm pushing until it becomes her fave, that is).

And a few more, for good measure:
  • Here comes a bunch of designers we've seen a time or two on the Duchess of Cambridge, starting with Temperley London.
  • Anything Mulberry for Kate this season? There's a poncho in there I wouldn't mind getting my hands on.
  • We haven't seen much Jonathan Saunders on the Duchess, but from what we've seen so far she'd probably go for only tamer pieces, and one at a time.
  • Some Boss, designed by Jason Wu, for Hugo Boss fans Crown Princess Mary or Queen Letizia, perhaps?
  • Here's some Diane von Furstenberg, whose classic wrap dresses are in many royal wardrobes.
  • I'm sad to say the first Oscar de la Renta collection without the master himself didn't flip my skirt like it usually does. (Sidebar: I did like the dress from this collection which appeared on Sienna Miller at last night's Oscars, though.) (Sidebar to the sidebar: Was fairly underwhelmed by Oscars fashion on the whole this year. Anyone else? Just...less than memorable. Meh.)
Photos: Style.com

22 February 2015

Sunday Tidbits for February 22: Birthday Girls, History Girls, and More

In this week's tidbits, we've got some current events and some way way back events and everything in between...

--Princess Leonore of Sweden (daughter of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill) turned 1 this week! New pictures were released by the Swedish court to mark the occasion. [Kungahuset]
Brigitte Grenfeldt / Kungahuset.se

--And we have two more birthday girls over in Luxembourg: Princess Stéphanie turned 31 and Princess Alexandra turned 24. [Wort, Royalista]

--From the Royals We Hardly Ever Cover category: The King and Queen of Tonga were received by the Pope at the Vatican this week. [Vatican Radio, RomeReports]


--The first part of the BBC documentary Reinventing the Royals, which was slightly postponed after apparent legal intervention from the royals, is available for viewing at the BBC site (geo-restricted) or on YouTube. [Radio Times, BBC Live Player, YouTube]

--Crown Princess Mary visited Ethiopia as part of her work on women's rights and health. Here's an article in English, and photo gallery 1 and gallery 2 from the trip. [Sydney Morning Herald, BT]


--Interesting: Facial recognition software indicates that a painting thought to depict Jane Seymour may in fact be Anne Boleyn. [Artnet News]

--The Hairpin takes the history of celebrity stylists waaaaay back, profiling Rose Bertin, stylist to Marie Antoinette and others in her court. [The Hairpin]

--A Russian tycoon has donated items formerly belonging to the Yusupov family (you may recall them from our discussion of their long lost rock crystal tiara) back to the Russian national archive. The pieces include a Faberge egg and a pocket watch made for the last tsar's coronation. [Daily Mail]

--Heads up, America: Chaz and Cams are on their way! The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will visit Washington, D.C. and Louisville, Kentucky from March 17th-20th. Their visit will include a meeting at the White House with President Obama and Vice President Biden, and a visit to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. You can read more about the visit at their official site. [Clarence House]

--And finally, don't ever tell me being a royal isn't all glamour, all the time: Here's the Prince of Wales celebrating the 150th anniversary of the London sewer system this week. [BBC Video]

Stay tuned for next week, we'll be checking out the fruits of fashion week and more!

20 February 2015

Royal Coats of the Week: February 20

We've reached the point in winter - at least in my neck of the woods - when I begin to lose all hope of ever being warm again. Can humans hibernate? I'm investigating. Until then, we indulge in another edition of the Royal Coats of the Week. It's the only logical thing to do.
Here's Letizia's entry, a chic white number. This is a very luxurious look, and I'm all for it. (I know some of you are going to say it looks like a bathrobe, but hel-lo people, what is more luxurious than that?! More excuses to wear bathrobes in public, that's what we need.) Tangential to today's topic, but I will also show you the outfit underneath the robe coat:
The King and Queen opened The First Picasso exhibit, among other engagements.
This is my favorite version of her high-waisted full black skirt yet, I think. Kicky.

Naturally, Leti's white coat reminded me of another white coat we've seen recently:
The Duchess of Cambridge visited Portsmouth last week.
From She of Many Coats, Kate, comes this Max Mara option, the same model seen previously on Princess Eugenie. Liked it then, liked it now, can't go wrong with a winter white. Underneath (below) she sported a boat print dress from Alice Temperley - a bit literal for a nautical engagement, I think, but fades into a generic print from a distance.
And this week, she added another Max Mara coat for our consideration, this time in a blue to complement the Seraphine floral dress underneath (which we have seen previously):
This week, she visited the Emma Bridgewater factory.
I'll take any and all of the above, I'm not picky. Even these are a dream when the temps bottom out. Reality is a little more like so:
The Swedish royal family has been attending the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Click here for a gallery.
But without the fun ski competition to distract. SIGH.

Photos: via Getty Images and Twitter as indicated

19 February 2015

Tiara Thursday: Queen Marie José's Beauharnais Pearl Tiara

Today's tiara is unusual for a variety of reasons.
Queen Marie José's Beauharnais Pearl Tiara
First, of course, is the design. Pearl tiaras are often more diamond heavy than pearl heavy, but the design of this coronet-like piece relies on small pearls to outline the engraved gold base and the triangular and fan motifs above it, with small diamonds just as accents. It was made around 1829 in Paris, making it one of the older tiaras still in existence today - but adding another point in the unusual column, it looks mostly the same today as it did back then. Many diadems dating back that far have been remodeled heavily over time, but this one has only been modified to add an extension piece at the back.
Stéphanie
The tiara belonged to the adopted daughter of Napoleon, Stéphanie de Beauharnais (1789-1860). Stéphanie married the Grand Duke of Baden, and she was pictured wearing the tiara (above). The tiara made its way to the Belgian royal family, who are related to Stéphanie courtesy of her granddaughter Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Countess of Flanders (1845-1912), and it eventually ended up in the possession of Princess Marie José of Belgium (1906-2001), daughter of King Albert I and granddaughter of the aforementioned Countess of Flanders. (It should be noted that some references to this tiara tie it back to Empress Joséphine, Napoleon's first wife, who died prior to the reported approximate creation date of the piece, and some paths of ownership tie it to Empress Charlotte of Mexico, born a Belgian princess, at some point.)
Marie José
The tiara's main modification came in 1924, when the band was extended at the back so that Princess Marie José could wear it in the fashionable style across the forehead to her first court ball. In 1930, the princess married the future King Umberto II of Italy. The tiara stayed in Queen Marie José's possession until her death in 2001, when it passed to her daughter, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy. It was auctioned at Christie's in 2007 (as were other pieces from the late queen's jewel collection, including the Empress Joséphine Tiara), and it sold for $85,190. Adding another layer to the rarity of the tiara's tale, it did not disapper into a private collection but was bought by the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. They purchased the tiara because of its link to the history of Mannheim Palace, which was the home of Stéphanie de Beauharnais. It is now part of the museum collection at the impressive Baroque palace.

As pearl tiaras go: Yay or Nay?

Photos: Christie's, Wikimedia

Royal Accessories of the Day: February 19

Another day, another chat about Máxima's accessories.
The King and Queen visited the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe this week.
My love for a colored accessory is clear, but look at Máx go, pushing my affection to the brink: orange top, orange shoes, orange earrings, orange purse, orange gloves. Orange.Gloves. Single-handedly keeping the colored glove industry in business, this one.

Queen Máxima visited some Oranje Fonds projects last week.
And then we had this. A perfectly lovely, professional gray dress (from a Dutch brand, LaDress, per ModeKoninginMaxima)...with giant spider brooches crawling all over it.
The brooches are from Argentine jeweler Celedonio, and are very skillfully crafted to be sure. But a little too skillfully crafted for me, you know what I mean?
Because NOPE NOPE NOPE. {Nightmares.}

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated / LaDress