19 October 2012

Royal Fashion Awards: The Pre-Wedding Gala Dinner in Luxembourg

You guys. YOU GUYS. I don’t even know where to start. You know what they did, those royal ladies? THEY BOUGHT OUT THE WHOLE ELIE SAAB BOUTIQUE. And then they topped all those gowns of wonder with TIARAS. And I really feel like we should have had some advance notice, you know, so I could have started a fitness regime months ago. (Well, I would have at least procured some oxygen and extra wine, for heaven’s sake.) I mean, I’m just not in proper shape for this level of extended jumpy clapping. BUT I WILL FORGE ON. For you, my loves. All for you.

Best in Leading Lux Ladies
Princess Stéphanie
Left to Right: Princess Stéphanie and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
I, like many of you, have been crossing fingers and toes in the hope that we might get an Elie Saab royal wedding gown on Saturday. Even if we don’t, I shall rest easy knowing Maria Teresa has at least introduced her daughter-in-law to the couture magic. Gorgeous Saab for both of them.

Best in Red
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
L to R: Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Sarvath El-Hassan of Jordan
There were so many ladies rocking gorgeous red gowns tonight (even more than I show here), I feel like awarding one massive joint Best Dressed. But then I’d need another for all the Elie Saab. And then chaos would reign. (No, it wouldn't.) So I’ll resist. Right now, I’m liking Mette-Marit and her kicky Pucci…but ask me in five minutes and I might switch to Máx and her oh-so-Máx Jan Taminiau outfit…and in another five, I might need to give Margaretha her proper credit for joining in on the bulk family Elie Saab discount. It's a never-ending loop of fabulous.

Best in Metallic
Princess Marie-Chantal
L to R: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Princess Miriam of Bulgaria
Another Elie Saab getting a prize, GO FIGURE. But, see, that’s how you do ornamentation and sparkle without looking like you murdered a disco ball...Märtha Louise.

Best of the Repeat Queens
Queen Anne-Marie
L to R: Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Queen Sonja of Norway, Queen Silvia of Sweden
These ladies sure do get their money out of their gala gowns. They never seem to get rid of any. (I thought Paola’s looked so familiar, and then it hit me: she wore it to Máxima and Willem-Alexander’s pre-wedding shindig 10 years ago.) I give this to Anne-Marie, because of purple. (Her sister Queen Margrethe was there too, wearing an oft-repeated green lace gown and her Floral Aigrette Tiara.)

Best in Non-Tiara
Queen Fabiola
The Princess of Venice and Piedmont (Clotilde Courau), Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, Queen Margarita of Bulgaria
Lalla Salma is exquisite as always, and Clotilde is wearing another Elie Saab (but I have to dock her for not pairing it with the family pink tourmaline tiara, tsk tsk). But Fabiola wore a little flower pin in her hair. C’mon, that’s adorable.

Best of the Rest
Princess Mathilde and Princess Astrid
The Duchess of Braganza, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Princess Claire of Belgium, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia
I can’t decide between Mathilde in that stunning blue and Astrid in her emerald Elie Saab, so we’ll call it a draw. I can decide, however, that I do not care for Claire’s mullet dress.

Best in We Only Want to Talk About Your Tiara Anyway
Crown Princess Victoria
L to R: Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Caroline of Monaco
Well, it’s true. But Victoria wins this anyway, for repeating the magical Elie Saab she wore to the 2010 Nobel Prizes.

And on that note, let’s get to the tiara business.

The Tiara Rundown
The best kind of tiara events are those that either answer old questions or pose new ones, and this dinner did both, bless its heart. Answering questions was Sibilla, who wore Queen Victoria Eugenia’s Aquamarine Tiara. There were rumors earlier this year that her family had sold it to King Juan Carlos for Queen Sofia, and this was a tidy way to kill that speculation off. Also answering a question was Princess Caroline, who dug two tiaras out of storage, the Cartier Pearl Drop and Charlotte’s Russian Fringe (for her necklace). I wondered if any of the significant family tiaras would go to Charlene, but it appears that answer is no. And posing new questions for us is Victoria: What is that on her head, hmm? It’s no Swedish tiara I’m familiar with, and it is not the tiara of Countess Estelle Bernadotte that the family is rumored to have bought back. There’s also a hair comb at the back. Delicious mystery!

I was hoping the Luxembourg ladies would empty the vault, and it looks like they did! Stéphanie made her tiara debut in the larger floral tiara, Maria Teresa went for the Chaumet necklace tiara, Margaretha chose the Art Deco aquamarine bandeau, Marie Astrid wore the emerald and diamond necklace tiara that belonged to her mother, and Diane (she's the wife of Prince Jean, one of the groom's uncles) borrowed the small version of Sibilla’s Art Deco Tiara. Good teamwork, ladies, good teamwork.

Thoroughly typical selections out of Belgium, with Paola in Elisabeth’s Art Deco bandeau, Mathilde in her laurel wreath, Claire in her pearl and diamond tiara worn for the third time, and Astrid in the Savoy Aosta Tiara. From Greece, Anne-Marie brought the romantic Khedive Tiara, and Marie-Chantal was back to her typical fringe.

From the Norwegian vault came Queen Maud’s Pearl and Diamond Tiara for Sonja, the trusty Diamond Daisy for Mette-Marit, and King Olav’s Gift Tiara (her only personal diadem) for Märtha Louise. Máxima went with the Mellerio Ruby Tiara, and Silvia brought her party antlers (a.k.a. the Nine Prong Tiara).

And to finish us out, some little known diamond tiaras: Sarvath in her regular tiara, Crown Princess Margarita of Romania wore the Romanian Greek Key Tiara, Katherine wore a small tiara which I believe she also wore to the Swedish royal wedding, the Duchess of Braganza wore a petite necklace tiara, and Miriam wore what I believe is the same tiara she wore to Frederik and Mary's wedding.

Late updates, ladies we did not see arriving: Princess Alexandra in the small floral tiara, and Princess Tessy in a new (to her) tiara, Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara which is a favorite of Maria Teresa. And Mary brought her rubies and a new way to wear the ruby necklace! I love that she's playing with her toys. (Even more ladies in red, see what I'm saying?)
L to R: Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (daughter of Marie Astrid and cousin of Guillaume), Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg (wearing her mother Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara), Countess Diane de Nassau, the Countess of Wessex
UPDATES: Some more gowns, and a new (to her) tiara on Sophie! I originally thought this might be the Strathmore Rose Tiara with sapphires, but it's an aquamarine tiara once worn by the Queen. Her necklace is also borrowed from the Queen, which is interesting - lots of new loans for Sophie!

PHEW. And that's not even everyone. If you need me, I'll be curled up in the corner rocking back and forth, waiting for the wedding to start. Until next time, tell me:

Who's got the best gown? What about best tiara?

Photos: Grand Ducal Court/Guy Wolff/Christian Aschman/Getty Images/RTL/PPE/DutchPhotoPress/Profimedia