30 July 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmm...: Princess Stephanie

Just Stephanie in general, really, makes me go Hmm.  But this month, well.....

At the Fight AIDS Gala, 16 July.
Would you like to recreate this look?  (Stop laughing.)  This handkerchief dress is available to you for just 19 euros, my friends.  It's on sale!  (I wonder why.)  Though I'm not sure how much it will cost you to make yourself this color.

At the Red Cross Ball, 30 July.
Now, if this look is more your style (Halloween is just around the corner, kids!), just take a trip to your local costume shop.  You'll want to focus your search in the female superhero section.

Sidebar: Poor Charlene.  She's making such an effort to look lovely, and it's all for naught.  Nobody's looking in her direction.

Flashback Friday: Queen of Trousers

One of the most shocking things from this week's royal sartorial news did not come from one of our usual fashion experimenters, but from one of the most consistent and safe:
The Queen wore trousers! Shocking, I say! To board a rented yacht for a little family holiday time, she sported this mint green pant suit with an Hermès scarf and, in another shocker, no brooch! Thankfully the pearls, the handbag, and the sensible black shoes are still intact so we can recognize her. So rare are the occasions we've seen her in trousers, I have to wonder: why? Let's flashback to our previous glimpses of the Queen in non-skirt attire and investigate.

Did she wear them...out of event-specific necessity?
Doubt it. Task specific, maybe?
Not unless she was planning on chipping in to get the yacht moving. (Mechanic training from World War II would translate, right?) Hopefully it wasn't medically necessary...
...as it was when leaving the hospital in 2003. Maybe it was just a fashion experiment?
I doubt that too. This official event (during a visit to Canada in 1970) is the only time she's worn trousers while going about her job, I believe.

Or, is this a peek at the true off duty Queen?
Perhaps a return to the Groovy Queen that vacationed on the royal yacht Britannia in the 1970s, with the groovy toned down according to the passing decades? If that's the case, I'm truly bummed we didn't get another peek at the royal bell bottoms.

Photos: Reuters/fashion-era.com/AP/Getty/Telegraph/Daily Mail/Daylife

29 July 2010

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 18-24 July

First of all, I totally missed a bunch of outfits from last week (the Vienna conference was 17-19 July, wasn't sure which days had which outfits).  Those have been added to last week's review post.  Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming:

Here's what Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore the week of 18-24 July:
  1.  The opening day of the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, 18 July.  Not gonna lie, I totally love a princess that eats ice cream at a public event in her white dress.
  2. The opening evening of the International AIDS Conference, 18 July, a) in action and b) on the Valentino runway.  Sporting the same Valentino kicks she wore for Victoria and Daniel's pre-wedding concert.
  3. Once again, at the conference, 19 July.  This is like the same pose every drunk college girl has struck at some point in her life, but ya gotta love her enthusiasm for the event t-shirt.
  4. Family photos for Haakon's 37th birthday, 20 July.
Best and Worst of the Week
No trouble picking a best this week - yellow for the win!  Love her in color.  And I think she does better things with this dress than the runway model did.  I had trouble picking a worst, though - the t-shirt doesn't really go with the red jacket and skirt, but that's not her fault; the white lacy dress for the photoshoot is typically pale Mette-Marit, but it worked with what the rest of the family was wearing and with the scenery.  So, ice cream dress it is.

Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/Marcio Madeira/Style.com/Belga

28 July 2010

Week in Review: Letizia, Princess of Asturias, 18-24 July

Here's what Letizia wore the week of 18-24 July:
  1.  Delivery of the National Prizes of the Minister of Culture, 20 July. 
  2. Closing of conference of Cervantes institute representatives, 22 July.
  3. Audiences at Zarzuela Palace, 23 July, a) from the front and b) from the back.  Rare is the day outfit that requires a back view, but this sort of fringe-y tail situation is a rare outfit indeed.
Best and Worst of the Week
What a snoozefest of a week.  I'm bored.  I'll go with the blue suit as the best simply because it's the most dressy of them all.  The second white-and-khaki affair of the week loses on the premise that one should never feel the need to make an M.C. Hammer reference when discussing one's princesses.

Photos: Terra/PurePeople/Abaca/Daylife/Getty

27 July 2010

Royal Trend Watch: Clothes Swap Edition

Eagle-eyed royal watchers (and Svenskdam, too) caught a few dresses that looked a little familiar at Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and associated celebrations....
Friend Anna Ek donned a couple of the Crown Princess's old gowns, while Daniel's sister borrowed another.  The added embellishment on the pink neckline and green waist is the same.
Can I just tell you how much I love Victoria giving out her old dresses to her friends?  Seriously.  I'm not surprised: this is the woman that once wrote her love 30 letters for 30 days they'd be separated.  (If you need to watch Daniel's wedding speech again - and, really, you do - here ya go.)  I like her so much.  I don't really understand the need to add the cheesy looking glitter to the pink and green dresses, but whatever.  So sweet.

We may not get many opportunities to witness royal ladies lending out clothes to friends, but we have seen our fair share of inter-family loans:

Sweden's Princess Birgitta loaned an old outfit to her daughter-in-law Nicole for Victoria's wedding. 
I think I might have at least sprung for a different jacket, so the loan would be a little less obvious.  I wouldn't want to foster too many comparisons with Birgitta, but that's just me (and just mean.  I'm sure she's a lovely person!).

Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg (left) borrowed one of her sister Princess Alexandra's old maternity gowns for Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday celebrations.
Sisters always share.  (Especially when they look exactly alike - Nathalie was the pregnant one, and that was the only way I can tell them apart.  What will I do now she's had the baby?)  Plus, this just makes sense - nobody wants to buy a whole new wardrobe they won't be able to wear next month, let alone 9 from now.  Hell, the same box of borrowed maternity clothes has been making the rounds in my circle of friends for a couple years now.

Princess Martha Louise wears a dress belonging to her mother, Queen Sonja.
I can't imagine wearing any of my mother's clothes.  That would never, ever happen.  Maybe I'd change my mind if my mother had a closet full of designer duds.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has loaned clothes to her daughter-in-law Princess Tessy more than once; the teal outfit she wore to Felipe and Letizia's wedding was seen on Tessy at the National Day 2008 celebrations, as was a black and white evening gown.  National Day 2009 saw Tessy wearing a fascinator first worn by Maria Teresa at Tessy's wedding.
Once again, I am loving the sentiment here: Maria Teresa seems to have gone out of her way to welcome Tessy to the family, even if she did enter in a most unconventional way (as an unmarried 20 year old, she gave birth to the then-19 year old Prince Louis's baby, if you're not up on your Luxembourg scandals).  It's especially lovely given that tales of tension between MT and her own mother-in-law still circulate even now that Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte has passed away.  But once again I question the execution: these are two very different sized ladies, and the same clothes do not suit them both.  The added fabric on the bottom of the evening gown is particularly clumsy.

For the wedding of Prince Pieter-Christiaan in 2005, Princess Mabel wore the same dress that her mother-in-law Queen Beatrix wore when announcing her engagement to Prince Claus in 1965.
Pay attention, now, because this might be the only time I ever compliment Mabel's sense of style on this blog: I love this, absolutely and without reservation.  I love the gesture of wearing a dress with such a significant history, I love what it says about the relationship between these two women, and I love the dress itself.  There are few periods in fashion history that can be repeated without looking completely dated, and this dress falls into one of them.

I would love to see more of this, done just like Mabel (once again, probably the only time I will ever say that).  There should be more reasons to preserve royal clothes than just for future museum display.  Couldn't you picture Crown Princess Mary in some of the 1960s sheath dresses sported by then-Crown Princess Margrethe, or one of Queen Silvia's daughters digging out some of the amazing gowns she's donned for Nobel ceremonies past?  Or am I nuts, and we should always wish for fortunes large enough to bring us new couture, all the time?  (I wish for both, just to be clear.)

Photos: Getty Images/PPE/Corbis

26 July 2010

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 18-24 July

Here's what Princess Mathilde wore the week of 18-24 July:
  1.  Elisabeth Concert at the Palais de Beaux Arts, 20 July.  Looks like she's wearing white stockings, which is killing the whole thing for me.
  2. National Day Te Deum, 21 July, a) at the cathedral and b) on the NATAN runway.  If the model can't even make it look good, stay away.
  3. National Day military parade, 21 July, a) in action and b) the jacket on the NATAN runway. 
  4. Visiting a stand during National Day, 21 July.
Best and Worst of the Week
This week is telling me that the Princess needs a shoe intervention.  Seriously, not a good selection among the lot of these looks.  Disregarding the orange overkill on the shoes, I'll pick her second look of National Day as the best of the week and the black and white disaster as the first.  Slim pickings this week - the other 2 dresses are boring me.

Photos: Belga/Peter Schultz

Runway Monday: Carolina Herrera Daywear

A couple weeks ago we looked at some of the best gowns from Carolina Herrera's Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear, Pre-Fall 2010, Fall 2010 Ready-to Wear and Resort 2011 collections.  Now it's time to look at the day stuff, which is equally elegant:

 I'd love it if one of these summery looks could make an appearance before the warm weather runs out.

 All the orange we've seen lately on Mathilde and Máxima has me longing for another strong color instead.  How about some red touches to change things up a bit?

If we must continue with the orange something more like one of these looks would be preferable, no?  The first look on the left bears striking resemblance to the black and white print/orange combination Máxima's been wearing from NATAN, but I love how much more sophisticated it looks in the hands of a more talented designer.  Mathilde could take a note from the center model; orange shoes are a great accent on their own, just not so much with an entirely orange ensemble.  And if we must go full-on citrus, mixing up the textures as in the last outfit is a much more refined way to go.

Photos: Style.com

23 July 2010

Flashback Friday: Belgian National Days Past

Sometimes, it's all about context.  Sure, the ladies of the Belgian royal family came up with some doozies at this year's National Day, but when you look at what they sported in years past, they were really just carrying on one hell of a tradition....

Queen Paola's planetary hat this year just echoed the tradition begun by Mathilde last year:

Three years earlier, she went the turban route:
Maybe I'll go as Mathilde for Halloween this year.  All I need is a roll of craft paper to wrap around my head and a bright orange outfit.

Or a swamp thing to stick on my head with matching psychedelic coat.

Even Queen Fabiola gets in on the fun sometimes, playing the roll of family fortune teller in 2005.

The Queen of the Strange National Day Costumes, however, has to be Princess Claire.

It's only when she sits that you realize that this dress has a tail.

Let's start with the handbag: it's in the shape of Belgium.  Call me geographically challenged, but all I see is a strange black blob with oddly positioned rhinestones (at least, I think that's what they are).  The coat is a tribute to Mondrian, which I can get down with.  But you'd have to try pretty hard to find anything less Mondrian in nature than the giant pouf of tulle and fluffy balloon skirt surrounding it.  That's what I call a thematic fail.

But it's not as big of a thematic fail as this gem, the pièce de résistance of sartorial tomfoolery:
There are no words.

Photos: Mark Renders/Getty Images/Gerard Cerles/AFP

22 July 2010

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 11-17 July

Here's what Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore the week of 11-17 July:
  1. Attending the Life Ball in Vienna, 17 July.  On the right is the dress as shown in the Valentino Resort 2009 Collection.
I'm so happy Mette-Marit is back, she hasn't been spotted in nearly a month!  And this dress is lovely; I particularly like the blue sash she's added, despite all the folds and the sparkle I think the dress looks a little blah without it.

UPDATE: I missed some stuff!
Here she is leaving for/arriving in Vienna (I think...captions were a little fuzzy and the ghetto Google translator doesn't seem to understand Norwegian any better than I do) and then during an event for the International AIDS conference. 

Photos: Florian Seefried/Getty Images/Don Ashby/Style.com/UNAIDS/abc.no

21 July 2010

Royal Fashion Awards: National Day in Belgium

The Belgian ladies put on quite a show for National Day today, and it was an interesting sartorial display indeed.  Let's give out some awards, shall we?

Best Get Out of Criticism Free Pass
Queen Fabiola
Queen Fabiola's just cute.  She's earned the right to scarf it up, wear pants and no hat to a cathedral service, and to leave her house in the granny version of John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever wardrobe.


Most Mind Boggling
Queen Paola
This is a whole lot of look.  There is a planetary ring of lace around her head, and it's just the ignition in this giant sartorial explosion: we've got a basket weave jacket, a froufrou jacket closure, and a skirt that's both wrapped and too long.  I have no idea where to look first.  My head hurts.

Biggest Costume
Princess Claire
 I want to like this.  I'd like more princesses to channel a little fifties glamour every now and then.  She supported a young Belgian designer, Bernard Depoorter.  But...no.  I'm sure there is a woman that can pull this off at a day event without looking like she's on her way to a fancy dress party, but it's not Claire.

Best Close Call
Princess Mathilde at the Military Parade
This comes so close to being fabulous.  I like the orange on her and as far as NATAN goes, it's a pretty good fit.  And I love a giant hat. But she took it just a step too far - why the orange shoes?  You can just dip into the citrus cocktail, you don't have to jump in feet first.

Biggest Contrast
Princess Mathilde visiting a Food Stand
Looks like Mathilde just ran out of steam for her third outfit of the day (outfit 2 above, outfit 1 below).  This is...normal.  I guess that's what you get when you attempt to pull a sartorial hat trick.

Best Dressed
Princess Astrid
Uniforms: appropriate for the time of day, appropriate amount of costume.  It's a no fail solution. 

Worst Dressed
Princess Mathilde at the Te Deum Service
Mathilde has attended this event many a time in the past, so I'm not sure how she got so mixed up about the time.   It's not an evening event, yet this is what she wore.  That's an evening dress (sleeveless at the Te Deum! Scandal!), and a bad one at that.   This NATAN creation puts the waist of the dress right where no woman wants it and then has the audacity to add bulk with that strange black band.   The hair's evening wear too - there's no need to be that intricate during the day - and that hair ornament (can you call it a fascinator? I'm not sure you can) feels like something Spain's Princess Elena might wear with one of her olé! ensembles.  And then there's the shoes and the bag which is beige which makes no sense....I'm truly confused.   Mathilde's the only one that changed between the Te Deum and the military parade.  She just should have stuck with the orange number.

Photos:  Belga