29 April 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Windsors at the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge's Wedding

SO much to talk about. So, I'm breaking this wedding up into multiple posts. Multiple awards shows, if you will. We'll get started with the Windsors, who haven't had a major royal occasion to get all dolled up for in quite some time. And they proved their point: they still got it.

Best in Traditional
The Duchess of Cornwall
Left to Right: the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth
Sometimes it's best to stick with what you know. There's nothing crazy here from these three senior family members, but it's fancy nonetheless. The Duchess of Kent was absolutely charming, and much happier in the footage than this photo shows. At one point, entering the Abbey, she grabbed her husband's arm, and it just gave me the warm fuzzies. They've been through a lot, but those two crazy kids will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this year. All of which is a major sidebar just to say: she's pretty in pink, even though from some angles it looked like she plopped her fascinator/hat thing right on top of her head like a gift-wrapped Duchess instead of off to the side where it belongs.

The Queen stuck to what she knows too, in a simple but neat sunshine yellow frock. If she'd have added some shape to that hat brim so it looked less county sheriff and more proper Queen, she'd get the prize, but instead it goes to the Duchess of Cornwall. Big ol' Tracey hat like only she can pull off, simple but flattering coat and dress with just enough color to keep it out of "OMG she's wearing cream she's stealing the bride's thunder" territory. In short: the perfect understated outfit for a day on which the ghost of her husband's ex-wife was looming large.

Best in Shine
Zara Phillips
 L to R: Autumn Phillips, Princess Michael of Kent, Zara Phillips, the Countess of Wessex, Lady Frederick Windsor
Easiest way to get your fancy on: throw a little shine in the mix. These ladies brought it something fierce in the shine department, and they all have their merits. I loved the full skirt on Autumn's coat. It's a retro flair and a clever way to mold a post-baby figure. She brought shine and shape to the party, so she gets bonus points. Princess Michael's suit doesn't bring anything in the shape department, and she's clearly attempting to make up for it with her enormous chapeau. Don't get me wrong, if anyone can pull that hat off, it's Marie-Christine; but with that jacket? No, honey, no prize for you.

Sophie's doing alright in the shape department, but where she shines (amongst her shine...I'm really tired, guys) is in the details. Check out her sleeves in this picture. That's worth paying couture prices for. The other Sophie (Lady Frederick Windsor, of course) has no doubt also paid couture prices for her Armani ensemble, which would be boring and too old for her if it weren't for that fierce hat. 

And speaking of fierce: ladies and gentlemen, I give you our category champion, Zara Phillips. Just look at her. Yacht-sized hat, shiny coat with amazing back detail, high heels...even the bag is fierce. Don't get me started on that facial expression. You guys, I can't wait to see how she brings it at her wedding.

Best in Batty
Princess Beatrice
L to R: Lady Helen Taylor, Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie
It doesn't take much to derail a good look, you know. Everything's going along all smooth, and then all of the sudden, you're plunged into crazy town. Case in point: these ladies. Now, Lady Helen's faring the best here. She's very classy (as always), and the scattered floral print thing is an Erdem hallmark. But the random flowers plus the lace at the top of the dress just feels like the battered remnants of a shut-in grandmother's house instead of a proper look. Princess Anne is also faring quite well - and HOLD THE PHONE - I think we have a new outfit on our hands. It's the angle of the jacket flare and the way that hat is so precariously perched on her barnet that takes her into batty territory. This is Eliza Doolittle, pre-makeover. I'm a little afraid Anne's going to start heckling people in a cockney accent.

On to the stars of the batty show: Bea and Eug. God love 'em, they couldn't even sit upright in the car with those hats on. I said it before and I'll say it again: I love Vivienne Westwood for Eugenie, and this is no exception. I just wish they'd left the bows off the jacket, because now it's all kinds of marching band chic, and I can't handle that. Well, I can handle it better than I can handle her sister, I guess. OH BEA. That Valentino coat is divine: princess-y, proper, and prim to the nines. And she goes and steamrolls the whole thing by plopping Medusa's cartoon hair on top of CRAZY EYES. Now she's like some Ursula Disney sea creature, out to get me. As if sleeping tonight wasn't going to be hard enough already. Thanks a lot, Beatrice.

Now, note this: I'm missing a LOT of Windsors. I've only been able to find pictures of the backs of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Viscountess Linley, and not a shred of evidence of so many more that I saw on the broadcast. I expect more will pop up as photos continue to roll in, so check back for updates. And if you see something, as always, let me know!

Who makes your best- and worst-dressed of the Windsor ladies on parade?

More ladies have appeared! Yay!

First, the Gloucester crew:
L to R: the Duchess of Gloucester, the Countess of Ulster, Lady Rose Gilman, Lady Davina Lewis
Well, this is one color-coordinated family. Isn’t that a fierce hat on the Duchess? Too bad about that 1980s redux dress. Looks like something whipped up for Diana by the Emanuels back in the early years. The Countess of Ulster’s got a strange layering thing going on; clearly the jacket (cardi?) wasn’t a born match for that dress. Also, she has a triangle on her head. Lady Rose is my favorite Gloucester. Sure, her coat could be a few inches shorter, but it has great detailing and is just plain enough for that hat. I should say, actually, she’s my favorite Gloucester that we can see, because Lady Davina’s still in hiding. That’s her in navy hiding behind her brother, and a blurry shot from the Abbey. Looks promising. 

Next up, the rest of the Duke and Duchess of Kent's clan:
L to R: the Countess of St. Andrews, Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor, Lady Amelia Windsor (circled), Lady Nicholas Windsor
I’m all on board with the Countess here, but what’s happening on her skirt? Overkill, I think. But she’s classy and age-appropriate. Her daughter’s also age appropriate…if she weren’t 18. Did she borrow this from her mum? Still in hiding but also looking rather aged is Lady Amelia, circled there. Of all these, I think my favorite might be Lady Nicholas in her pale pink. Her fascinator’s fun and the waist detail is flattering. I’m a little concerned about her ankles, though. Those shoes can’t be comfy like that.

Now, some Ogilvys and a bonus royal...
L to R: Princess Alexandra of Kent, Julia Ogilvy, the Lady Saltoun
Oh, Princess Alexandra is doing her Princess Alexandra thing, and why not – it works for her. That’s class straight out of another era, and it looks like she’s passed  bit of that on to her daughter-in-law in her extremely refined suit and hat. The Lady Saltoun has gone for a bit of a youthful flair with her fascinator…and shades? Transitions lenses? Kicky.

And now, the ones I was most waiting for...
 L to R: Lady Gabriella Windsor (front and back), Viscountess Linley (front, close up, and back) and Lady Sarah Chatto (times 2, since we had to wait so long to see her properly)
Here we go, the three ladies that I most wanted pics of. How beautiful is Gabriella in these aqua shades? And how perfect is that hat-to-hair combo? J’adore. The Viscountess is also looking refined and chic with what must be a new short hair cut. There’s just enough detail on the front of this jacket to save it from blahs-ville. Last, but never least, is Lady Sarah. You know, she always works the minimalist angle. You’re more likely to see her in a beret and classic coat in either black or white than anything else. So the fact that she went retro with a swinging skirt and a fancy hat just makes this even better. Jumpy claps, am I right?!

Photos: AFP/Getty Images/Daylife/Reuters/Isopix/Mark Stewart/Camera Press/Rota