31 July 2015

Royal Wedding Gown Flashback of the Day: July 31

This week (July 29) marked 34 years since the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. And oh....That Dress.


Oh good, or oh bad? Oh, both. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and made from silk taffeta woven in Suffolk with plenty of lace, including a bit of lace donated by Queen Mary to the Royal School of Needlework, and plenty of embroidered pearls and mother-of-pearl sequins, it's a confection in the sweetest sense of the word.

Its overwhelming volume hasn't stood up to the timeless fashion test, and all its unintended wrinkles on the big day are hard to forget. But it also stood its own against the scale and grandeur of St. Paul's Cathedral, which is precisely what the 25 foot train and all those sparkles were intended to do. Diana moving down the aisle, anchoring a barge of silk with the Spencer Tiara twinkling away, is not an image easily forgotten.

The fact that it is not easily forgotten is exactly why this one has a spot on my best list. I don't actually find it attractive myself - it is well and truly dated to these eyes - but for better or for worse, this dress was an event. I think that part of the goal of a royal wedding dress should be that memorable quality, and a dress that still pops into your brain when someone says "royal wedding dress" all these years later is an achievement on its own.

P.S.: Yes, let's talk about the dress. Friendly reminder that judging the marriages of others and personal attacks of any sort are quite simply not what we do here.

Photos: via Getty Images

30 July 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Cubitt-Shand Tiara

The Duchess of Cornwall is primarily associated with the Greville Tiara these days, which is her go-to piece for most of her tiara-wearing needs, but she does have other diadems at her disposal. One option comes to her not as a loan from the Queen, but courtesy of her own family history.
Camilla at a reception, 2015
The Cubitt-Shand Tiara is a diamond floral tiara featuring flower designs nestled in a dense wreath of leaves. The design rises to a central point in a slightly asymmetrical fashion, which is fitting for its nature theme. Exact details on the tiara's history are hazy; it's thought to have come from the family of the Duchess' mother, Rosalind Shand (née Cubitt, hence the name), perhaps specifically her maternal grandmother, Sonia Keppel Cubitt.

Camilla at her first wedding, 1973
The diamond design and the family history make for a great wedding tiara, and Camilla wore it when she married Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. The couple's daughter, Laura, also wore it for her wedding to Harry Lopes in 2006, pairing it wonderfully with the floral earrings that Camilla wore to the blessing service for her wedding to the Prince of Wales.

Laura on her wedding day, 2006
Camilla's royal duties have provided a few opportunities for the tiara to return to action. The Duchess has worn it to the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace (perhaps more often than we know, even, as that event is often held without official access for the media) as well as to a reception earlier this year which was her first solo tiara occasion. Unsurprisingly for a private jewel, whether Camilla owns the tiara or borrows it from a family member when needed is unknown.

Camilla heading to the Diplomatic Reception, 2014
The Cubitt-Shand Tiara is the smaller of the tiaras we've seen her wear, but since it still makes an impact even with the volume of her usual hairdo, it's really not that small. I think it's a gorgeous member of the ever-popular diamond floral tiara category, and a nice addition to her collection, giving her another option to use as she leaves the Greville Tiara to the most prominent state occasions. (She does apparently have another tiara on loan from the Queen that we haven't seen her wear yet: the Teck Crescent Tiara. She also wore the Delhi Durbar Tiara once.)

Which of the Duchess of Cornwall's tiara options is your favorite?

Photos: via Getty Images

Royal Cuteness of the Day: July 30

Here's a little bit of awww to get you through your Thursday:
Photos: Brigitte Grenfeldt/ The Royal Court, Sweden
Aren't these new family snaps of Princess Madeleine, Chris O'Neill, Princess Leonore, and Prince Nicolas gorgeous? (And that's a flattering top/dress on Madeleine, too.) All together now: awww.

29 July 2015

Royal Sporting Event of the Day: July 29

The usual summer slowdown in royal activity is slowly turning my facial expression into something not unlike this tiny human's above. But it was awfully nice of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to pop outside over the weekend for the America’s Cup World Series races anyway, nasty race-cancelling weather and all. Sartorially thrilling? Nah. But just right for the occasion? Of course.

Nothing more appropriate than official team gear:
It's important to note that I've now worked out a whole scenario in my head in which their secret couple's version of tipsy online shopping involves personalizing everything under the sun with their complete formal titles. It is also important to note that this is now my new favorite (imaginary) fact about them.

Something a bit smarter is in order when prizes are involved, so Kate took the opportunity to once again channel the nautical theme with her Breton stripes and navy blazer - not that she needs a reason for her favorite casual duty outfit, but she'll take one if she can get it - and William threw on a blazer of his own. These two Wills looks are totally working for me, by the way. (As well they should be, for all my whining about the endless maze of blue suits that is his wardrobe.) More uniforms and more this, please.

Photos: via Getty Images

28 July 2015

Royal Family Photocall of the Day: July 28

As promised, the Danish royal family held their annual summer photocall at Gråsten Palace this weekend. Nothing says summer like a rainy day and a wet bench, but they didn't let that deter them.

The attendees from year to year are a rotating cast of the extended Danish family, whichever members happen to be staying at the castle at the time, I guess. This year, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik were joined by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and their kids (Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine), as well as Princess Benedikte's daughter Princess Alexandra and her family (husband Count Jefferson, plus kids Count Richard and Countess Ingrid). And an assortment of dogs, obviously.

Mary indulged her boho side again, but unlike my favorite outfit from a few years ago, this one needs some tweaking. I love the top and heaven knows I love a swishy skirt, but not together.

Princess Alexandra also got in on the swishy summer skirt trend, and her belt helps pull the silhouette together in a way that Mary's untucked top doesn't, I think.

The family also popped outside the day before to watch the changing of the guard.
Oh, Daisy. You and your high waists. Never change.

Photos: via Getty Images

27 July 2015

Princely Wedding of the Day: July 27

The wedding of Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo, part one (a.k.a. the civil wedding), took place on Saturday at the Prince's Palace in Monaco. Just a few photos were released, which is actually lucky given that this was a private event.

As was expected, the bride wore Valentino Haute Couture, adding another credit to the maison's rep as the number one producer of royal wedding gowns. Designed by Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Beatrice's dress is a floaty v-neck frock in pale pink and gold lace silk chiffon. She wore her hair down with a floral crown on top.

It's not what I would have expected her to choose - it almost seems a bit too sweet in some respects - but given the floral arrangements we can see, I'm guessing it was a perfect choice for the wedding's atmosphere. (After all, this was followed by a reception in a picnic theme, honoring Pierre's childhood in the French countryside.) And since she has a religious wedding gown still ahead of her, I love that she used this opportunity to wear a dress with some color.

The sketch of the wedding gown (left), and the Spring 2015 Couture gown on which Beatrice's evening dress was based (right)
In the evening, Princess Caroline hosted a dinner for the couple and guests, and Beatrice wore another couture Valentino creation featuring a design of sparkling clouds across the skirt (as seen in the tweet/article below, and the arrival on video here). I thought it a bit twee in the runway version, but in action and for this occasion, I'm all in. It's romantic on a romantic night, so why not?

As for the guests, well, they weren't the focus. I mean that in the practical sense, because there were only small glimpses of some guests arriving (here's a video), and the family picture released is a casual grouping and not one posed so everyone can be seen. This, again, is not surprising. The religious wedding is next weekend in Beatrice's native Italy, on the Borromean Islands owned by her family. She will reportedly be dressed by Armani Privé. It remains to be seen whether there will be any photos released.

Meanwhile, in regular princely business, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene excused themselves from the evening wedding festivities and went to the annual Red Cross Ball on Saturday night. (Albert's the President of the Monaco Red Cross, and this is one of the principality's big yearly events.)
But the wedding theme still reigned, thanks to Charlene wearing a bit of Valentino herself. I'm left surprisingly unmoved by her red jumpsuit, neither against it due to its jumpsuit status (as I normally would be), nor in favor of it due to its non-blergh status (as I normally would be).
Valentino Resort 2015
My ambivalence aside, she styled it perfectly with her sleek hair, massive diamond stud earrings, and small gold clutch. And if anyone's going to make a jumpsuit at a black tie event work, it'd be Char. This much is true.

Photos: Twitter, Valentino, Style.com, Getty Images

26 July 2015

Sunday Tidbits for July 26: Birthdays, Bunads, and More

Let's get right to it:

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a new shot of Prince George from the recent christening photos as he celebrated his 2nd birthday this week.

--Enjoy a selection of tiaras from this year's Royal Caledonian Ball. [Tatler]

--Queen Sonja seems like good people. [The Local]

--And the rest of the Norwegian royal family emerged this week: Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended a memorial service for the 2011 Utøya attacks, and then she joined the rest of the crown princely family for a casual day out at the Saint Olav Festival. This also included a bunad appearance, which was naturally my favorite part. [The Local, Zimbio]

--I like this suit on Princess Anne. Looks very smart against all those uniforms. [RAF Tumblr]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, I'm chatting about what jewels (and other assorted goodies) are on display this summer at Buckingham Palace, which just opened for visitors. [Jewel Vault]

--And finally, Prince Charles and Camilla visited Cornwall, and Chazzers basically summed up summer royal engagements in one shot:

Coming up this week: Fundraising balls and undercover weddings in Monaco, family gatherings in Denmark, and more. Stay tuned...

Photos: via Twitter, Getty Images

24 July 2015

Princely Flashback of the Day: July 24

Glam to start your week, and glam to end it. We're finishing up Beatrice Borromeo's Rose Ball flashback, bringing us up to this year, possibly giving us a wedding gown designer hint, and presenting one of her best looks yet:

2013
We start off with a bang - or perhaps I should say a shake and a shimmy, as that's practically a requirement in a dress covered with iridescent fringe. She and Charlotte seem to have pulled off a grand Vegas couture heist for the occasion. (Beatrice is 100% pulling it off, though.)

2014
THIS! This, my friends, is bliss. And that's all there is to say about that.

2015
This year she selected a metallic Valentino Couture dress, perfectly in touch with the Art Deco theme and perfectly suited for the dance floor. (And, interestingly, also worn by a friend: the design also appeared on Charlotte Dellal when she attended the Met Gala in 2012 alongside Beatrice.)
Spring 2011 Couture
Valentino is topping many a guess list for Beatrice's wedding dress designer. Sounds like a possibility to me, though I'd throw Armani Privé into the mix. She also wore Valentino Couture for the christening of the twins earlier this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if she keeps that momentum going.

Photos: via Getty Images, Style.com

23 July 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Hesketh Aquamarine Tiara

The Hesketh Aquamarine Tiara
I think aquamarine stones do particularly well in kokoshnik-style tiaras (exhibit 1, exhibit 2), and this tiara plays on that theme by using an interesting combination of aquamarine shapes, including hexagon and oval cuts. The pale sea blue gems are arranged in graduated oval clusters that are spaced around the tiara by myrtle leaf designs and rows of diamonds in millegrain borders. Extra stones adorn the top of the central cluster in a rather pineapple-y arrangement. It was labeled Belle Époque and dated circa 1910 at auction; later, at an exhibit, it was attributed to Cartier London and dated from 1930.
Prior to the aforementioned auction, the tiara was in the collection of Christian, Lady Hesketh (1929-2006). The daughter of a Scottish baronet, Christian Mary "Kisty" McEwen married Freddy Fermor-Hesketh, the 2nd Lord Hesketh, at the age of 20 in 1949. She was widowed just a few years later and was left with three young sons (a fourth was stillborn not long after her husband's death). An accomplished historian and society hostess, among other things, her life was marked by several tragedies - including a car accident that left her in a coma for six weeks and caused her to lose an eye - but she remained known for her wit and her spirit throughout.
The Dowager Lady Hesketh passed way in 2006. Items from her estate were eventually auctioned, and her aquamarine tiara sold at Sotheby's in 2007 for $98,168. In 2014, the tiara appeared as part of the exhibit Cartier: Style and History (you can see it on the display in this video), where it was listed as part of the collection of the Qatar Museums Authority. The organization does loan their treasures for exhibition regularly, so the opportunity to see this one in person may arise again in the future. All things considered, it's probably the most visible place for the tiara to be.

Does this make your list of favorite aquamarine tiaras?

Photos: Sotheby's, via Getty Images

Royal Style Twins of the Day: July 23

There's another thing that needs noting before we move on from our recent Benelux kick.
Queen Mathilde opened an exhibition on July 17
Yes, the Natan twins have struck again.

At least it's only the fabric this time, and not the exact same dress. Makes for a more interesting round of "Who wore it best?"

Queen Máxima in June
Guys...I think I miss the lobster. Send help.

Photos: via Getty Images

22 July 2015

Royal National Day of the Week: July 22

There's a part of me that will always hope for something crazy to happen on the sartorial front, and the Belgian royals at National Day have certainly delivered in the past. But this year...nope. Perfectly respectable, like it or not.

The King, Queen, and their four kids (Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore) led the way at a Te Deum followed by a parade.

The princesses coordinated in shades of pink, and Mathilde went soft and flowy in a Natan dress and Fabienne Delvigne hat in a shade I've seen described about five different ways (sea green! aqua! soft blue! dove gray! ivory! take your pick!).

Its sleeves are half a cape, it has an actual brimmed hat, and she's wearing Queen Fabiola's pearl and diamond earrings. If it weren't for the fact that I can't stop thinking that waist needs a tszuj of some sort, I'd be on fully on board.

The King's siblings, Prince Laurent and Princess Astrid, were present along with their respective spouses, Princess Claire and Prince Lorenz. Claire very thoughtfully fulfilled our daily quotient of Slimer green ensembles, and Astrid once again proved that she's right up there with Princess Anne in the Royal Women in Uniform Hall of Fame.

Attending the park celebrations later, Mathilde repeated a graphic print Natan dress which is yet another version of her usual Mathilde Uniform, and Philippe suited up. Also:
A favorite moment for National Day 2015, and just in time. Excellent.

Photos: via Getty Images

21 July 2015

Royal Outfit of the Day: July 21

Each summer, the Danish royal family holds a family photocall at Gråsten Palace, their summer residence in the south of Denmark. The Crown Prince, Crown Princess, and their family are already in residence, holding down the fort while the Queen and Prince Consort are in Greenland, and Princess Josephine has already had time to break her arm falling from a horse and to show off her snazzy blue cast when the family emerged to watch an equestrian parade.

This year's photocall is on Saturday, and I've been thinking about one of my favorite ensembles Crown Princess Mary has worn to the gathering in recent years.
This is from 2012. The more I see it, the more I like it, and I couldn't particularly tell you why.

This Free People dress is not one I'd pick off the rack - the prints are great up close, but a bit muddled when put together. And pairing things with a mustard cardigan is not usually a move for which I'd typically advocate. But in this case, it all works.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I like this for one reason and one reason alone: potential for swooping about is HIGH in a maxi dress. (Clearly, that's my mindset for the week.)

Photos: via Getty Images, Lyst, Shopbop

20 July 2015

Princely Flashback of the Day: July 20

Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo are tying the knot this coming weekend (starting to tie the knot, I guess, since it's the civil wedding to start). The couple have been an established part of the princely scene for several years, and I, for one, am excited to see her continue to bring her brand of style to family events for years to come. Not unlike Princess Marie-Chantal, her style has a lot to do with the casual attitude she brings to her pairings, and it's a cool elegance that I adore.

She and Pierre have been fixtures at the annual Rose Ball for a while now. We're flashing back to a few of the earlier appearances today:

2009
This is all about Those Sleeves, bringing so much drama to the table, they can cover any other possible down side. You know I love an outfit that's ripe for swooping about.

2010
Each year, the Rose Ball has a theme, and sometimes the overly themed outfits can go more than a little bit wrong. But is there any better interpretation for a Moroccan theme than this? I think not.

2011
This sequined dress and that feline necklace? On their own, no. Together? Yesssss.

And it's precisely what I love about her style, in one handy nutshell.

We'll catch up on the more recent years another day.

Photos: via Getty Images

19 July 2015

Sunday Tidbits for July 19: Tall Royal News and More

This tidbits edition brings you news from some of our more towering royal dudes, and also some sparklies and some fashion to see. (But not from the dudes. They wear suits.) (Flight suits are still suits.)

--Prince Harry's bringing the Invictus Games to Orlando next year. [USA Today]

--The Royal Palace in Stockholm will show an exhibit on Princess Lilian's fashion, including her wedding gown. Designs for a Princess - The Lilian Look! starts on August 29th and marks what would have been the late Swedish royal family member's 100th birthday (on August 30, 2015). [Kungahuset]

--Breaking News: King Felipe found somebody taller than himself! Obviously it took an NBA player (Pau Gasol, who was presented with the Camino Real Award) to get the job done. [ABC]

-In other Tall Royal News: Prince William started his new job as an air ambulance pilot, an event which I feel really needed some aviator shades and a "Take My Breath Away" soundtrack. [Telegraph]

--In Tall Tiara News, Luxarazzi chats about the Bavarian Ruby and Spinel Tiara, which I suspect is the closest you'll ever come to a diamond top hat. [Luxarazzi]

--Tatler offers you 10 Rules for Wearing a Tiara, but I think not even these will prepare you for that Bavarian big gun. [Tatler]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen gave us a great look at an Australian wedding gift featuring opals. [Jewel Vault]

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

17 July 2015

Royal Outfits of the Day: July 17

We caught up with Queen Máxima, and now we shall do the same for Queen Mathilde, because your macaroni is no good without your cheese. A selection of recent events:

July 9: Attending the 30,000th 'Last Post' ceremony
I can't help but wish the sleeves had been left alone, but of course she's totally appropriate, and she did find just the right occasion for a black headband/hat.

July 11: The annual family photocall at an animal park, with Princess Eleonore, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Emmanuel, Prince Gabriel, and the King
Mathilde loves her some matching family outfits (she loves her some matching anything), but this year's group is pleasantly mixed.
However, I must declare it unfair to up the cuteness of your own outfit by covering it with lemurs.

July 14: At the start of the 'Te Gek!?' Tour de France for mental disease awareness
The same goes for stolen babies, Mathilde. Play fair next time.

July 15: Opening an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Arts
Actually, you know what - this one could've used a spare baby.

The Belgians can't quite scurry off to their summer holiday just yet: National Day is next week. Pray for wacky hats.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

16 July 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Diamond Spike Tiara

Today's tiara is something of a mystery - as many private jewels are - but it's a mystery that has made several appearances on the royal scene. It features a base of scrolled circular motifs, each containing pendants that appear to be articulated, and a top of spikes supporting a row of large single stones, all in diamonds (or other white stones).
The Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Diamond Spike Tiara
It first appeared in 2010, worn by Carina Axelsson during Queen Margrethe of Denmark's birthday celebrations. Ms. Axelsson is an author and the longtime partner of Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (SWB), who is the son of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard of SWB. Gustav is the heir to the SWB title and all that comes with it - a castle in Germany, a fortune...you know, the usual - and there's a clause in his grandfather's will that says that if you want to inherit, you need to marry someone who is Protestant, noble, and Aryan (yes, you can imagine which part of German history we're talking about here). Carina does not meet the requirements, and Gustav and his father have had no luck challenging the will in court. But she is a part of the family, and has attended many royal events with Gustav.
For her first two tiara events, she wore a borrowed diamond floral tiara followed by Queen Sophia's Star and Pearl Tiara, which she borrowed from Princess Benedikte. She then began wearing this one. Its history and exact ownership are unknown, but it has been her regular pick for tiara events ever since.
As tiaras go, this feels very spiky and geometric and tall, which is not a recipe for something easy to wear. There's a bit of softness in the small scrolls in the base row, but I think it can feel rather harsh, and like it best with a soft hairstyle. I am glad Carina has a tiara to use, though, especially since the three tiaras owned by Princess Benedikte are usually claimed by herself and her two daughters when it comes time for big family tiara events. And the more tiaras we get to see, the better.

What say you: Harsh, or just right?

Photos: SVT video, via Getty Images

Royal Outfit of the Day: July 16

A sleek white one shoulder dress with a hot metallic shoe is the makings of a Queen Letizia Summer Evening Event Uniform.
The King and Queen of Spain hosted a lunch for the President and First Lady of Romania on Monday at the Royal Palace
But I think tossing a sheer blazer on top to make it lunch-appropriate is maybe a bit too much of a giveaway that your brain has already shifted ahead to cocktail time, if you see what I mean.

Photos: via Getty Images

15 July 2015

Royal Birthday of the Day: July 15

Yesterday, July 14, was Crown Princess Victoria's birthday! Victoriadagen is celebrated in high style by meeting the crowds during the day outside Solliden Palace, the royal family's summer home, and with an outdoor concert in the evening. There was a bit of rain - as you can see, Princess Estelle came prepared - but Victoria apparently chatted with well-wishers for over two hours.
A cardigan over a dress is her usual uniform for the greeting at the palace, and this year was no different. She added a pale pink cardi buttoned at the top over a silk floral Ralph Lauren dress with a small Peter Pan collar - and Estelle did the same thing, so apparently she's teaching her little apprentice some tricks.

About that apprentice, by the way:
Yeah, Princess Estelle stole the show. And you better believe her proud mom wouldn't have had it any other way.

Watch the whole concert here.
Later, as usual, they attended the concert. Also as usual, Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria wore the appropriate traditional dress, and as usual, that was all in order. We also welcomed back to the royal scene Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, who are back in action after their honeymoon, and Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill, back after the birth of Prince Nicolas.
And...it is good to see them. That's all!

Photos: via Getty Images and SVT video