30 June 2011

Week in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge, 26 June - 2 July, Part 1

During the Cambridge's North American tour, I'll be splitting Catherine's looks into multiple review posts since even I don't write posts as crazy long as a full week would be. So, Part 1:

1. At the royal box for Wimbledon, 27 June, a) on Kate and b) with the LK Bennett shoes on display; c) the dress from Temperley London, and d) Secret Agent Wills at Wimbledon, just because I find him entertaining. Kate also wore those diamond and sapphire Are-They-Or-Aren't-They-Diana's earrings again, as well as the famous Bracelet of Controversy, and carried a beige clutch and a brown jacket.
I said it on Twitter, and I'll say it again: kicky little tennis dress. I like it, and I'm ever so glad she didn't have to put the jacket on top. The detail on the back of the straps would bug the crap out of me if I wore this - looks like the kind of thing that would get all messed up on your seat back, or that someone could stand behind you and flick at. (I guess this means we know Secret Agent Wills isn't the kind of husband that annoys his wife for sport.)

2. Leaving Heathrow Airport for Canada, 30 June, a) on Kate, b) the dress from Roland Mouret, and c) the jacket from Smythe. Her shoes are Manolo Blahniks and her bag is Mulberry.
Basically, if I had the money - and the body, but that's a different discussion - my daily uniform would be Roland Mouret and Manolos. Kudos are due to Mrs. Cambridge here: she went French (Mouret), Canadian (Smythe), British (Mulberry) and Fabulous (Blahnik), all in one outfit. That's the mark of a black belt in international political dressing. And this is just the ho-hum, excuse me while I board my private plane look.

3. Arriving in Canada and the first events of the day in Ottawa, 30 June, a) on Kate, and b) from Erdem, with the same shoes and clutch as at Wimbledon. She also wore the diamond and cabochon sapphire earrings she wore on engagement day.
4. An evening barbecue with young people, 30 June, in an Issa dress.
I'd say Erdem's the biggest Canadian name in high fashion, so the second outfit of the day is a smart move indeed. There's that black belt again, karate-chopping her way into Canada's arms. As for the actual dress...eh. Maybe I'm just a little burnt out on the navy overload, or maybe I'm just not a fan of navy lace dresses. I have no complaints of substance here, it just doesn't flip my skirt up. Sadly, neither does the last dress (which she's had for a long time and was last seen the day before the wedding), and I blame it on one thing: the shoes. Can we have the Manolos back, please? (And yes, I know, more comfortable, long day, etc. But my shoe-loving heart wants what it wants.)

How's she doing so far? Do you have a favorite look yet?

Photos: PA/Daily Mail/Film Magic/Getty Images/Daylife/AP Photo/Net-a-porter/Globe and Mail/Chris Wattie/Reuters

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 19-25 June

Here's what Mette-Marit wore from 19-25 June:

  1. At a dinner for the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors, 20 June, a) on Mette-Marit and b) from Valentino.
  2. At an event related to the "Til topps" event, 24 June. "Til topps" is an event in which people climb to the top of Norway's highest mountain, and this is just right. Precisely what a von Trapp would have worn.
  3. Participating in the "Til topps" event, 25 June. A little family walk to the top of Norway! Well, that's kind of adorable.
Look who else showed up for the UN dinner:
Absolutely love that white on Rania, but I think Sonja might win my prize for this mini-gathering of royals. Surprisingly chic, that simple dress and the scarf thrown just so, no?

Photo: AP/Style.com/side2

Tiara Thursday: Grace's Small Diamond Tiara

Last Monaco tiara before the big day! Everybody, please cross your fingers in sync for plenty of tiara love in one form or another during the festivities.

This diamond number I have no better name for than the Small Diamond Tiara, but that's okay. It's not particularly fancy itself, so I think it'll do just fine with a plain name.

This small diamond setting was perhaps Grace's most worn tiara, which isn't really a surprise given that her taste tilted more towards elaborate hairstyles than elaborate jewels.

She had a tendency to nestle it into those hairdos so that you can barely tell it's there, which is either a crying shame or a mark of class (not needing to show off your diamonds, just having them there, that is), depending on your perspective. Once again, I bow in the face of brilliant tiara hair.

I have wondered if this piece was also worn by Princess Caroline - the shape of her hair ornament for her pre-wedding ball in 1978 would seem to match - but have never found a clear enough picture to tell.

Despite the small size, I've always loved this tiara for its delicate nature, and would love to see it make a reappearance. What about you: too small, or just right?

Royal Trend Watch: Flying the Flag

My Twitter friend @nina_lux drew some attention to a rather interesting accessory sported by the Countess of Wessex yesterday, and she wasn't even talking about the return of the peacock hat.
It's the return of the Union Jack bag! Sophie has carried this eyebrow-raising clutch before:
Emblazoned with the words "Paparazzi", "Britannia Rules", and "Flying the Flag for Fashion", it's a rather cheeky display of one's patriotism, isn't it? Naturally, this got me thinking about other such overt displays of flag-flying furor we've seen from our royals.
Camilla has similar tastes, having made headlines for carrying her mother-in-law's likeness on a purse. Naturally, William's Union Jack vest (which has the Austin Powers saying "Yeah, Baby!" written on it) at Eton came to mind, as did Eugenie's flag confusion when she flew the stars and stripes on holiday. Zara and Harry, meanwhile, gamely sported St. George's flag while supporting England rugby.

(Zara, by the way, will be happy to assist you should you want to fly the Union Jack for yourself:
This hoodie comes from her line of casual equestrian wear.)

Apart from sporting events, we've seen some of these national displays from a handful of other royals over the years.
Belgium's Princess Claire carried a handbag in the shape of Belgium as a part of one of her notoriously themed ensembles for the country's National Day festivities. (You can see the rest of them here. They're something to behold, I'll say that.)

The Dutch have adopted orange as their national color, and their royals are not shy about wearing it in abundance. The actual flag, though, is not so common for patriotic wear, which is why Máxima's jacket stands out.
Not only is this the red, white, and blue flag stripe, the jacket from Jan Taminiau is made from repurposed Dutch postal bags. Kind of clever, no?

Máxima also starts us into the trend of flag jewelry, as she owns a brooch in the shape of the Netherlands flag (see it on display at the World Cup here). The current generation of Danish princes seem to have a fetish for this as well, but instead of brooches, they go for engagement rings.
Crown Prince Frederik presented Mary with a ruby and diamond ring (above left) echoing the red and white of the Danish flag, while Prince Joachim chose to imitate the French flag when he selected a ring for his French love, Marie (above right). Mary's is all right...but perhaps Joachim should have stopped with the flag theme after the ruby and diamond ring he presented to his first wife, Alexandra. (You can see Alexandra's ring, and many more, right here.)

What do you make of this patriotic trend? Delightful, kitschy, or delightfully kitschy?

Photos: Getty Images

Week in Review: Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, 19-25 June

Here's what Maria Teresa wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Pre-National Day visit to Niederanven, 22 June. As noted previously, the red and pink version of the purple dress she has.
  2. a) Concert, 22 June, b) the detail on the jacket (and some cute married peopleness), c) the runway version from Elie Saab. The best of the National Day celebrations for me!
  3. National Day, 23 June. This has got to be Natan, I mean, what other explanation is there? Those are Natan shoes (owned also by Maxima and Mathilde), and that is the same hat she wore in Norway, just in blinding pink this time.
Now, I shall go and pout that we have yet to see any gala photographs from this year's National Day celebrations. No party this year, or just being shy about it?

Photos: PPE/Hola/Tageblatt/Yannis Vlamos/Gorunway.com/Style.com

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mary, 19-25 June

Here's what Mary wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Shopping in Copenhagen, with a Prada bag and Chanel shades. I feel like this is what you wear shopping when you're just popping to the shops to grab a few necessities on your way home from the office, and you've forgotten to take off the cardi you keep on the back of your chair for days when the office air conditioning is overzealous. Cute dress, though.
Photo: msn.dk

29 June 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Civil Wedding Dresses

You know, I wouldn't mind being a bride in one of those countries that requires a civil ceremony in addition to a religious one. Why? Two wedding dresses. (Did you even have to ask?)

In advance of Charlene Wittstock's upcoming two wedding dress affair, we're taking a look back at the other brides that have done the same: a separate wedding dress for a separate civil wedding. (Note: I'm excluding those that had the civil wedding in their religious wedding outfit, and those that had only a civil wedding.)

Left to Right: Sibilla Weiller weds Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg; Tessy Antony weds Prince Louis of Luxembourg
We'll kick things off with a few of the lovely ladies of Luxembourg that meet our requirements. Sibilla took an unexpectedly casual turn in 1994, while Tessy and Louis looked like a couple of 12-year-olds in 2006. I mean, they were a couple of 12-year-olds, basically (they were married at the age of 20 after becoming parents earlier that year), but those shoes on Tessy aren't helping. The rest of it is lovely, though!

L to R: Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz weds Prince Michael of Kent; Camilla Parker Bowles weds the Prince of Wales
The Brits don't usually do the civil wedding thing, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. Prince and Princess Michael had a civil wedding first in Austria, and a religious wedding a few years later. Camilla and Charles married at the Windsor Guildhall before heading for a religious blessing, which is enough cause for me to post another picture of her amazing wedding ensemble. Another Windsor with a double wedding under his belt is Lord Nicholas Windsor, who married Paola Doimi de Frankopan in London with a religious ceremony following in the Vatican. (Lord Nicholas, of course, is one of the Kent members of the family that has converted to Catholicism.)

Participants in our most recent religious royal wedding, Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Alexander Johannsmann, were civilly married last year with Nathalie pregnant with their first child. (Many many thanks to reader Caroline for sending this one in!) Nathalie wore the same pink outfit she wore earlier in the year to her aunt Queen Margrethe's birthday celebrations: elegant and classy maternity wear!

L to R: Grace Kelly weds Prince Rainier of Monaco, and a close up of her wedding outfit; Princess Caroline of Monaco weds Philippe Junot
Nobody does ladylike better than Grace, and this is pink perfection. Her daughter Caroline tried to recreate the demure magic later on, but the infiltration of the 1970s styles didn't result in quite as timeless a result. Tremendously unflattering hat there.

L to R: Marilène van den Broek weds Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau; Annette Sekrève weds Prince Bernhard of Orange-Nassau; Anita van Eijk weds Prince Pieter-Christiaan of Orange-Nassau; Aimee Söhngen weds Prince Floris of Orange Nassau; Laurentien Brinkhorst weds Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
If you want something done with some flair, get yourself a Dutch princess, I always say! Though some of our Dutch friends opted to have their civil ceremonies on the same day as their religious ones and in the same dress (Máxima and Mabel, for example), those that separated the two made up for the overly white nature of their religious gowns with waves of color. From Jackie O. imitations to hats that float about as if unattached to the head, no one holds a candle to dear Princess Anita. WOW. That is some...outfit. Sea life in coat form, with coral reef embellishments. And matching yellow print shoes. That's one way to keep the attention on the bride without the big white gown!

Who did civil wedding the best?

Photos: Corbis/Wort/ANP

Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 19-25 June

Here's what Máxima wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Opening the Social Performance Task Force conference, 21 June. At least we've had a year to recover since the last notorious double outing of this mustard-bowed wonder.
  2. Attending the Love Concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, 22 June. Oh, Máx. You so crazy. Reader Lyrebirdgully sent this outfit in with a bit more info: this concert had a Spanish theme, and the guests were Dutch citizens with non-Dutch backgrounds. As good a place as any to fly her Argentine background flag, really. And yet...no. This is a costume. She might as well plop a bunch of fruit on her head and drop by for a set at the Copa on her way back to the palace.
  3. Visiting the Museum Park Orientalis, 24 June. Just a little dose of sanity, to round out the week. Phew!
Photos: PPE/Getty Images/Daylife/Belga

Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 19-25 June

Here's what Victoria wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Attending the opening of an exhibit at the Prince Eugene's Waldemarsudde Art Museum, 21 June. Repeating her H&M dress, YSL sandals, Malene Birger bag. Meh.

28 June 2011

Week in Review: Charlene Wittstock, 19-25 June

Here's what Charlene wore from 19-25 June:

  1. a, b, and c) More pre-wedding interviews. Good grief, so many interviews, I didn't even attempt to make sure I had them all. All the interviews in the world won't make this wedding as popular as William and Kate's, kids, that's just the way it is. And since I'm clearly in a catty mood already, I'll just round it out: outfit 1c has been stolen from the set of The Golden Girls, and should be returned ASAP.
  2. Attending the St. Jean procession, 23 June. See also: the fantastic detail on the dress fabric, and the shoes. This, I think, is lovely.
  3. At the Jumping International de Monte-Carlo, 24 June. I like this one too. Very demure.
  4. Cocktail party for Jumping International de Monte-Carlo, 24 June, a) on Charlene and b) from Lanvin. It's not so much the dress I take issue with here as it is the shoes. If you look in the dictionary under the term "clodhoppers", I believe you'll find a photo of these babies. Also, she makes a totally comical picture next to stuffy old Albert.
  5. In Athens for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Summer Games, 25 June. I'd need to see this outfit in action to judge. Because this is the sort of thing that you just have to commit to, no hesitation, and a photo can't tell me if she did that. You know what I mean?
Photos: Profimedia/Reuters/Daylife/Style.com/GoRunway.com/Yannis Vlamos

Week in Review: Princess Tatiana, 19-25 June

Here's what Tatiana wore from 19-25 June:

  1. At a lunch to celebrate the Lulu & Co. Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, 21 June. I don't know if it's the angle of the photograph, the fact that she's wearing flats, or what, but something's not right here.
Photos: Getty Images

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 19-25 June

Here's what Letizia wore from 19-25 June:

  1. At a meeting for the Prince of Girona Foundation, 21 June a) the Zara dress, and b) the purse. This is a cute little dress, but I think one of the girls accidentally had a craft hour with that bag...
  2. Attending a dinner, 21 June.
  3. At the opening of the Foro Impulsa conference, 22 June. The blue suit is back (again), but at least she shook up the top she wore it with this time, I guess?
  4. Awarding the IMPULSA Prizes, 22 June. Now here's a repeat I can get behind! Viva la mod Mango dress!
Photos: Terra/Hola

27 June 2011

Week in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge, 19-25 June

Here's what Catherine wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Official portrait released for the Canada trip, repeating the Amanda Wakeley jacket we saw pre-wedding.
  2. a) Presenting medals to the Irish Guards on Armed Forces Day, 25 June, wearing b) a shamrock brooch previously worn by the Queen Mother and the Princess Royal while on Irish Guards engagements, c) a new charm bracelet engraved with her royal cypher, a Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat, Anya Hindmarch clutch, Prada shoes, and an Alexander McQueen coat dress, a combination of styles d) and e) from the Pre-Fall 2011 collection.
To all of those that called her out for pulling a Diana move with the military coat for the military engagement, I say: pfffft. That's not a Diana move, that's a royal move. See also: Elizabeth, Camilla, Sophie, pretty much everything Anne's ever worn, etc. If you want to see a Diana comparison here, in my opinion, you have to go to the bracelet. Diana had a known penchant for gifts with the personal touch. Interestingly, this bracelet appears to have been a gift from Camilla as it seems to have Camilla's cypher on the other side.

The hat seems a little froofy (technical term) to me when paired with that stark coat. But at the same time, it's the froofiness of the hat that's keeping this from being a soldier costume, or from being something that the Princess Royal might wear. And I do like the coat (c'mon, she had McQueen make her something, you know I'm loving that). I think it was a great choice for this engagement. She went simple, since it's not like she could compete with her hubby's ensemble:
This, by the way, solves the mystery of the second uniform William wore on his wedding day as the couple drove Prince Charles's classic car away from Buckingham Palace. I shall update his wedding post tout de suite.

In other Armed Forces Day news, Camilla made a half-hearted attempt to compete with her man's uniform with this kicky new hat:
Alas, her efforts were for naught. I mean...look at that uniform. Yowza.

What did you think of Kate's military effort?

Photos: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Alexander McQueen/Style.com/Daylife/Daily Mail

Week in Review: Princess Beatrice, 19-25 June

Here's what Beatrice wore from 19-25 June:

  1. a - f) On holiday in the French Riviera, and showing up all those people that made fun of her in a bikini a few years ago. You go, Bea!
  2. Attending Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Ball, 23 June, a) on Beatrice and b) from Elie Saab. It's just my idea of heaven, you know?
Now, the big Beatrice style news this week: the Daily Mail (yeah, eye roll) says Bea has hired a stylist, who is responsible for the Elie Saab, and all the way back to that Roland Mouret that I loved so very much. I believe it, and I'm not at all surprised. The article says that she got help after the royal wedding debacle, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was a stylist involved in getting her into Valentino couture for the big day. (I won't blame the stylist for that hat, though. That's all Treacy's fault.) I say good for her, and I hope the stylist is teaching and not just dictating when it comes to these wonderful ensembles.

The Daily Mail also names a price for that Elie Saab wonder: £73,000. Nancy left a comment asking if we all believed that price. Here's my answer: I believe 100% that is a valid price; I believe 0% that Bea paid anything nearing that, if she paid at all. This is couture. We're talking every single embellishment (probably the priciest embellishments available) hand sewn, custom everything. If a regular Jane such as myself walked into Elie Saab off the street, I bet that's the bill I'd get. But Bea, working through a stylist...paid after a hefty discount, or wore the dress as a loan for the night. What do you think?

Photos: Bauer Griffin/Zimbio/Xclusive Pix/Daily Mail/Umberto Fratini/GoRunway.com/Style.com/Wire Image

Week in Review: Princess Eugenie, 19-25 June

Here's what Eugenie wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Attending Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Ball, 23 June. Yes, this is the same Vivienne Westwood gown she wore to the evening party for William and Kate's wedding, and it is still divine.
Photo: Daily Mail/Wire Image

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 19-25 June

Here's what Mathilde wore from 19-25 June:

  1. Starting an economic mission to New York, 22 June.
  2. Day 2, 23 June. Have to be Natan, these first two ensembles. Not bad at all, just typical.
  3. At a reception on Day 2, 23 June. Repeating from her sister's civil wedding ceremony. Love this dress for her.
  4. Day 3, 24 June. Well, you know how I feel about purple. But even if I wasn't a grape fanatic, I'd like this one for her. The draping covers just what it needs to cover. This one might be my favorite of the week.
  5. Attending a concert, 24 June. YELLOW. But this is a princess, second to Máxima, that can pull off the colors.
  6. Day 4, 25 June. Look: Mathilde has caught Kate fever. This is a blue version of the black Issa wrap dress Ms. Middleton was spotted shopping in just before her wedding. I'm really surprised to see Mathilde in Issa! I will never be a huge fan of the brand, but a dress with a design that can flatter both of these ladies is a design feat indeed.
Photos: Belga/Diane von Furstenberg/Getty Images/Daylife

25 June 2011

Style Speculation: Charlene Wittstock's Bridal Gown

With one week to go, it's time for another round of everyone's favorite game: The Royal Bridal Guessing Game!

What will Charlene Wittstock wear for her big day? Here's what we know: she'll have 2 dresses, one for her civil wedding and one for her religious wedding. Since the religious one is the thing that we (well, I) really care about, let's skip right to that.

Armani has been confirmed as the designer, and this is no surprise: he's been taking care of Charlene for a long time. Queen Rania is a big fan, and if the Belgians aren't trouncing about in Natan, they're probably in Armani. I was surprised, given his level of royal popularity, to find only two royal wedding dresses to his name. (Unless someone's got one I'm missing?)
Left to Right: Archduchess Catharina von Österreich, Princess Tatjana of Leichtenstein
Well, he's no Valentino, that's for sure. If this is any indication, simple will be the name of the game.

If we branch out from the royal circle into some of the celebrity gowns Armani has whipped up, though, we find that that's not necessarily the rule:
L to R: Danielle Spencer, Katie Holmes, Megan Fox, Mira Sorvino
So, not really a cohesive look.

Here are some of the more notable Armani confections that Charlene has sported, for further reference:
Now, let's play our game.

What will Charlene's wedding gown will look like?

My guess: very simple, not much in the way of lace and/or other baubles. With a slim skirt, as I just can't picture her in a full one. And an epic train/veil length - they're making a big to-do of this wedding, you know. Can't be too simple.

Your turn!

Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 12-18 June

Here's what Máxima wore from 12-18 June:

  1. Meeting with the President of Mexico during a trip as part of her role as UN ambassador for inclusive finance, in the Valentino she's worn before. I love that she brought a little something special - Valentino, not same old Natan - for a presidential meeting.
  2. Attending a mass to mark the retirement of the Bishop of the diocese of Rotterdam, 18 June. You put a veil on it, you're good to go. That's the rule, I'm pretty sure.
Photos: PPE/Buys

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 12-18 June

Here's what Mathilde wore from 12-18 June:

  1. Visiting Limburg, 15 June. Flats! Cute red ones, too.
  2. Participating in an MS event at Hasselt University, 16 June, a) on Mathilde and b) the dress from Natan. Mathilde has this dress in the pink and with orange ornamentation instead of the white/beige, and I can see why - it looks great on her! I like this enough to forgive the matching orange shoes that are under there. 

24 June 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Luxembourg's National Day

Yesterday was National Day in Luxembourg! You know how I love it when the Lux royals come out to play. The family attends the Te Deum mass, and then the Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duke review troops and watch a parade with the Grand Duchess. And they get all dressed up and everything:

Best Pepto Bismol
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
THIS IS A LOT OF PINK. I like the shape on her. I certainly do like my Grand Duchess in a bit of color and a pillbox hat. And yet...THIS IS A LOT OF PINK. Also, I'm concerned that the thing on her shoulder might be trying to eat her alive.

Worst U.M.O.
Princess Tessy
What's a U.M.O., you ask? It's an Unidentified Millinery Object. I feel like if Dale Chihuly did hats, this is the hat that Dale Chihuly would do. Except that he'd do it in a rainbow, and I'd probably have to like it on principle if he did. But he didn't, so I'm out. (And so, probably, are the rest of you that have no clue what in Chihuly hell I'm on about.) I'll say this for it: girlfriend seems to be working it. And so is her husband...really, Louis? A matching tie?

Worst Raincoat
Princess Alexandra
Look how lovely Princess Alexandra is. Another Alexandra to add to my list of royals that I want to hang with. And that's why this coat pains me so. Standing still, it's passable, but in action (see her walk here)....no. Nooooo.

We usually get a picture or two of the gala (think: MT in a tiara), so I'll update when those pop up.

On the day before National Day, the family gets the party started by visiting various spots around the country: on Wednesday, the Grand Duke and Duchess visited the municipality of Niederanven, and the Hereditary Grand Duke and his sister Princess Alexandra visited Esch-sur-Alzette. Then the whole family comes out for a band performance and fireworks show in the evening.
Best in Day-Glo
Princess Alexandra
Once again, Alexandra has worn Natan, and once again, I am dubious. But this is fairly suited to her age (as far as Natan goes) so I'll buy in. If nothing else, it made her easy to spot in the crowd, right?

Best in Sparkle
Maria Teresa in the Evening
Here's MT in her (and my) beloved Elie Saab. And while I could quibble over fit and what have you, I won't. Because this is super elegant and classy. Also, it sparkles.

Best in Red
Maria Teresa in Niederanven and Tessy at the Concert/Fireworks
Looks like Maria Teresa has a red version of the purple dress we just saw in Norway! Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with Tessy here, either. Looks like she might have a little military flair going on in the jacket, which I love. (Also: Louis, if you're gonna match your tie to your wife, this is the way to go about it.)

Do you have any Luxembourg favorites?

Photos: PPE/v.d.Werf/Tageblatt