30 July 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's Wedding

My favorite Twitter hashtag for this event has been #BigFatScottishWedding. There's no better summary of this perfectly royal non-royal affair. We've got new clothes, old clothes, hat madness, players going rogue, and awards galore:

Best Repeat
The Duchess of Cambridge
As predicted by everyone (give the reader to your right a pat on the back), Kate repeated yet again today. But if you're gonna repeat, this is the way to do it: we've seen this before, more than once, but not so recently as to smack us with a case of déjà vu, and she's spiced it up with a new chapeau. A new chapeau that I love, by the way. But then again, I love anything that inches us closer to a proper hat and away from forehead-bolted fascinators. (P.S.: Yes, I do know some of these ladies and gents have Scottish titles. We're gonna keep it simple, though.)

Best Try
Princess Beatrice
Vibrant color: check. Excellent detailing: check. Shiny new outfit made special for your cousin's wedding: check. That usual Yorkie desire to reach in and tug the jacket for her: check. Upturned teacup hat: check with accompanying tears. Good try, though, Bea. (Interesting tidbit: both York girls were dressed for the day by Angela Kelly, the Queen's dresser and designer. Granny's solution to avoiding another airborne commode seat debacle?)

Worst Butt Bow
Princess Eugenie
It's like she saw how often you lot have been chatting about butt bows, and thought: "I'll show them!" Either that, or somebody's mum got hold of Ms. Kelly. Is this the biggest butt bow you've ever seen? Seriously, this can't be comfortable to sit in.

Best Explosion
The Duchess of Cornwall
Well, somebody had to bring the crazy in hat land. And this repeated detonation of prairie wildlife will do just fine. Really, though, she wore my favorite choker ever, so my hands are tied.

Worst Straight Jacket
Princess Anne
I see the beginnings of a kicky coral party dress under there...shame she topped it off with such an ill-fitting upholstery remnant. She does get extra cute points in the mother of the bride category: see her waving Zara and Mike off here. Awwww. Now, that's one proud mama.

Best Rule Breaker
Lady Sarah Chatto
Me: I thought you weren't supposed to wear white to a wedding.
Lady Sarah: I know, but there was an emergency. I look really good in white.

Most in Need of Some Rule Breaking
Autumn Phillips
Speaking of Autumn...this is just a business suit topped with a beach hat! It's like the wedding guest equivalent of what she did with her own wedding gown: business in front, bow in the back. Perfectly appropriate, but kind of sad at the same time.

Most Typical
Queen Elizabeth
Per usual, the Queen is classy and so forth. But: tremendously typical for such a special day. A second candidate for Autumn's prize, I feel.

Best Dressed
The Countess of Wessex
You guys, I think I'm developing a bit of a girl crush on Sophie here. She's my best dressed of the day, not just for her lovely pale pink ensemble with a hint of a sparkly party dress underneath, but for her overall efforts these past months. I'm loving it!

Best in Gents: Elder Generation
The Prince of Wales
 Left to Right: the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, Tim Laurence
I sort of love it when Prince Charles insists on marching to the beat of his own drummer and wearing his all-gray morning suit. Don't ask me why.

Best in Gents: Next Generation
Prince Harry
 L to R: the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Mike Tindall, Peter Phillips, Dave Clark
Well, they all look dashing, groom included. (With a special welcome to Princess Beatrice's boyfriend, Dave Clark, who was looking chummy enough this weekend to earn a spot amongst the royal men.) But come on...it's Harry.

Who made your best and worst dressed lists for Zara and Mike's wedding?

Photos: Getty Images/Daylife/PA/Daily Mail/Mark Cuthbert/ABACAUSA.com/Matt Keeble/Splash News/Reuters/Picture Press Europe/SIPA

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's Wedding: The Bride and Attendants

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall tied the knot in Edinburgh today, and as expected, the bride wore a Stewart Parvin creation. The gown, from one of the Queen's favorite courtiers, was a traditional yet unfussy look for this athletic royal bride.
The ivory dress is made of silk faille and silk duchess satin. Silk tulle sleeves cap a structured corset bodice with an empire waist detail and chevron pleats. The bodice ends with inverted pleats opening into a bell-shaped skirt with a contrasting band at the hemline. The full skirt includes concealed pockets.
On the back of the gown, fabric-covered buttons extend all the way to the hemline. The dress doesn't have much of a train, all the better I suppose since Zara didn't have much assistance exiting the car and entering the church. Underneath it all: Jimmy Choo shoes.
She wore a cathedral-length silk tulle veil that included a voluminous blusher covering her tiara for her entrance. And as it turns out, my tiara dreams came true: she borrowed the Meander Tiara (also known as the Greek Key Tiara and other such variations) from her mother, the Princess Royal. (See full details on the tiara here.) She also borrowed a pair of her mother's diamond earrings. (Hat tip to @liltinglimes on Twitter for recognizing them from Anne's famous Vogue cover.)
Zara's hair was done by Evangelos Tsiapkinis from the Michael John salon (which, correct me if I'm wrong here, was the same salon that did Princess Anne's hair for her wedding way back when), and Bobbi Brown did her makeup. The hair, makeup and tiara are my favorite part. Stunning.
In many ways, this dress reminds me of Zara's sister-in-law Autumn's wedding gown. It's not particularly unique, nor is it extremely memorable. But it suits the bride, and as with Autumn, the same rule applies: she's glowing and happy, and that overrides everything else.

Zara was accompanied by her maid of honor, Dolly Maude, wearing a dove gray Stewart Parvin gown in duchess satin, and four bridesmaids wearing white dresses from dressmaker Sue Palmer with button closures on the back and sashes with bows. The page boy wore a Balmoral Tartan kilt.

What did you think of Zara's gown?

Photos: Getty Images/Daily Mail/Alan Davidson/Martin Rickett/AP/Reuters/Daylife

29 July 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Zara and Mike's Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

Everybody in royal wedding mode? Cupcakes and cocktails at the ready? Excellent.

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall tie the knot in Edinburgh Saturday, and they kicked things off on Friday by hosting a cocktail party on the retired royal yacht Britannia. A good indicator of what's to come tomorrow? Maybe yes, maybe no...

Best Relief
Zara Phillips
The first glimpse I got of the bride's ensemble this evening was from a wee pic on my mobile phone, furtively checked while I was supposed to be tending to far more important things. And I'm telling you, I thought - just for one panicked minute - that the girl had fashioned an acid-washed denim toga for herself. So you can imagine my relief when it turned out just to be some sort of tie-dyed and/or watercolored affair. I may be relieved, but I am slightly baffled still: a leopard/giraffe clutch? Huh?

Best Crystal Ball
The Duchess of Cambridge
This repeated Diane von Furstenberg from L.A. might as well be a crystal ball: we can see the future right here. I'll jump in with the rest of you and guess that we're about to see a weekend of repeats for Kate. A noble attempt to divert the attention on what is not her weekend. (I think we all know that won't work, but it's the thought that counts.)

Best Double Act
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
Eugenie in my very favorite color for her? Beatrice in my very favorite color for anyone (and a much improved appearance from the last time we saw that dress)? Sign me up! Also: a butterfly belt. Cheeky! Foreshadowing another memorable royal wedding ensemble, are we?

Best Glow
The Countess of Wessex
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Sophie's stepping up her game, and I like it. She's tanned, freshly coiffed, and looking fantastic!

Worst Uniform
Princess Anne
Somebody didn't get the memo: this is a par-tay! Live it up! Don't come dressed in your regular old work uniform, even if you have busted out some cleavage. (While we're at it: anybody want to pool together and buy her some new shades? PLEASE?)

Best in Cocktail
Autumn Phillips
Much better. This is how we do cocktail. A great all-purpose flattering dress for Autumn!

Photos: Hello/Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Zimbio/Daylife/Reuters/Michael Dunlea/Barcroft Media/Daily Mail/Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Event Roundup: The Prince & Princess of Monaco's Wedding

Relive the wedding of Albert and Charlene, right here:

The bride and groom tie the knot legally in front of the rest of the Grimaldis

Royals celebrate the evening before the religious wedding

Charlene's Armani Privé gown

Prince Albert's uniform, the bridal party, and the Wittstocks

Royal fashion awards for the ladies in attendance

Uniforms and morning dress galore!

Charlene and her bridal party change for the evening ball

Charlene's evening tiara and her dazzling wedding gifts

The ladies don gowns and tiaras for the evening celebrations

Spotlight on the most sparkly of accessories

Uniforms and white tie for your enjoyment

Some praise- and surprise-worthy guests from outside the royal sphere

Pre-Wedding Fun
Speculation, preparation and more that came before the big day...

Guesses for the big dress, and Armani wedding gowns past

Related Week in Review Posts
Get more details and see what else the bride and her guests wore the week of the wedding...

Princess Charlene, Part 1, Part 2

Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Part 1, Part 2

Crown Princess Victoria, Part 1, Part 2

Princess Madeleine, Part 1, Part 2

Flashback Friday: Charles and Diana's Wedding Guests

Today marks 30 years since the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. I've already had my say on Diana's infamous wedding gown. Instead, let's mark the occasion with some glorious 1980s fashions from a selection of their royal guests!

Princess Anne debuted the yellow-flowered wonder - topped with a steaming vat of boiling nacho cheese, by the looks of it - that she would repeat 27 years later to win her a place on my list of the Top 10 Worst Dressed Royal Wedding Guests. Princess Margaret appears to have some sort of one-shouldered cape in place, which must have been nothing but pure fun to wear. The Queen's in blue, but the real story of course is the magnificent and ultra-sparkly Williamson brooch on her shoulder. (Drool.)

Continuing the drooling, the best of the royals for the day simply must be the Queen Mother, and not just because of that hunk of diamonds on her shoulder.
It's like a mint green ostrich ran straight into her, full speed, and spontaneously combusted. Amazing.

Plenty of other royals were in attendance for the big day. Anybody up for a rousing game of Pin the Tail on the HRH?

Sadly, not that many good photos of the foreign royals are still around today (if they even existed in the first place). Most royal families were in attendance with the biggest exception being Spain, who objected to Charles and Diana boarding the royal yacht at Gibraltar for their honeymoon.
If you squint real hard, you'll see:
  1. Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, awfully elegant in her print.
  2. Crown Princess Sonja of Norway (now Queen), overdosing on her print.
  3. Queen Silvia of Sweden, sticking out of the crowd in lime green.
  4. Queen Margrethe of Denmark, completely tasteful in baby blue.
  5. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, partially in hiding but looking terribly typical.
  6. Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg, another elegant lady in blue.
  7. Princess Grace of Monaco, rather chic in her giant hat.
  8. Princess Georgina of Liechtenstein, utterly appropriate for an English floral wedding.
Just in case you're feeling nostalgic, the entire wedding can be viewed on the internets. You didn't have anything better to do with your Friday, did you? Here's Part 1:

Photos: Corbis

Royal Fashion Awards: Belgian National Day 2011

While I was away, the Belgians celebrated National Day with a concert, Te Deums at various locations, and a military parade. Knowing how they've spruced it up for National Days past, I had my hopes up for at least a few giggles this year. The verdict? Disappointingly tame. Regardless, we continue on with our usual shenanigans:

Best Spirit
Queen Fabiola
Electric blue tights. YES. There's no better way to say "I'm 83 years old, people seem to enjoy throwing death threats my way; I'll do what I please." Fab indeed.

Most Consistent
Princess Astrid
Astrid's like Princess Anne in that her best showings involve rocking the lady military uniform. She does have a bit of non-uniform game, though: the gold number's simple and elegant (if a bit of a wrinkly mess). Her daughter Princess Laetitia Maria made a cute companion in dual greens.

Most Typical
Princess Mathilde
Head-to-toe typical Mathilde on show this year, including one trend she seems to be catching lately: the copy cat. She wears Kate's Issa dress, followed by a near-replica of Máxima's royal wedding outfit...and now she turns up in Armani's version of Mary's dress from the Monaco wedding! What's up with that?

Best Dressed
Queen Paola
I'm usually not that impressed by Paola. I mean, she just doesn't stick out that much. And it's not that there's anything terribly memorable here either, but together: it's a nice showing. Cute polka dots and a flattering flower print? Why not?

Most Missed
Princess Claire
Princess Claire is the one that usually makes National Day so darn entertaining. She puts extra special care into her outfits, and I always appreciate her eye-searing efforts. Alas, with her husband's particular brand of misfit not currently welcomed with open arms at the royal court, she went M.I.A. Claire and Laurent attended only a popular street party with their children in tow. Shape up, Laurent: I'm going to need some LOLs next year from your better half!

Who made your best dressed list this year?

Photos: Hola/AP Photo/Reuters/Daylife/PurePeople/Abaca

28 July 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Meander Tiara

Let's talk about the most distinctive piece from Princess Anne's jewel collection: the Meander Tiara.
This is an all-diamond piece featuring large Greek key designs. The central element is a laurel wreath surrounding a large brilliant cut diamond, and there are honeysuckle motifs on the side.
The Greek design is appropriate since this tiara belonged to Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (above, born Princess Alice of Battenberg), mother of Prince Phillip. Alice gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, as a wedding gift. The Queen never wore it publicly. Personally, I think it would have looked quite out of place on the Queen, given her unchanging hairstyle.
In 1972, the Queen gave the tiara to Princess Anne, and it's been on frequent display ever since.
The design of this tiara is quite modern, and far from girlish or romantic. As such, it's an excellent match for the Princess Royal. It suits her perfectly, right down to the way it nests in her famous hairdo.
Personally, I'd love to see this one on Zara. I'd rather she wear this than something from her grandmother, or one of Anne's other pieces. Like her mother, she has the right personality to carry off the design. And I'm telling you, ladies like that are few and far between.
What do you think?

UPDATE: I got my wish! Zara Phillips borrowed this tiara from her mother for her wedding to Mike Tindall on July 30, 2011 in Edinburgh.

Photos: Munn/BigPicturesPhoto.com/Daily Mail/Getty Images/Daylife