22 March 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Cheltenham Festival 2011

Our royals took to the horses last week for the Cheltenham Festival in an interesting array of fashions. Cheltenham's a bit of an odd duck, I feel: it's not Ascot, but it's still the races. It manages to draw royals alongside the likes of Lily Allen and that Jordan creature, both of whom managed to make the royals look good no matter what they sported. It really does take all sorts, I guess.

Best in Blah
Viscount and Viscountess Linley
There is nothing terribly wrong, nor is there anything exceedingly right, about these ensembles here. Quite sleep-inducing, actually; no wonder the photographers practically passed this pair over.

Best English Impersonation
Crown Prince and Crown Princess Pavlos
Going to the races just seems like such a quintessentially English thing to me, in all its stereotypical glory. Which is why I found it funny that the buttoned-up epitome of this occasion were the Greeks. (Well, Pavlos is Greek. Marie-Chantal is more of an International Woman of Mystery, I suppose.) One dapper Prince in a three-piece suit, perfectly coordinated to his tweed-wearing wife. All we're missing are the chapeaux.

Best in Sound of Music
The Duchess of Gloucester
Oh, the Duchess is just a step away from wearing curtains as play clothes here. She keeps it proper and stylish at first (I mean, if anybody can make the Fräulein Maria look work, it's Birgitte), but then she throws the wrap on and she's prepped and ready for her escape over the Alps. Complete with binoculars for Nazi hunting!

Worst in Show: Footwear Division
The Princess Royal
Two perfectly acceptable racing outfits from Anne here, on Days 3 and 4, until you scroll down. I'm pretty sure my mother wore these as snow boots in the 1980s. (And knowing Anne, this pair have been kicking around since then.) I really don't know what Zara is so excited about there. Unless she realizes how good her mum's making her look in comparison.

Best Overall Commitment
Zara Phillips
Good old Zara showed up on all four festival days, just to give us something to chat about. Wasn't that nice of her? Day 1 was rather blah, but she made up for it on Day 2 by throwing out a little red, a little shape, and a kicky little hat. Days 3 and 4 brought military trenches from Burberry Prorsum - and if I can pick just a wee bit, I would have preferred she opt for some of the colored belts these were shown with on the runway.

Something I have no picky complaints about? Her footwear. Come on. Check it out:
Trouncing about all day in the grass in these heels? This, my friends, is dedication to your shoes, and I bow down before it. So much so that I shall give the shootie-esque boots from Day 1 a pass.

You know, the focus of the world's press might be on Kate right now, but I'm feeling more and more like Zara's the bride to watch. As Kate's choices get safer, Zara continues to push her sartorial boundaries. She might just be the one to give us the epic wedding gown we so desire. (Well, that I so desire, at least.)

Who's your best in show for the Cheltenham Festival? And who's your bet on for the more interesting wedding gown, Zara or Kate? (You will note that I said "interesting", not "best".)

Photos: Isopix/Getty Images/Belga