04 January 2012

Royal Fashion Awards: Sparkling New Year's Receptions

Happy New Year! I hope you're not feeling the aftermath of your celebrations too harshly, but just in case you are, I have something to help take away the pain: tiaras. Two royal families in particular celebrate the New Year the right way, by bringing out their most formal duds and headgear.

Denmark, January 1st
We'll start in Denmark, where they hold a few different events for various dignitaries and so on in the first days of each new year. The first is the most formal, requiring tiaras and the very fancy pants collar of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark's' highest order of chivalry) instead of the usual sash

Best Repeat
Crown Princess Mary
This is a reworked version of one of my very favorite Mary looks of all time, from her maternity wear (and previously worn for this same event, see it here), and it is WONDERFUL. All covered up and princess-y with a killer train to boot? Seriously, I'm all kinds of jumpy claps about this. With the magical dress redo, she's paired pieces of the Danish Ruby Parure (as expected, she always wears this for this grand event): the tiara, the brooch on her waistband, the smaller version of the earrings with what looks like a black pearl drop, and SQUEE - something new! - what seems to be the leftover bits from her tiara redesign worked into her hair. Oh, man. She just set the bar very, very high for 2012.

Most Predictable Repeat
Queen Margrethe
A typical repeated Margrethe dress, paired with the Pearl Poire Tiara and a giant fur. Typical Margrethe...but what more could you want?

Happiest Appearance
Princess Elisabeth
 With Princess Marie at home, hopefully all cozy and comfy waiting for her baby to arrive, I was so happy to get a glimpse of a substitute tiara-sporting royal! This is Princess Elisabeth, first cousin of Queen Margrethe, and this is her sapphire tiara which came from Princess Thyra (a daughter of Frederik VIII) via her mother. Elisabeth never married and never had children, so many wonder if her jewels might make it back into the main royal line someday (long may she live, of course). In the mean time, she seems to be taking the Victoria route with her all blue sparkle. Well done!

Most Bedazzled
The Men
Left to Right: Prince Joachim, Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Henrik
You know why the ladies have to do it up so high with the tiaras and all that? Look at what they have to compete with! The Danish men have the most ornamented military uniforms around, from Joachim's Nutcracker attire to Frederik's Vegas shoulders and Henrik's major hat. You have to be regal indeed to pull this stuff off. Well played, gents.

Denmark, January 3rd
A second New Year's Court has been held for members of the Diplomatic Corps. This time the reception is during the day, so no tiaras are involved. 

Worst Redo
Crown Princess Mary
Here we have what seems to be a second cut up repeated New Year’s Court dress, this time from Mary’s first appearance in 2006. And this time…well, my jumpy claps are gone. The train’s been lopped off (why? Oh, poor train. I mourn the death of the train.), and a waistband’s been added. It really needed the updo, the train, and all the jewels to keep it from being a plain ol’ straight jacket.

Most Staunch Tradition
Queen Margrethe
Oh, Marge. She wears this same thing each year. The furs and the fur trim. Classic Daisy.

Most Up and Down
The Men
At first, it seemed to me that the men were the unequivocal best dressed for the second New Year’s Court. But then I saw Henrik’s hat (better or worse than the upturned mop from Court #1?). And then I realized that, just after the lovely Janet entertained us in the comments with the tale of Fred and Mary laughing in an interview about old Freddles’ elephant flying off while dancing, Henrik’s elephant flew off and Fred picked it up. Oh, gents. Good thing the ladies have it together. 

Denmark, January 4th
The final New Year's Court is also a day event, with no tiaras but an otherwise formal dress code.

Best Repeat Streak
Crown Princess Mary
Woohoo! Three repeats in a row, but this time we're back to my favorites: this blue gown and jacket combo worn at the courts in 2008 and 2010 is purely regal. An excellent comeback, after I wasn't so impressed with yesterday's look.

Most in Need of a Wash
Queen Margrethe
Oh, Marge, come on now. Even Prince Henrik changed his outfit from yesterday! Tradition is tradition, but I'm bored. Good thing we're done for the year.

Japan, January 1st
Next, we're on to Japan. The imperial family turns out en masse for a reception for various diplomats and dignitaries, and it's the sparkliest gathering around.

Best in Tradition
Empress Michiko
Empress Michiko does the same thing every year, her Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara and a white gown. Regal as can be, though, so who can blame her? We also must give a tip o' the sartorial hat to Emperor Akihito there - glad to see him out and about after his hospitalization last month.

Best in Tiara Quantities
The Japanese Princesses
Loooook at all these tiaras. Sparkle for days! After the Emperor and Empress there, we have the imperial princesses. And they are, left to right (take a big breath, this is a long list): Princess Akishino (named Kiko, wife of the Emperor's second son Akishino), Princess Mako of Akishino (Kiko and Akishino's oldest daughter), Princess Hitachi (sister-in-law of the Emperor), Princess Akiko and Princess Yōko of Mikasa (daughters of the Emperor's first cousin), Princess Takamado (wife of the Emperor's late cousin) and her oldest daughter, Princess Tsuguko (she has two other daughters who are just out of this shot). PHEW. Apologies in advance if that's not 100% correct, but many thanks to reader Anne for sending all of it in. So, anyway, you can't really see many of these tiaras, but the princesses seem to get a tiara (often with a matching necklace) when they marry in or when they reach the age of 20 (the age of majority) for those born into the family. Most of them, beyond the Crown Princess and the Empress, seem to only have the one set at their disposal. And they're all diamonds or diamonds and pearls...no non-white jewels for this family.

Best in Unseen
Crown Princess Masako
Crown Princess Masako stays mostly out of sight as she's still being treated for the psychological ailments that come from a tough adjustment to royal life and pressure surrounding her inability to produce a male heir for the family, but it's always nice to get a smiling glimpse of her, here with her husband Crown Prince Naruhito and her daughter Aiko. Masako's wearing a diamond and pearl-tipped sunburst tiara which formerly belonged to the Empress. 

Who do you think did sparkle best for the New Year?

Photos: PPE/Nieboer/Billed Bladet/Hanne Juul/Anthon Unger/Tarik Mikkel Khan/Ekstra Bladet/yuko2ch/PPE/Colourpress/Kongsted/rpp/Jens Norgaard Larsen/BT/Martin Heoin/SN