30 June 2010

Royal Trend Watch: Elephant Parade Edition

In this month's "Not Your Typical Royal Event" news...

The Elephant Parade must be one of the most curious charitable events I've ever heard of.  Artists put their own mark on elephant sculptures, which are then put on display and are later auctioned off to benefit endangered elephants.  I have so many questions about this. 

Who buys these elephants?  Is there a whole rash of London gardens filled with oversize pachyderm sculptures?  And how did so many royals get involved?

Actually, I know the answer to that last question.  Camilla's brother, sister and daughter are all involved with the Elephant Family charity, as is the Duchess of York and Lady Annabel Goldsmith (dear friend of Princess Michael of Kent).  So, naturally, a whole mess of royals showed up to parade themselves for the good of the elephants; and bless them, they made sure to match the curiousness of their outfits to the curiousness of the elephants on parade.  An elephant trend has run amok through the Windsor family.  So very many questions:

Charles, did you pose by the shiny black elephant just so your tux wouldn't look so out of place?  Better showing than the rest of the family, I suppose....

Are we channeling the elephant's natural habitat here, with the Asian-inspired getup?  Usually I like these outfits on Camilla, but I think she might have forgotten to take the wind into consideration here.  This makes me nervous, as does....

This.  Talk about a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.  Eugenie, are you afraid to stand up straight, lest you reveal uncoordinated underpants?  Have you decided to rely on the photographer's sense of decency to preserve your dignity?  Because that is not going to work out for you.  Neither are those shoes.  And Beatrice, those yellow strings (ribbons?) on the front of your dress - why?  This confuses me.

Of course, Eugenie is equally capable of confusing me, as at the launch party for the event back in March she saw fit to throw a random flower into her hair to cap off an otherwise biker babe ensemble. Why?  Though I suppose if there was any event for which a leather princess outfit would have been appropriate it would have been the one at which this occurred.....
Presented without comment.

Princess Michael, of course, had to prove herself the most puzzling of them all:
Are those elastic pants, or just pants designed to look like they might have an elastic waist?  And which case is worse?  Also, we're just coming off this gem of an outfit:
Seen in Zurich, and apparently attributed to the weather there.  So now the weather in London is also at fault?  I can't imagine what sort of meteorological condition prompts one to dress up like the second coming of Madame Cleo, so I have to ask - are we entering a fortune teller phase of dress?  (I really, really hope we are, friends.  Oh, what fun we'll have.)

Photos:  Pool/Indigo/Getty Images/WPA Pool/Fiona Hanson/Daniel Demme/Wenn.com/Belga/Stuart Wilson/Dave M. Benett

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 20-26 June

Here's what Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore the week of 20-26 June:
  1. Leaving Stockholm, 20 June.  Like there weren't enough people questioning whether she has a case of the pregnants last week, now this?  I won't go too far along that line (because if anyone were to analyze my belly, I'd shoot 'em) but suffice to say she's not doing herself any favors.
And that's it!  Boo.  This week was no fun.

29 June 2010

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 20-26 June

Here's what Princess Mathilde wore the week of 20-26 June:
  1. Shopping in Stockholm with Princess Claire, 20 June.  Yellow jacket's too short, but I like her in bright colors. 
    And that's it for Mathilde this week - she too took some time off, giving us nothing to play with and no bests and worsts to name this week.  So let's talk about this instead:  I read that Mathilde brought 17 suitcases with her to the wedding.  SEVENTEEN!  Now that we've seen everything she wore in Stockholm, can you even guess what could have been in all of them?  My entire wardrobe could fit in 17 suitcases, shoes and all, with at least 10 suitcases to spare.....

    Photos: Wire Image /Adam Osterman

    28 June 2010

    Week in Review: Crown Princess Mary, 20-26 June

    Here's what Crown Princess Mary wore the week of 20-26 June:
    1. Out and about in Stockholm, 20 June.  Looks a whole lot like the Heartmade top she wore 2 days earlier, but it's not.  Now, that's just excessive packing.
    2. Opening of Project Copenhagen Fortifications at Trekroner, 25 June.  The dress is lovely, but I think the intricate detailing on the bodice makes it difficult to match with the cardigan. 
    Best and Worst of the Week
    Man, these royals must have really partied hard in Stockholm last weekend. They all seem to have taken some extra time off this week.  There's not much to work with here, but I like the casual thing going on in #1 best.  The cardigan is really not working over that blue dress for me.

    Photos: Polfoto

        Runway Monday: Oscar de la Renta Spring Ready-to-Wear and Pre-Fall 2010

        Oscar de la Renta has always been a favorite of the royal ladies and for good reason: his clothes have that natural lady-like feel a regal royal needs.  Queen Sofia, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine, Crown Princess Mary, Princess Máxima and more have all been spotted in his designs.  The Spring and Pre-Fall collections are ripe for the royal picking; most recently, Rosario Nadal modeled a black and white creation from the Spring Ready-to-Wear collection at Crown Princess Victoria's pre-wedding dinner and concert.  Many have also guessed that Tatiana Blatnik's gown for the wedding was de la Renta, though I'm not convinced.  My wish list for the royals to sport from the rest of these two collections:

        These could work on some of the older generation of royal ladies....
        ...and I'd love to see some of these on our younger batch of Crown Princesses.

        These metallic numbers would be great for Mary, wouldn't they?

        Here you see the resemblance to Tatiana's dress.  Personally, I don't see enough of the same detailing to convince me that her dress is from Oscar; on her dress, the ornamentation is a much more organic pattern, whereas the de la Renta numbers feature random and clustered designs.  Also, the top and tone of the tulle is different.  Of course, Tatiana's could have been a totally bespoke creation, but it's still a question mark for me.  Anyways, the 2 on the left would be great on Mary, the pink would be a different take on the fairy princess angle Mette-Marit has been working lately in her eveningwear, and Máxima could work the orange number spectacularly.

        What do you think?
        See the Spring collection here and the Pre-Fall collection here.

        Photos: Maria Valentino/Marcio Madeira

        27 June 2010

        Week in Review: Letizia, Princess of Asturias, 20-26 June

        Here's what Princess Letizia wore the week of 20-26 June:
        1. Attending the Principe of Asturias Foundation's Patronage yearly meeting, 23 June.  LOVE this purple, except for the hoodie-type strings dangling from the top.  Felipe Varela needs to see what he can do about getting Letizia permanently into color-mode.  They're his best creations.  
        2. Closing of the Wharton Global Alumni Forum, 25 June.  Snooze.  There's no fun going on here.
        Best and Worst of the Week
        Well, she might not have taken a vacation after the wedding, but it was still a pretty light week in Spain. With a whopping two choices to pick from, I'm going purple for the win.  It's not that there's anything wrong, per se, with the white suit; it's just that there's nothing exactly right either.

        Photos: EFE/Manuel H de Leon/Belga/PPE/Thornton

        Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 20-26 June

        Here's what Princess Máxima wore the week of 20-26 June:
        1. At the Dol-Fijn school in Deventer for a meeting about financial upbringing, 21 June. Unfortunate wrinkling situation with the trousers there.
        2. Opening the new campus of the British School in Leidschenveen, 22 June. Normally I'd have to say the pink-raspberry-orange color combination is a bit retina-searing, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Máx. Same strappy orange sandals we just saw in Stockholm, by the way.
        3. Received the scenariostudie NL2040 and attending the CPB Lecture in The Hague, 22 June. Interesting, this. A dress with vertical ruffles under a coat edged in the same fluff. It's bordering on too old for her, but I think she's working it.
        4. Financial Action Task Force meeting, 23 June, a) on the NATAN runway, and b) in action. In the battle between Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg and Máxima, I have to declare a win for the Netherlands. At least Máxima's wearing the dress, and not letting it wear her (as was poor young Alexandra's problem). But a win in this dress for anyone is a win with heavy reservations: it's just not pretty. At all.
        Best and Worst of the Week
        This magenta number is bright and cheery and pretty. The mustard NATAN monster is none of those things. It doesn't even look good on the runway, for heaven's sake. The cardigan makes it worse. (Though, for the record, I came thisclose to giving worst of the week to outfit #1. Totally forgettable, a pretty egregious offense for a princess, if you ask me.)

        Photos: PPE/Buys/ANP/RoyalImages/Marcel Antonisse/Belga/PPHolland

        Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 20-26 June

        Here's what Crown Princess Victoria wore the week of 20-26 June:
        Honeymoon in Tahiti, 23 June: Well, I spoke too soon - looks like we do indeed get a glimpse of Victoria on her honeymoon.  Matching husband included free of charge!  Nothing wrong with this, really - it's not like you'd pack anything princess-y for your (supposedly private) honeymoon.  Seems likely to me that they hadn't planned on giving this interview, and only decided to after the top-secret honeymoon location was discovered.  A valid deal to be made for privacy the rest of the time. 

        Best and Worst of the Week
        I suppose you could nominate the wedding dress again, since the party on 19 June carried over into the wee hours of 20 June.  But I'll go ahead and declare whatever swimwear she's sporting, sight unseen, as her best of the week, and the above number as the worst.  All that working out has to pay off at some point, right?

        Photo: Expressen

        25 June 2010

        Royal Fashion Awards: National Day Celebrations in Luxembourg

        I'm feeling very spoiled: first, my favorite Luxembourg royals turn out in force for Victoria's wedding, and then they just roll right into National Day celebrations.  I think you already know the gentleman will be getting equal billing alongside the ladies in this very special edition of the Royal Fashion Awards.

        Day 1
        Guillaume and his little sister Princess Alexandra visited Esch-sur-Alzette, while their parents the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess visited Diekirch during the day.  The evening brought a fireworks display and all the rest of the family. (Almost.  Where for art thou, Félix?  You are the most delicious of them all.)
        Left to Right: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Princess Alexandra (she wore just the pink sleeveless dress underneath during the day), Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Prince Louis, Princess Tessy, Prince Sebastien

        Day 2 - Day
        In the morning, the family attended a Te Deum mass, and then the Grand Ducal couple and Guillaume reviewed a military parade.
        L to R: Guillaume, Alexandra, Henri, Maria Teresa, Louis, Tessy, Sebastien

        Day 2 - Evening
        Gala time!  Very disappointed we aren't seeing Alexandra and Tessy here; both of them made tiara appearances two years ago.
        Crown Princess Victoria has this Elie Saab in gray (and we just saw it, too).  The deep blue is gorgeous with her sapphire and diamond jewels, and I think we're working a new hairstyle here.  Love it, and love the gentlemen all dapper in their uniforms.

        And now, for the awards.  Drumroll, please....

        The "How old are you, again?" Awards
        Princess Alexandra, Day 2 - Day, and Princess Tessy - Day 1
        Alexandra went woefully older than her youthful age for the Te Deum, and for proof you need look no farther than the fact that Máxima wore the exact same thing on the exact same day.  Tessy ran straight in the opposite direction for the fireworks - this is like a little girl's party dress, not something you want to see on a mother of two.

        The Coco Chanel Award
        Princess Tessy, Day 2 - Day
        Louis's baby mama turned it on for the Te Deum, didn't she?  This is trés chic.  A little black dress, barely accessorized - it may not actually be Chanel, but it's surely worthy of praise from the Great One herself.  A great multi-use choice for Tessy, who certainly doesn't have a need to go buying outfits suited solely for royal duty.

        Fiercest Pose Award
        Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Day 1
        Dare I say, this is the most attractive picture of Guillaume I've ever seen?  And I'm predisposed to finding all his pictures attractive.  The beard, the stare....oh my.  Someone had to make up for Félix's absence.  Well done, G. 

        Worst Dressed
        Princess Alexandra, Day 2 - Day
        Oh, NATAN.  A bow flopped straight on top of the boobs is flattering only to flat-chested runway models (who, coincidentally, are not exactly NATAN's target customer).  And the yellow....is it mustard?  Or something out of either end of a sickly baby?  On its own, I'm a big fan of the hat - she's working a whole International Princess of Mystery air here - but the wide brim combined with the lines of the dress are making her shorter and wider than she really is.  Alexandra, you're a lovely girl.  But please, wait at least 10 more years before you become a full-time NATAN patron.

        Best Dressed
        Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Day 2 - Day
        See what happens when our Grand Duchess gets it right?  Day 1 might have included some dodgy ruching choices, but this makes it all better.  The suit is divine, and the hat gives it a retro flair - my favorite MT is the MT that gets her Eva Perón on.

        A video from the National Day celebrations, as referenced by Mlle. Sunshine Awesome in the comments below, is online now: view it here.  It's a very interesting watch - Maria Teresa appears at around 9.30.  I grabbed a few quick screen caps:
         The dress Alexandra is wearing has many layers, like something Mette-Marit might wear.  It has great movement.  And Tessy is shining in fuchsia, which is an excellent complement to the family's turquoise tiara she's wearing.  Alexandra appears to be wearing the same tiara she's been seen in before, the smaller of the family's floral tiaras (they have at least 2 diamond-only floral ones that I'm aware of):

        Photos: PPE/Nieboer/Mark Renders/Getty Images/Cour gr ducale/C. Hommel/Belga/RTL

        Flashback Friday: Royal Engagement Rings

        Charlene Wittstock's whopper of a pear-shaped diamond engagement ring set me off reminiscing about royal engagement rings past.  (Update: See an actual photo of Charlene's ring here.) You name a ring style, a royal bride has sported it; the question is, of course: which one is the best?

        Let's start with the colored stones, which seem to be much more popular among royal brides than the rest of us common folk:

        Left to Right:  Diana, Princess of Wales; Tatiana Blatnik; Marie Chantal, Princess Pavlos; Princess Anne (from her first husband)

        Top Row, Left to Right:  Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Queen Sonja (Sonja's originally belonged to King Harald's mother, and she gave it to Haakon when he proposed to Mette-Marit); Sarah, Duchess of York; Princess Mathilde; Crown Princess Mary
        Bottom Row, Left to Right:  Princess Diana of Orléans; Clotilde, Princess of Venice and Piedmont; Princess Alexandra, now Countess of Frederiksborg (from her first marriage to Prince Joachim); Princess Märtha Louise

         Other and Multiple Colored Stones
        Left to Right: Princess Marie (Joachim's second wife); Princess Máxima; Wallis, Duchess of Windsor

        Diamonds, Small to Average Size
        Left to Right:  Princess Madeleine (it may have been given back now, but it was nice while it lasted); Crown Princess Victoria; Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark; Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg; Lady Sarah Chatto

        Diamonds, Climbing Up the Size Ladder
        Left to Right:  Queen Elizabeth (click here to read more about this ring); Sophie, Countess of Wessex; Autumn Philips; Princess Letizia; Queen Beatrix

        Diamonds, Holy Crap Category
        Top, Left to Right:  Queen Margrethe; Princess Grace; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
        Bottom, Left to Right:  Crown Princess Sarah of Brunei; Princess Soraya of Iran; Queen Saleha of Brunei; Queen Paola of the Belgians

        So, what's your verdict?  My picks:

        Best Royal Engagement Ring
        Princess Grace
        I'm a diamond girl myself.  Goes with anything and everything you want to wear, you'll never tire of it.  And as far as I'm concerned, a royal engagement ring should be huge.  It's a fairy tale thing, you know?  Grace's is perfect; impressively large without being as comical as Margrethe's, Soraya's and Saleha's, and the perfect emerald cut shape.

        Worst Royal Engagement Ring
        Princess Marie
        Blech.  Supposedly, Joachim wanted to echo the colors of the French flag for his French fiancé.  Just buy her a souvenir flag instead, for heaven's sake.  This is gaudy and clunky, and not at all befitting Marie, who has much more delicate features than this ring demands.

        Some of the royal engagement rings that have popped up since this post was written:

        Catherine Middleton receives Diana, Princess of Wales' sapphire ring from Prince William.

        Zara Phillips gets a custom-designed diamond ring from Mike Tindall.

         Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy received this diamond number from Guillaume, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

        Tatiana Santo Domingo has been spotted in this large ring since her engagement to Andrea Casiraghi.

        Princess Madeleine of Sweden received a diamond ring from Christopher O'Neill.

        23 June 2010

        Things That Make You Go Hmm....: Princess Eugenie's Working Wardrobe

        I love that Eugenie's got herself a little summer job working for Christie's.  Seriously, given her mother's most recent....situation....and all the talk about how much it was costing to keep Bea and Eug in bodyguards on the taxpayer's dime, this was the best move she could have made.  I don't envy those two girls, man.  Awkward position on the fringes of royalty, where more often than not you just can't win.  I say good on ya, Eugenie, for making the best lemonade you can out of what you've been handed.

        That said, this is what she's worn to work:
        Hmmm.  Now, I've actually been to a Christie's auction in London.  (I'm kind of a V.I.P., guys.  Or, you know, I went as a student who was strictly cautioned not to move a muscle during the bidding lest my poor ass accidentally make an offer on an antique poodle painting or something, but whatever.)  Anyways, being an insider and all, I'm having difficulty seeing how a house dress with a frumpy cardigan or a too-tight white tee over a visible tank top (God help me, that's not her bra, is it?) is appropriate. 

        I refuse to go there about her weight (she's drawn the short straw there, too, methinks) but surely she can do better than this.  Right?  Or is this just what all the cool kids are wearing to their summer internships, and I'm advancing into a miserly grandma state faster than I care to admit?