31 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 31

Princess Charlene attended the Rose Ball with the princely family. She wore a blue Akris gown and diamond and sapphire earrings made to match her Ocean Necklace/Tiara. Also in attendance was Princess Caroline, wearing Chanel, right down to the sneakers.
I was all about Charlene's dress - she looks fabulous, really - until I saw what's happening at the bottom. (Can we kill this sheer trend? Can we kill it with fire?) I have thus decided to pretend this look only exists from the waist up.

The rest of the crew was there, including a princess-y Beatrice Borromeo and Chanel-clad Princess Caroline and Charlotte Casiraghi. Click here for a gallery. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you - Caroline was sporting the same sneakers Karl Lagerfeld (designer of the ball) sent down the runway not so long ago, and my prediction that she'd be the royal to try these out came true. I guess she was injured, since she was using a cane, but let's be honest: she didn't need a reason for these.

Photos: Reuters/Getty/Palais Princier/Style.com

28 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 28

Crown Princess Mary wore this red Uffe Frank gown to the gala held before her wedding to Frederik in 2004. She wore it with the full Danish Ruby Parure. The dress has appeared several times since, including at an exhibit and for an official portrait.
So I was watching the documentary De Kongelige Juveler (The Royal Jewels) the other day - again - as one does - and I was reminded just how much I adore Mary's pre-wedding gala gown. Actually, it's not really the gown so much as that entire first appearance, because the whole thing was geared to make the most of the ruby set. She'd already worn the rubies with her hair up and a pale gown during the pre-wedding events, so swapping to red to make the most of their color and framing them differently by wearing her hair down really had great impact. She's worn the dress since with her wedding tiara instead, but it's just not the same.

Video: The pre-wedding gala, Mary and Frederik's arrival
But worn just like this - without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite royal gala appearances.

My re-watch was inspired by a lovely reader that wrote in about discovering the documentary. We've talked about it here in the past, but if you've never seen it, it's well worth your time. Part 1, focusing on Scandinavian jewels and featuring interviews with Queen Margrethe, Queen Silvia, and Mary herself, can be found here. Part 2 focuses on Russian jewels, and that can be found here. Enjoy!

Photos: Reuters/Scanpix/Kongehuset

27 March 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Marie Louise Diadem

The Marie Louise Diadem
As a wedding gift for his second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria (1791-1847), Napoleon I commissioned a set of jewelry from Etienne Nitot et Fils in 1810. As was typical at the time, the Parisian jeweler (predecessor of Chaumet) provided a full parure for the new Empress of the French: a diadem, comb, necklace, and earrings, all created with emeralds and diamonds set in silver and gold. Napoleon was also said to have commissioned an opal parure from Nitot at the same time. The elaborate tiara we’re looking at today included 79 emeralds and more than 1,000 diamonds (about 700 carats) in a scrolling design of palmettes and medallions. The tiara is still in existence, but – as we’ve seen with other jewels from this era – the parure has scattered, and the diadem hasn’t made it through all these years without a bit of modification.
Empress Marie Louise; the necklace and earrings, on display at the Louvre. The portrait depicts the stones in a red tone, though you will also see them colored green.
The emerald parure left France with Empress Marie Louise when Napoleon’s empire collapsed. When she died, she left the set to a Habsburg relative (her aunt Archduchess Elise, according to the Smithsonian, or her cousin Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, according to the Louvre), and it remained in that family until a descendant sold it to Van Cleef & Arpels in 1953. Seizing an opportunity to make a profit, between 1954 and 1956 the jeweler removed the original emeralds from the diadem and used the green stones in many separate pieces of jewelry. These individual pieces were then sold off, their provenance advertised as “An emerald for you from the historic Napoleonic Tiara.” The comb from Marie Louise’s emerald parure was dismantled at some point; the earrings and necklace retained their original emeralds and are today part of the collection of the Louvre.
Part of a press release from Christie's auction house. One of the brooches made from the Marie Louise emeralds goes up for auction again in April 2014.
As for the tiara, by 1962 Van Cleef & Arpels had replaced the missing emeralds with 79 Persian turquoise stones totaling 540 carats. The switch to the opaque turquoise constituted a major change to the look of the piece, but the new look found an admirer in Marjorie Merriweather Post. The American collector best known for her taste in Russian imperial objects bought the diadem from Van Cleef & Arpels and wore it herself before donating it to the Smithsonian in 1971.
The tiara, in its turquoise version
The Marie Louise Diadem has remained in the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection. A museum collection might not offer much of a chance to see the tiara in use, but it does offer the chance to see it on exhibit. Whenever this one has been mentioned in the past, it always results in cries that the tiara was done a great injustice, having its emeralds swapped for the much more polarizing turquoise stone. But these are often countered by comments from readers that have seen this one on display, noting that the turquoise has a beauty that can’t be captured in photos. Perhaps we’ll all have to make the pilgrimage to see it ourselves.

Turquoise or emerald, which do you prefer?

Photos: Van Cleef & Arpels/Wikimedia Commons/Louvre/Christie's

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 27

Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore a floral patterned dress from By Ti Mo during a recent trip to Vietnam.
Listen. About that recent excursion into the world of Proenza Schouler... (sometimes brands aren't royal favorites for a reason, ahem)... I'm willing to pretend it didn't happen if you are. You wanna talk about something pretty instead? Let's do it: I love this! This one could veer so easily into little girl territory - smocking at the neck, puff sleeves, floral print - but instead it's just feminine and lovely. And it happens to be from a Norwegian brand, which we always like to see on M-M. A more interesting shoe color would be nice, but the nude shoes are the right pick if one insists on staying at the safe end of the spectrum. This might just be my favorite Mette-Marit look so far this year. I mean, it's early days and we haven't even seen her in a tiara yet, but it's in the running.

Photos: Kongehuset/by Ti Mo Facebook

26 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 26

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a dinner for participants of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, which was held this week in The Hague. Máxima wore a Natan beige dress with pearl and diamond jewelry.
It's a busy week in the Netherlands, so we're doubling up on our Máxima dosage. This may have been one of her more understated outfit selections, but it was one of the more important events for the couple - more than 50 world leaders present for the summit makes for an enormous international stage, and I think she played this just right. It's appropriately not a big attention-grabber; it's dressed up but not too dressed up, considering the guests were in regular suits and such; there's jewelry in the form of the always classy diamond and pearl combo, but she didn't pile it on. Well played, Queen Máx. (Also worth noting: this is basically the same dress as the infamous aqua one with sleeves that can walk on their own. What a stellar advertisement for chopping those sleeves right off...pleeeeeze...) For a video from this evening, click here.

Photos: Pool/NOS

25 March 2014

Royal Outfit(s) of the Day: March 25

Video: The Countess of Wessex visited a hospital last week, wearing a black and white print Giambattista Valli dress under a fitted black blazer.
That busy royal bee Sophie turned in this lovely appearance last week, in the classic combo of black and white, and I generally appreciate the contrast of a solid on top and a print on bottom to liven it up. That's all fine and dandy. But also last week, Princess Letizia did the same (same-ish) thing...
...and NOPE. Is it because that print kinda looks like diamonds and clubs, like she meant to hit the casino first? It is because these trousers have a drawstring? It's just a pants-y turn on La Wessex's outfit, really, so why isn't it working for me? These are life's great mysteries.*
Sophie's Giambattista Valli dress (per the Countess of Wessex blog), Letizia's Hugo Boss Orange trousers (click here for a gallery from the visit)
*These are not life's great mysteries.

Photos: Lyst/Hugo Boss

24 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 24

The Dutch royal family hosted a state visit from China. Queen Máxima wore a repeated pink Valentino gown (a previous appearance, far right) which has been altered to add lace to the bottom tiers. She paired it with pearl and diamond jewelry, including the Antique Pearl Tiara.
Her outfit for the welcoming ceremony was unfortunate (who am I kidding, it's a new topper for my list of contenders for 2014's Worst Royal Outfit), but never mind, because TIARA! And this is a good one too, particularly delicious on Máx and so well emphasized by the extra pearl jewels and the soft pink color. The added lace takes the gown from something standard to something special, but for every gain there's a loss - now the sash has more to compete with, and it looks extra awkward. Fingers crossed she finds an occasion with tiara but without orders for the next time around. (For a second gallery from the visit, click here.)

Photos: Getty/ANP

21 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 21

Princess Sibylla, late mother of the King of Sweden, in traditional Swedish court dress for portraits and the formal opening of parliament (center).
A bit of a flashback today, relevant to us for two reasons: 1. This is fabulous, and 2. Tiara intrigue!

1. This is fabulous, plain and simple. What Princess Sibylla is wearing here is one of the Swedish forms of court dress, a formal uniform of sorts that existed for Swedish royal ladies to use on important occasions. They came in a few different versions; this particular one, suited to Sibylla's high place in the royal family, includes a dark gown with exaggerated sleeves and a train, all trimmed in ermine in worn with a veil and tiara. You might recognize this sort of dress first from the similar gowns used at court in imperial Russia, but outfits like this can be spotted on Bernadotte ladies going back many generations. They were kept in use for the opening of parliament in Sweden up until 1974 - not that long ago, when you consider how long this sort of grand gown has been out of fashion.
Princess Christina, 1974
After 1974, changes were made to the actual ceremony involved with the parliament opening, and these gowns no longer had a place. For the same event today they wear modern dress but in a black and white dress code that serves as a faint call back. And if you look closely at gala events, you will see Queen Silvia's attendants still in dark gowns with lattice work on the short sleeves, a form of these court dresses. The oh-so-royal version with train is retired, and would probably be labeled as out of touch if it were used for an event today...but I'd so love to see it resurrected for a portrait someday. It is the height of royal splendor, and shouldn't be forgotten.

2. Tiara intrigue! This week brought the unexpected return of the tiara Princess Sibylla wears in the picture at left above. The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara was understood to have gone to Sibylla's oldest daughter, Princess Margaretha, but it had scarcely been seen in later years until it reappeared on Margaretha at Crown Princess Victoria's 2010 wedding. There were rumors then that the King might have acquired it from his sister to add to the royal collection, but this week gave us the first real hint that something like that may have occurred:
Princess Christina, for the first time, wore the tiara to an official dinner at the palace this week. There is no confirmation on the tiara's ownership - and there probably won't be, as these are sensitive matters - but it does make for a bit of intrigue! (Update: Princess Margaretha still owns the tiara.)

Photos: Scanpix/Kungahuset.se/SVT

20 March 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Yusupov Rock Crystal Tiara

The Yusupov Rock Crystal Tiara
Rock crystal, or clear quartz, is not one of the materials you might traditionally associate with tiaras, but today’s tiara is an example of just how effective it can be. Made of carved rock crystal with platinum and diamonds, the largest central diamond a perfect 3.66 carat round diamond, this was designed by Charles Jacqueau for Cartier and made in 1911 by Cartier’s Paris workshop. (Jacqueau made a small series of these designs, using similar materials, but almost all are lost today.) The Yusupov Rock Crystal Tiara is a beautiful piece, small and delicate, with a subtle touch that stands out even more when one considers that this gem ended up in imperial Russia, home of the finest in over the top jewelry.
Felix and Irina on their wedding day. She is wearing this tiara.
Prince Felix Yusupov (1887-1967), best known for his role in the assassination of Rasputin, was a Russian aristocrat with incredible wealth – the family fortune he inherited was said to have been greater than that of the Romanovs. In 1914 he married Tsar Nicholas II’s niece, Irina Alexandrovna (1895-1970). Felix had an eye for, and a love for, jewelry, and he bought this Cartier tiara as a gift for his bride. She wore it on their wedding day, where it held a veil that had belonged to Marie-Antoinette and topped a gown of silver embroidered white satin.
The Bolsheviks looking over a table of confiscated Yusupov jewels. The rock crystal tiara, in close up, is near the middle.
Like most of their station, the Yusupov couple fled Russia when revolution set in. They did make it out with some of their many treasures, and they were able to sell off bits and pieces when they needed funds. But sadly this tiara was not one of the lucky gems. It was hidden in one of their Russian homes with other jewels, but was eventually found and confiscated to be sold or dismantled by the revolutionaries. The Yusupov Rock Crystal Tiara hasn’t been seen since it was photographed in Bolshevik possession in 1925. It seems likely that it no longer exists. But then again, this week we’re reading stories of the rather incredible discovery of one of the lost Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs, not seen in over a century and apparently saved from imminent disassembly by a fortunate Google search. It had simply been owned and sold by people that didn’t know what they had. Will the same some day be said of this piece? Regardless of its current status, the tiara remains an example of superb design and interesting material use.

How do you rate this tiara?

Photos: Cartier Archives/Keystone

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 20

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are on an official visit to Vietnam. This was their arrival.
Mette-Marit brings us more to talk about when it comes to fashion, but Haakon's got my interest - he pays such adorably close attention to the young flag-waving greeters! I'm dying over here. (Here's a video of that interaction, plus pics.) Anyway, M-M wore a green belted coat, because it is the International Week of the Green Belted Coat, apparently. Here's a gallery of day 1.

Photos: Side2/NRK

19 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 19

Video: The state dinner during the Turkish state visit to Denmark this week.
Well, I think Mary's dress might be one of the most princess-y dresses ever to princess. That neckline, that soft pink, that train! Tiara, pearls, and uniformed prince included, naturally. She lost her shoe for a moment on the entrance and this skirt even did its proper princess duty and covered for her.
The dress is by Australian designer Carla Zampatti and was created especially for Mary's photoshoot for Australian Women's Weekly. It's a custom version of a gown from the designer's existing collection, done in pale pink brocade and without the hemline variation. For the state dinner, Mary accessorized with her wedding tiara and a new pink stone pendant on her pearl necklace. If I have one quibble (and who am I kidding, of course I do) it's that the waist might be a touch too high on her - but nevertheless, I'd love to see her give this one a spin with the ruby parure at a New Year's Court gala some day.

I know some of you have been itching to talk about this state visit, so let me give you some linkage for a few of the events:
Photos: DR1/Semana/Carla Zampatti/Australian Women's Weekly

18 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 18

Video: The Duchess of Cambridge, along with the Duke of Cambridge, presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards on St. Patrick's Day. She wore a green coat from Hobbs with a Gina Foster hat and green shoes.
There's an ever-so-slight difference in greens here, notably between the hat and the coat - not different enough to be intentional, not quite alike enough to pass the daytime lighting test - and it makes me twitchy. It's an annoying nitpick, I know, and it's not even evident in different light, but this is one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of super matchy accessories. (Not as evident in the video, thank heavens, but click here for picture overload from the Daily Mail.)
Behind her shamrock is the Cartier shamrock brooch dating back to Queen Alexandra in 1901 that has been worn since by royal ladies for Irish Guards engagements.
However! This coat length looks even better on Kate than it does on the model, so kudos.

Photos: PA/InfoReportDigital/Hobbs

17 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 17

Sheikha Mozah wore Stéphane Rolland Haute Couture during a 2009 state visit to France while her husband was still the reigning Emir of Qatar.
Sending forth hopes for an elegant week, I'm pulling from the archives of the supremely elegant Sheikha Mozah today. True to her high-end style, this dress from one of her favorites, Stéphane Rolland, is couture to the core. Rolland later shared that they had just five days to pull this bespoke white silk crepe number with a black sash and sparkling waist ornament together and were in such a hurry that hair dryers had to be taken to the hand-painted ombré effect at the waist on the very last day. That effect was well worth it, though, and Sheikha Mozah carried it forward, even echoing the color gradation in her choice of white pearl earrings, a gray pearl ring, and a black clutch. One of my very favorite Mozah appearances, without a doubt.

Photos: Abaca

14 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 14

Video: Crown Princess Victoria celebrated her name day this week, with Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle.
Yes, By Malene Birger made this coat here and was also the brand behind the Bedazzled Sleeve Affair. Funny thing, when I was searching for that bedazzled one, I came across this one and thought it had a lot of potential...of course, as we usually say with Victoria, this isn't how I imagined it to be styled. I think the long gloves do help to highlight the potential this coat has for a bit of retro fabulousness, though - but you'd need a skirt, and some heels, and at least one of those things is out of the question for injured Victoria.
Victoria's outfit: By Malene Birger black and white printed coat, Efva Attling butterfly earrings, By Malene Birger white and black leather gloves (per Kungliga Modebloggen), with black trousers and black flats.
Oh well, we always have Estelle (who is also rocking some retro fabulousness, if you will, since her attire is a children's classic, a style that has been and will be worn for decades). Do you need to see a video of her dancing at this event? It's Friday, of course you do. Click here.

P.S.: If you'd like to discuss Mathilde in Britain, head on over to the Jewel Vault!

Photos: Kungahuset/By Malene Birger/Efva Attling/MyWardrobe/TV4

13 March 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Flora Danica Tiara

The Flora Danica Tiara
Copenhagen jeweler Flora Danica created this modern tiara especially for Princess Marie. The design, by Anja Blinkenberg with input from Marie herself, includes three lilies (French influence, for the French-born princess) to represent Marie, Joachim, and their first child, Prince Henrik. The lilies are made of silver and their centers are topped by tiny diamonds, more than 50 in all. Amethysts are Princess Marie's favorite stone, and so a line of 25 cabochon amethyst balls sits at the base of the tiara. It seems it is intended to be loaned to Marie, and is not her personal property (a similar situation exists with Crown Princess Mary and the Midnight Tiara).
The tiara was completed and shown to Marie in 2011 (while she was pregnant with her second child, hence the omission of Princess Athena in the design explanation), but she waited until March 2014 to wear it in public. She now finally has a second tiara option, after using solely her Diamond Floral Tiara for the first several years of her marriage, and she joins the other ladies in the family in having a tiara of modern creation at her disposal: the Midnight Tiara for Mary, and the Naasut Tiara for Queen Margrethe. Love 'em or hate 'em, each one seems a pretty solid match to the style of its royal wearer - this one included.

What's your verdict on Marie's new tiara?

For more on the gala dinner that brought this piece out, including Mary in her wedding tiara and a repeated Charlotte Lynggaard dress and Margrethe in the Floral Aigrette Tiara (looks like 2 pieces are worn instead of the full three), click here for a gallery.

Photos: Flora Danica/Scanpix

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 13

Queen Máxima visited a healthcare facility in a repeated Oscar de la Renta brown and cream houndstooth coat (style seen in dress form on the runway in the Fall 2007 RTW collection), paired with brown everything else: dress, stockings, shoes, and wide brim hat.
Máxima's had this coat for several years (in fact, it took part in one of her most famous sartorial twin appearances with Mathilde). And while the sum of this outfit is just sort of aggressively brown, I still renew my call for more Oscar de la Renta on the royal runway. Queen Sofia's a fan and bits have been seen on a handful of other ladies, but not nearly as often as you'd think, given his style. Hmm.

Photos: Avoord/Style.com

12 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 12

Crown Princess Mette-Marit participated in events for International Women's Day. She wore a belted black blazer with a full blue skirt, black tights and shoes, and blue earrings.
Am I to understand that some of you didn't like this little number? Aw, c'mon guys. Sure, it has a bit of a Julie Andrews/Sound of Music feel to it. And I'll give you that it doesn't look great in every pose (here's a gallery for your intense examination). But it looks pretty good in motion (video below, or here), and most importantly it looks pretty good greeting adorably dressed flower-toting little ones. I'm giving it a break.

Photos: NRK/Bekia/Eidsvoll Ullensaker Blad

11 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 11

Yesterday, the British royal family attended a service at Westminster Abbey to mark Commonwealth Day. The Countess of Wessex was present, wearing a Jane Taylor hat and Alexander McQueen coat.
Here's an interesting take on those love 'em or hate 'em peplums: the back support belt! I kid, but this is an interesting coat - I may not be entirely sure about this peplum style, but without it, it wouldn't be worth a second glance. It's signature McQueen, toned down by the covered up coat underneath.
Top folded down: better or worse?
We're featuring Sophie because I hear those of you that feel she's being ignored, but Camilla's hat is an interesting discussion piece too - click the link in the tweet above, or click here for pictures (plus more from the first engagement of the day for the Wessexes - it was Edward's birthday!) from the Daily Mail. And for the colorful Queen's jewels, you can find those at the other blog (she wore an interesting brooch to the evening reception too).

Photos: Alexander McQueen/Net-a-porter

10 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 10

Video: Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited Paris last week to open a Carl Larsson exhibit. Victoria wore a black coat from By Malene Birger with rhinestone and mirrored embellishments on the sleeves with black trousers and flats, along with a Stella McCartney clutch, Carolina Gynning necklace, and large earrings.
This coat...I don't know. This bag...I really don't know. Seems like someone's been on a Stella McCartney shopping spree (two clutches and one dress of late, at least). Not a brand that I'd call easy to wear, to say the least...should we be concerned?

Photos: BestImage/By Malene Birger/Stella McCartney/Carolina Gynning

07 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 7

The Swedish royal court released a new official photo of the King and the Crown Princess. Victoria is wearing a repeated Jenny Packham gold gown and the Cut Steel Tiara.
Let's end the week on a sparkly note, shall we? We've seen this combo of dress and tiara on Victoria before (this could have been taken at that time). I'm still not sure about this complicated dress with its pattern and its neckline detail as a background for sashes and the like, but this view gives us a new appreciation of the benefit of a shimmery metallic gown: it'll make you glow in black and white. (Also, the Cut Steel is a surprisingly good match here, and you have to give credit to the Swedish collection for having that kind of tiara variety on hand. Although it would be interesting to see the Baden Fringe Tiara paired with this gown to echo the neck detail...)

Photos: Brigitte Grenfeldt/Kungahuset.se/Style.com

06 March 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Kochli Sapphire Tiara

The Kochli Sapphire Tiara
Kochli (also spelled Koechli, Koechly, etc.) was one of the court jewelers to the imperial court in Russia, and was the jeweler called upon by Alexander III and his wife Marie Feodorovna in 1894 for a new sapphire and diamond parure. This design was selected and the set was given to Princess Alix of Hesse (1872-1918), who married their son Nicholas II the same year. She adopted the name Alexandra Feodorovna. 
The tiara displayed after it was confiscated by the Bolsheviks (upper left), sketches of the tiara, necklace, and brooch (colored), and the necklace and brooch (upper and lower right)
The tiara is made of 16 sapphires in a diamond surround. I've always thought this tiara had a particularly festive air to it; the piece is centered around the five largest oval sapphires, each of which is topped by diamonds bursting out like fireworks. Underneath, a structure of swirling diamond scrolls knot together, studded with additional sapphires. The design theme continues throughout the rest of the parure, which included a brooch, necklace, and bracelet.
Alexandra Feodorovna
It remained in the collection of Alexandra Feodorovna through her years as tsarina, but like the rest of her jewels, it ended up in the hands of the Bolsheviks, who had brutally murdered Alix and her family. The set was catalogued in the inventory of seized jewels completed at the time, but what became of the Kochli Sapphire Tiara and its parure is, I believe, unknown. Some pieces were sold whole, others were dismantled, so it is possible that the once festive tiara no longer exists.

How do you rate this sapphire tiara?

Photos: Fersman/State Hermitage Museum

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 6

Video: The Prince and Princess of Asturias attended a gala dinner. Letizia wore a black dress with asymmetrical neckline, diamond hoop earrings, and a Cartier diamond bracelet.
It's just an LBD, sure. But wowza, this is one good looking LBD! A little diamond sparkle never hurts either. And points for faking me out, making me think you cut your hair when you're really just trying something new (nice hair views in the video above; click here for a gallery).

Photos: Casa Real/Getty/BestImage

05 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 5

Last week, Queen Rania celebrated the 25th anniversary of art organization Darat al Funun.
I found this little gem while browsing Queen Rania's Instagram account. I'm not the closest follower of her fashion (she's not unlike Princess Letizia, going rather utilitarian for the day-to-day stuff and saving the best for special occasions), but this one jumped right out at me. It's an unusual look - the sleeves are doing a thing (exactly what that thing is, I don't really know), the color of the accessories isn't quite right, the zipper detail (I think it's a zipper detail) at the shoulder looks like she forgot to remove the microphone from her last interview - but yet this color is everything. Hard to wear, but she's pulling it off.

04 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 4

On Sunday, the Swedish royal family attended a Te Deum service to mark the birth of Princess Leonore, daughter of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill. Crown Princess Victoria wore a white Michael Kors dress (runway, center) with a feather hair ornament and Stella McCartney clutch. She previously wore the dress for Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday celebrations in Denmark (right).
The main message here seems to be "Look, Ma, no crutches!", so good for Victoria. I hoped this service would yield something a little more interesting in the sartorial department, but nope - quite low key all around. Ah, well. You can never go wrong with a simple white dress, even if your hair ornament does look a bit of an overly enthusiastic scrunchie from certain angles.

Photos: Aftonbladet/Style.com/Scanpix

03 March 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 3

Grace Kelly won the Best Actress Academy Award for The Country Girl in 1955 wearing an ice blue satin gown by Edith Head (also used for a portrait, right).
Did you watch the Oscars last night? You know I did. (LUPITA!) And I felt like keeping the glamour alive today, so let's have a look at a rare crossover between our realm and the Hollywood world: Grace Kelly, who was just a year away from her princess days when she won her statue. Legendary costume designer Edith Head designed her classic blue gown; though it might look simple, it was one of the most expensive gowns of its time, using a reported $4,000 worth of French satin. The result is something you could wear on the red carpet today and still make the best dressed list - the very definition of timeless, no?

Video: Grace accepts her award (with a blissfully short speech, I might add)

Photos: Warner Bros/Getty