31 January 2012

Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 22-28 January

  1. A jubilee gala at the American Chamber of Commerce, 23 January. So refreshing when she gets all dressed up, isn't it?
  2. a) Attending a special meeting of the council of state, 25 January, in b) Oscar de la Renta. Well, it's more Oscar - per my request - so that's good, though I expect the man that got all huffy at Michelle Obama for wearing a cardi to Buckingham Palace would not approve. And as for the hat, well, that looks like something Princess Elizabeth or Princess Margaret would have worn in the 1940s.
  3. At the Green Fashion competition, 27 January with (a) and without (b) the coat. What a difference a comb and a part switch can make, no?
Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/PPE/Nieboer

Week in Review: Princess Charlene, 22-28 January

  1. Closing ceremony of the International Circus Festival, 24 January.
  2. At the annual Sainte Devote procession, 26 January.
  3. More Sainte Devote celebrations, 27 January. She also wore an identical coat in brown to a rugby match.
Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Daylife/Reuters/Style.com

30 January 2012

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mary, 22-28 January

  1. Visiting Princess Marie in the hospital, 25 January.
  2. At the EU Council in Brussels, 26 January.
  3. a) Attending a concert marking Denmark's takeover of the EU presidency (Mathilde and Philippe were there too), 26 January, in b) a Prada coat with some super cute shoes. This is fantastic - and that's coming from a, erm, less than Prada lover.
And yes, Princess Marie did leave the hospital last week with her baby princess in her arms and Prince Joachim at her side, somehow looking as though she was never pregnant in the first place.

Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Style.com

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 22-28 January

  1. Attending the funeral mass for Don Manuel Fraga Iribarne, 23 January.
  2. The annual Foreign Ambassador's Reception, 24 January. Normally I like court outfits of any sort, but this seems a little drab, no?
  3. At an official dinner for the president of Peru, 25 January. This, though, is lovely as ever.
Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Zimbio/Getty Images

29 January 2012

Style Speculation: Elie Saab Spring 2012 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2012 Couture
Potential royal models:
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Queen Rania, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Beatrice
My favorite, always saved for last. This season, a refreshing blast of sherbet femininity.
Naturally, I'd be happy to see any of this on anyone, any time, any place. Fingers and toes crossed.

See the whole collection here.

Elie Saab Pre-Fall 2012
And because I can't help myself, the Pre-Fall collection has also recently come out. Plenty of great day options, with some gowns that are a lot simpler than the couture (obviously) but still delightfully sparkly.

See the whole collection here.

Photos: Alessandro Viero/GoRunway.com/Style.com/Elie Saab

28 January 2012

Style Speculation: Valentino Spring 2012 Couture

Valentino Spring 2012 Couture
Potential royal models:
Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Máxima, Princess Marie-Chantal, Princess Rosario
Valentino is a staple royal designer, making this one of the collections we're most likely to see on the royal runway. Just the whites alone have the Mette-Marit stamp all over them.
This collection had a bit of a shabby chic aesthetic - plenty of white with frilly accents, plus a great deal of florals with an upholstery and/or drapery flair to them. I'm all over the white, but I don't know about the flowery business.
I mean, it's going to be hard to pull this stuff off without looking like you got tangled up in your granny's tablecloth collection.

See the whole collection here.

Any royals you think could make this work?

Photos: Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com/Style.com

Style Speculation: Chanel Spring 2012 Couture

Chanel Spring 2012 Couture
Potential royal models:
Anyone from Monaco
As far as royal ladies go, Chanel is most popular in Monaco, where Karl Lagerfeld is a personal friend. And that's a good thing, because this particular collection needs someone with the irreverence of a Charlotte Casiraghi to wear it properly, methinks.
And let's face it: you need that sort of body type for these structural thingamajigs too. So many balloons! That said, I kind of love the flapper flair happening in some of these.
That jacket on the right above, in any length, would be fab on all kinds of shapes, though.

See the whole collection here.

See anything you hope gets a royal debut?
Photos: Chanel/Style.com

27 January 2012

Flashback Friday: The Ghosts of Maternity Fashion Past

Crown Princess Victoria's apparent struggles with maternity fashion (struggles to us that care about clothes and the like, mind you, maybe not struggles to her) have given birth to a bunch of requests for a look back at pregnancy fashion from years past. How did the previous generation(s) do it? Some of you think it was better back then, and would love for our pregnant princesses of today to take a page from this book. I'm not so sure that's the way to go myself, but I shall present the evidence and let you be the judge:
Queen Elizabeth
One thing is true: when you get far enough back in time, maternity fashion just wasn't an issue. Often, pregnant royal ladies virtually disappeared from public life. Perhaps a vaguely worded statement about reducing royal duties might be issued, and then the next thing you knew, there was an announcement about a joyous birth and maybe a nicely posed picture with the new babe. This is the case for Queen Elizabeth, who had her first two children before becoming queen and her last two some years after. I still find it strange to see pictures of her pregnant.
Princess Grace
There more pictures available of Princess Grace pregnant, in which you can see that the maternity fashion of the time was really not "maternity fashion" - just certain pieces made a little bigger. Nothing to write home about, and not anything I can say would be well-recommended today.
Left to Right: Queen Beatrix (2 pictures), Queen Anne-Marie (1), Queen Margrethe (3)
Now, in my opinion, by the time we get to the late 1960s and the early 1970s, we really get rolling. But then, that's probably my opinion on a lot of the fashion at that time - not just maternity. Perhaps the styles of the day just lent themselves particularly well to the maternity spectrum.
L to R: Queen Sonja (3), Queen Silvia (3)
Also, by this time pregnancy had ceased to be a reason to hole yourself up for months on end. Every time I see that picture of Sonja in the yellow, with her giant tiara, I suspect she might be longing for those hidden days of yore. Poor love.
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana is the one that I see a lot of you specifically pointing to as a great maternity wear example. I...don't know that I agree. On the color spectrum, sure. It's just become clear that I don't have the same perspective on the fashions of the 1980s as some of you do. I'm not sure I'd recommend a whole return to that.
Sarah, Duchess of York
It's a slippery slope, is all I'm saying.

Any tips here you wish pregnant ladies would carry on today?

 Photos: The Illustrated London News/Corbis/The Royal Forums/Polfoto/ANP/Svenskdam

Style Speculation: Armani Privé Spring 2012 Couture

Designers and models took to the runways in Paris this week with the haute couture collections for Spring 2012. We'll be taking a look at a few of the collections from which our royals are likely to shop in the coming days for a little sartorial speculation fun.

Armani Privé Spring 2012 Couture
Potential royal models:
Princess Charlene, Princess Mathilde, Queen Paola, Queen Rania
Honestly? I can't say I was super impressed with this collection from Armani. The suit looks held the most promise to me; I could easily see these shapes on Armani fans like Princess Mathilde and Queen Paola.
The dresses were less successful in my opinion, but a lot of the Armani Privé we see is totally custom anyway. I had a hard time picturing any of the royals in these super structural creations.
But: a fan of the collection or not, I'm still hoping it might break Princess Charlene out of her Akris slump. Seriously, has anyone else noticed this? She chose Armani often before her engagement and even selected him for the big wedding gown job, but since then it's been all Akris, all the time. Makes you wonder why, doesn't it?

See the whole collection here. 

Photos: Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com/Style.com

26 January 2012

Tiara Thursday: The Greek Emerald Parure Tiara

A popularly requested tiara and one of Queen Anne-Marie's favorite pieces gets our spotlight today: the Greek Emerald Parure Tiara.
The tale of this tiara begins with the giant emeralds it houses. Sixteen-year-old Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia brought a magnificent set of cabochon emeralds in varying sizes with her when she married King George I of Greece in 1867.
Queen Olga
In Queen Olga's day, the emeralds were separate pieces and she wore them as such, pinning them to her dress and kokoshnik, and hanging them from her necklace and so on. It wasn't until their next wearer, Queen Elisabeth of Greece - her husband, King George II, was Olga's grandson and inherited the emeralds after her death in 1926 - took possession that they began to take the shape of the set we know today.
Queen Elisabeth with the beginning phases of the tiara
Even then, it was a slow evolution in design. She wore a single emerald across her forehead as part of a leafy bandeau, as was the fashion at the time, and she wore multiple emeralds upright on a band of diamonds. Eventually, she had Cartier make her a kokoshnik-style tiara which uses 5 of the emeralds in between mirrored diamond "E" shapes - "E" for Elisabeth, naturally - with a band of diamonds surrounding the whole configuration. It's very close in form to a tiara owned by her sister, Queen Maria of Yugoslavia, so perhaps she had a little inspiration. Queen Elisabeth and King George II went through a period of exile (the Greek monarchy doesn't exactly have a history of stability, you see) and ended up divorced with no children. The customized "E" tiara stayed with the Greek family, though, and we next saw it worn by Queen Frederika, wife of King Pavlos I, younger brother of George II.
Queen Frederika with various combinations of the emerald parure
By the time Frederika wore it, the tiara had changed yet again into the design we know today. The band around the top and edges had been removed. Frederika preferred to use the tiara as a necklace, often in combination with the massive Queen Sophie's Diamond Tiara that we just saw reappear. On Frederika, we also see the final parure which put the rest of the set of cabochon emeralds to use.
The parure on display with Constantine and Anne-Marie's wedding gifts
The parure consists of the tiara (which has 5 emeralds), a pair of earrings with emerald drops, a brooch made of more diamond "E" shapes and emeralds, and 5 independent emerald drops which can be suspended from the brooch. When Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark married Frederika's son King Constantine II, Frederika handed the emeralds over to the new queen.
Queen Anne-Marie
In contrast to her late mother-in-law, Queen Anne-Marie uses the tiara as a tiara, not a necklace, and makes up a necklace to go with by suspending varying numbers of emerald drops or the entire emerald brooch from a diamond necklace. She often uses a necklace given to her by her mother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, for this task. The necklace comes from Anne-Marie's grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and was initially a longer piece. Ingrid split it in two, and gave one part of Anne-Marie and one part to her sister Benedikte.
Queen Anne-Marie - the first three pictures on the left and the left picture above show Queen Alexandrine's diamond necklace used as a part of the parure
Luscious as these emeralds are, this is not my favorite set. The whole "E" thing...it's just a little heavy handed for a motif, if you ask me.

Are these emeralds on your favorites list?

Photos: Getty Images/Daylife/Alexander Palace/Royal-magazin.de/Bunte/Corbis/PPE

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 15-21 January

  1. At the European Alzheimer's Award ceremony, 16 January. Ah yes, the knee high Natan boots that plague so many Benelux princesses. In a rather unfortunately mustard-toned tan here.
  2. Attending a New Year's reception, 17 January.
  3. At a gala concert, 17 January, a) arriving in a ruffled velvet coat and b) inside, sans coat.
Photos: Zimbio/Daylife/Getty Images

25 January 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Willem-Alexander & Máxima's Pre-Wedding Party

Next week marks ten years since the Prince of Orange married Máxima Zorreguieta (on 2-2-2002, in case you forgot). Since I've already blabbered on about my love for my favorite modern magpie's wedding gown, we're celebrating in another way: with her wedding guests. First up, the black tie party from their pre-wedding events, which drew a whole mess of royal friends.
Left to Right: Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg, Queen Sonja of Norway and Queen Sofia of Spain, Princess Benedikte of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg
Unfortunately, not all of them brought something to talk about, particularly. I mean, 'twas the times. Blergh.
L to R: Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Princess Annette of Orange-Nassau, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Some of these appearances are more remarkable for the differences from today, no? (Oh, the sands of time, etc., etc.) I mean, look at Mette-Marit there with half a feather boa strapped on the definition of plain. A transformation in progress to be certain.
L to R: Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Sarvath of Jordan
Moving up on the scale of memorability: color! Bless Princess Sarvath and her luscious and rich purple and gold.
L to R: Queen Paola of the Belgians, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece 
Some appearances were memorable for being maybe a little bit out of character, like Paola and her extra poufy sparkly affair, Anne-Marie and her Cinderella costume, or Sophie and her Vegas turn. And others are memorable for being out of this planet...oh, M-C! That's a lot of pea green doilies, my friend. She was dressed by Valentino, who also dressed the best of the evening (as it should be): the bride.
Máxima (L) at the party and (R) in the same dress later that year
Máxima's dress that night (which we got to see in full view later that year at Princess Märtha Louise's wedding) might just be the only time orange and lace end up married together on my favorite outfit list. A sure sign of the divine bridal creation that was to come.

Who do you think was best dressed at the pre-wedding party?

Next week: the guests go to the actual wedding.

Photos: Getty Images/ANP/Polfoto/Hola/The Royal Forums

Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 15-21 January

  1. Visiting a music project and attending a New Year's reception, 17 January, in an old Oscar de la Renta coat. Let me tell you what we need more of in the royal sartorial sphere: Oscar de la Renta. Apart from devotee Queen Sofia...barely a scrap!
  2. New Year's reception, 18 January.
  3. a and b) Two different events, 19 January.
  4. At Jumping Amsterdam with the family, 21 January. It's a caped family affair! Máxima has her Zara cape on, and a lovely little Sound of Music affair on Alexia there.
Photos: ANP/Belga/Lehtikuva

Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 15-21 January

  1. Visiting Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, 19 January.
  2. At the headquarters of Save the Children in Stockholm, 20 January.
Photos: Purepeople/Abaca

24 January 2012

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 15-21 January

  1. At the religious service marking Queen Margrethe's jubilee, 15 January.
  2. a) The gala banquet for the jubilee, 15 January, with a look at b) the back, c) the tiara hair, and d) the runway version from Pucci. She kept the print, the neck and the sleeves, and got rid of the black and all the see through business.
  3. Having lunch with Crown Princess Mary in Copenhagen after some shopping, 16 January.

Photos: Daylife/Zimbio/Style.com/Profimedia

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 15-21 January

  1. At President Sarkozy's induction to the Order of the Golden Fleece, 16 January.
  2. Visiting the International Tourism Fair, 18 January.
  3. At Spain's National Radio 75th anniversary exhibition, 19 January. Number 2 makes me sad, but Nos. 1 & 3 are faves, so we'll call it a draw.
Photos: Zimbio/Getty Images

Week in Review: Princess Charlene, 15-21 January

  1. Attending the opening of the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo, 19 January.
  2. At the Monaco Optimist Team Racing presentation, 20 January.
  3. Shopping in Milan, 21 January.
Photos: Zimbio/Palais Princier/Hola

23 January 2012

Royal Splendor 101: King Harald's Accession

Crown Prince Harald of Norway became King Harald V of Norway when his father King Olav V died on January 17, 1991. Harald was 53 years old; his father had reigned for 33 years.

Harald and Sonja at the Storting
On January 21, King Harald went to the Storting (Norway's parliament). Dressed in the uniform of a general in the Norwegian Army with the collar of Norway's highest order, the Order of St. Olav, around his shoulders and the sash of the Order of Merit across his chest, he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and gave a short speech.

He was accompanied by Queen Sonja, dressed in full mourning with the sash of the Order of St. Olav. Norway hadn't had a queen since Queen Maud died in 1938, and Sonja had been serving as first lady for her father-in-law since her marriage to Harald in 1968.

In June of 1991, allowing some months for the end of the mourning period and for the required planning, a consecration ceremony was held for the new king and queen. The ceremony has historic roots, but has undergone some changes since Norway's independent monarchy was revived.

From 1814 to 1905, Norway and Sweden were united under one monarch. When Norway dissolved the union they went on the hunt for their own monarch, and Prince Carl of Denmark was the man for the job. The Norwegian constitution at the time required that the monarch be crowned in a coronation ceremony. So in 1906, Carl and his wife Maud (daughter of Britain's King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) were crowned King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway.
King Haakon and Queen Maud in their coronation finery
By the time their son Olav became king in 1957, times had changed and the requirement for a coronation had been stricken from the constitution. Olav opted for a consecration ceremony instead - something that dated back more than 1,000 years and had previously been included as a part of the coronation ceremony. It was a religious blessing for the new reign, but was simpler than a full coronation.
Harald and Sonja at the consecration ceremony
King Harald opted to continue the tradition his father started and was consecrated on June 23, 1991 at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. The king and queen sat on gold coronation thrones dating from 1818 during the religious ceremony. At the moment of consecration, the king came forward and knelt before the Bishop of Nidaros, who recited the consecration prayer. Queen Sonja then joined him and the bishop recited a prayer to help her use her abilities for the country. Norway's royal regalia, including crowns for the king and queen, were displayed at the altar but were not used; there was no actual crowning of the king.
Queen Sonja wore a white dress with a train and a dramatic overlay. Instead of a tiara, she wore a kokoshnik-style headdress. Harald and Sonja's children, Märtha Louise and Haakon, participated in the ceremony as well. Märtha Louise was 19 and dressed in the same style as her mother; Haakon was just 17 and did not wear a uniform as he hadn't entered the military yet. The event was designed to be all about Norway, so the only foreign representatives were diplomats - no foreign royalty. Harald hasn't held any large jubilee celebrations yet in his reign. (Video from the consecration can be found here.)
Crown Prince Haakon is next in line to the throne. Thanks to a constitution reform which ensures equal rights for girls in the line of succession, his daughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra comes after him.