29 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 29

When it comes to raiding Queen Máxima's closet, there's just one true question at hand: could I resist the urge to steal a cape for my very own? Sporting a cape makes everything 112% better (scientific fact). Very tempting indeed. The daywear section wouldn't hold much of a draw for me, but the cape would have some serious competition from more than a few numbers from the gown section. Temptation all around...
Máxima, and her family, on the evening of the King's inauguration, 2013.
...but ultimately, I think this little number would give the cape its greatest challenge. Of course, it's related to the cape - a cape cousin - since it is also Jan Taminiau and belongs to the same day and same massive occasion, Willem-Alexander's inauguration (both outfits are pictured below). But the raspberry gown is delicious in its own right. I'd just need some diamond stars to stick in my hair just like the new queen did, and I'd be set. (Surely they wouldn't miss it if I nabbed a few of those while I was at it...)

Which outfit tempts you most from Máxima's closet?

P.S.: It's a three day weekend! We'll be back on Tuesday.

Photos: NOS/Jan Taminiau

28 August 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Snowdon Floral Tiara

The Snowdon Floral Tiara
Lady Sarah Chatto’s wedding gown has been discussed several times on this site; the Jasper Conran gown wins a general crowd approval, as does her pairing of the gown with what we’ve referred to as the Snowdon Floral Tiara, a gorgeous diamond floral tiara that breaks into three separate brooches. The tiara has often been reported (including on this site) as having been a gift from Lady Sarah’s father, the Earl of Snowdon, to her mother, the late Princess Margaret, but something about that description never quite rang true: Princess Margaret was never pictured wearing it as a tiara. Would she really have let a tiara from her husband go unworn? Thanks to this year’s wedding gown exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum (and to the many readers that visited and reported back), that little discrepancy has finally been cleared up.
Above, all three brooches used by Lady Sarah (center) on her dress in 1997.
The answer is, quite simply, that the tiara was never worn as a tiara by Princess Margaret because it did not exist as a tiara when Margaret owned it. Lord Snowdon’s originally gave his wife not a complete tiara, but three separate antique brooches. They weren’t used together as a headpiece until the preparations for the 1994 wedding began. Jasper Conran saw the pieces in Lady Sarah’s possession when designing the wedding gown and made the suggestion; Wartski was enlisted to make a frame that would hold the largest brooch as the centerpiece and position the two smaller brooches at either side. The brooch fittings remain in place, and the brooches and frame are in Lady Sarah’s possession. She can be seen wearing all three pieces as dress ornaments above and she also wore pieces at her mother’s funeral in 2002. Her half-sister Lady Frances wore them in her hair for her own wedding.
The only time the “Snowdon Floral Tiara” has been worn as a tiara was at that wedding (which was also the only time we’ve seen Lady Sarah wear a tiara, period), but I’m curious to see it used again. It’s a fantastic take on the traditional diamond floral tiara with lots of dimension to it, but the arrangement is clearly set up for, and enhanced by, the use of a veil behind and greenery to the sides. Would it translate to a normal hairstyle? I hope someday we’ll find out.

Where does this rank on your list of favorite diamond floral pieces?

Photos: Royal Household, UK Press via Getty Images

27 August 2014

Royal Event of the Day: August 27

The Swedish royal family attended the Polar Music Prize festivities last night.
We now interrupt our regularly scheduled wardrobe theft game for refreshing change of pace (in these summer days, at least): an actual event! Half of the royal ladies were only present for part of the event (Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine joined in later, Silvia was typical Silvia and Madeleine was...not her best in an Ida Sjöstedt dress), but still, the Swedish royal family is trying their best for us. We do appreciate the effort.
Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, above. Click here for a gallery of arrivals, including the King, Chris O'Neill, and a glimpse of Princess Christina and husband Tord Magnuson.
Is this the official Dress of 2014? Victoria's sure trying to make it so. This year has already brought us an outing for Victoria in the dark version and one previous outing in this light version, plus an appearance for Mette-Marit in the dark version. And that's just since June! It's a great dress, and a perfect choice for this event. But I think the question is: too much of a good thing, or never enough?
The dress is from the H&M Conscious Collection.
(By the way, Victoria will have her day in the closet theft sun later on.)

Photos: Anna Lu Lundholm via Getty Images, and H&M

26 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 26

Are you in need of the perfect gray suit for your all your job interviewing occasions? Yes? Step right up, it's time to examine our newest queen's wardrobe and take your pick!

I'm kidding. (I'm sort of kidding.) There's actually quite a bit I would grab on a run through Spain's top royal dressing room, a fact which sort of surprised me. I have a few guesses as to what items will be in high demand and I'm ready and waiting for you to prove me wrong with your obscure choices. In the mean time, my ultimate top pick:
This Felipe Varela take on the little black dress was worn on a couple occasions by (then-) Princess Letizia.
Full skirt? Check. Sparkles? Check. Reserved space in my fictional shopping bag? Check check.

What would you grab from Letizia's wardrobe to have as your very own?

Photo: Oli Scarff via Getty Images

25 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 25

Being an avowed Shoe Person, it's about time I got around to the accessories in my fictional closet raiding. You know who has a good closet for accessory collecting? Princess Beatrice, that's who.
Princess Beatrice attended an event in 2012 in a Roksanda Ilincic dress with an Anya Hindmarch clutch and Nicholas Kirkwood shoes.
Her overall wardrobe game is on a steady upward climb, but her hats (love 'em or hate 'em) have always been showstoppers. And in the past few years, her shoes have been equally fab. This blue pair can be mine any time. Actually anything in this whole outfit is welcome in my closet, but the shoes get a special invite.

If you could have one thing from Beatrice's closet, what would it be?

Photos: Mike Marsland/Wire Image via Getty Images, and Polyvore/Net-a-porter

22 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 22

If the opportunity ever presented itself to peek inside Crown Princess Mary's closet...I think I'd just set up shop and stay put. Get a cot. Little camp stove. Make me a little Prada nest in which to live out the rest of my days. Yup. Actually - believe it or not - there are things in there that don't interest me, but as far as what I'd grab, I can tell you for sure this one would be on the list:
At Princess Isabella's christening.
I've always had such a soft spot for this mauve-y purple dress. It's a Birgit Hallstein creation, and I'm pretty sure I've liked every one of those Mary's worn.
The dress takes its inspiration from a Prada dress that was already in Mary's closet, but I prefer to imagine it was dreamt up in a moment of pure Liesl love.
A little bit at least, right?
Now, I know some of you would be right there with me in the Prada nest, but I trust you have nothing better to do with your Friday than contemplate my question...

If you could have one item from Mary's closet (yeah, one), what would it be?

Photos: Steen Brogaard/Kongehuset, Niels Henrik Dam/Getty Images, and 20th Century Fox

21 August 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Leeds Cartier Pearl and Diamond Drop Tiara

The Leeds Cartier Tiara
Today's tiara belonged to Princess Anastasia, wife of Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, son of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece. Prior to their 1920 marriage, Princess Anastasia was no princess at all, but rather an American with a past that included two previous marriages. She was born Nonie May Stewart in Ohio and by the time she met Prince Christopher in France in 1914, she was known as Nancy Leeds and was a wealthy widow following the death of her second husband. (Her Wikipedia entry - yes, I know, apply your own Wiki cautions - is full of slightly dubious details. For example, regarding Prince Christopher's claim that he married her for love alone and not for her money: "Whether he ever knew that she was, in fact, a decade older than him and had a living ex-husband is unknown." JUICY.)
Princess Anastasia
Anyway, this tiara actually predates her days of royal intrigue. Mrs. Leeds was a frequent client of Cartier, and ordered the tiara for herself from the famous jewelry firm in 1913. The diadem is composed of intertwining diamond circles outlined by a row of small pearls. The interior of each circle is accented with more small pearls. From each circle hangs a pendant, alternating pear-shaped diamonds and drop pearls around the tiara. The pendant diamonds range in size from 9.85 carats to the largest at a staggering 21.60 carats; the pearls at their smallest are 35 grains and at their largest, 64.60 grains.
Detail of the center of the tiara, and the side view
This is a tiara often confused for the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara so famously (and frequently) worn by Queen Elizabeth II, and indeed the design was based off of that very piece. According to Hans Nadelhoffer's Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary, Grand Duchess Vladimir left her tiara temporarily at Cartier in Paris, and Cartier's close examination of the remarkable piece became the basis for the designs for three more tiaras. These included Mrs. Leeds' tiara shown here, as well as a tiara with large diamond drops made for Princess Paley in 1911 from an existing tiara. Today, we can add the reworked version of Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara to the list of similar designs - and, along with the Vladimir Tiara, it is one of this type of design still known to be in existence today. Nancy Leeds/Princess Anastasia died in 1923, and the whereabouts, or even the sheer existence, of her pearl and diamond drop version today remains unknown.

Of the similarly designed loop tiaras, which is your favorite?

Photos: Cartier/Wikimedia Commons

20 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 20

If I was let loose in Queen Mathilde's closet, well, there would be a lot that I'd leave behind. Her particular style works for her, but isn't usually stuff that I would choose for myself. However...
Mathilde (prior to becoming Queen of the Belgians) attended a concert celebrating Máxima's 40th birthday in 2011.
I would definitely start the search for her most memorable looks, this one topping my list. A simple white dress can be so divine, no matter what your style.

If Mathilde's closet was willing to give you one thing, what would you take?

Photo: Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images

19 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 19

Didn't take me long to get back around to Elie Saab in this little closet raiding exercise, did it? Well, that was predictable.
Sweden's Princess Madeleine sported Elie Saab Resort 2013 at her pre-wedding dinner last year.
Princess Madeleine has some cute stuff in that closet of hers beyond the gown section - there's an Oscar de la Renta white dress that I'm particularly fond of (see below) - but if there's an Elie Saab garment bag, I'm grabbing blindly.
The Oscar de la Renta dress of which I am particularly fond, on Madeleine and on the runway (with skirt lining added, an unsurprising modification from the runway).

If you could have just one thing from Madeleine's closet, what would it be?

Photos: Kungahuset/B.Grenfeldt, Style.com and Europa Press via Getty Images

18 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 18

Luxarazzi asked me which of the grand ducal Elie Saab gowns I'd pick if I were to whisk one away (I went with Stéphanie's wedding gown, because I'm subtle like that), but what about the rest of the royal closets? I know which jewels I'd grab, but what about the clothes and the other stuff? If you could have just one item from a certain royal closet, which would you go for? It turns out that planning a life of fictional sartorial thievery is an entirely pleasant method of procrastination, so let's start with one of the most thoroughly examined wardrobes.
The Duchess of Cambridge at a gala in 2012.
This slice of Jenny Packham pretty for me please, thanks. Just so I can look at the color, which is glorious and one of my current favorites, forever.

If you could have just one item from Kate's closet, what would it be?

Photo: WPA Pool via Getty

15 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 15

Here's a dress worn (reworn, actually) by Crown Princess Mary earlier this year, but we didn't really have a chance to discuss it in depth at the time. It's an interesting one - interesting in a good way, I think, but you be the judge.
The dress was first worn to the Dutch inauguration in 2013 (shown above), and then repeated at a government dinner in 2014.
Covered in scattered leaves and petals, the Japanese-inspired dress was designed by Charlotte Lynggaard as part of a collection presented to celebrate the 50th anniversary of jewelry company Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen in 2013. Mary wears a lot of Ole Lynggaard pieces, so it's no surprise she was first on the list for their foray into clothing.
Interesting, right? Particularly as a choice for a royal event entailing a sash (which cuts right through the waist detail) and some sort of head accessory (a wee hat, above, and a tiara for the second appearance, below). The dress is the sort of thing that suffers when too much is added in the accessory department, and I have serious qualms about the sash issue, but I'm sort of in love with the way it moves:
Video of this year's appearance. (Mary appears at 2:14, wearing her wedding tiara.)
So how would you style this number? Me, I'm hoping to see it again at a black tie tiara event (let's just dispense with the sash) and with the Midnight Tiara in place. (The Midnight collection was also designed by Charlotte Lynggaard, making it a good match on multiple levels.)

Photos: Pool/Getty Images and Luxury Insider

14 August 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Luxembourg Turquoise Tiara

First of all: Posting was held back by some technical difficulties yesterday, hence the radio silence. My thanks to all of you that checked in, and we're back as usual today!

The Luxembourg Turquoise Tiara
In 2008, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa appeared in a petite tiara featuring two rows of turquoise stones surrounded by diamonds, a top row of upright pear-shaped stones and a bottom row of oval stones. She was also wearing a pair of earrings and a necklace to go with the tiara. The set caused quite a bit of interest at the time, as it appeared to be something either newly acquired or newly reorganized by the grand ducal family. For once, though, this is a mystery that would be solved.
Maria Teresa (left) and Tessy (right)
As Luxarazzi relays, an article from Point de Vue cleared up the mystery: the set has in fact been around for a long time. It was likely made around the 1830s, but it was only dusted off and given to the court curator to be restored for use by Maria Teresa in 2006 along with another, larger turquoise necklace. How or why these pieces managed to stay hidden away for such a long time remains unknown, but since bringing it back to life, the tiara has been worn by both Maria Teresa and her daughter-in-law Princess Tessy. It's not the easiest tiara to wear, but since turquoise has such impact (being both bright and opaque), it works particularly well in a small form. Turquoise has always drawn strong reactions one way or the other around here, so I'm curious to know...

How do you rate this little gem?

P.S.: I did a fun, quick interview with Luxarazzi for their summer series on royal bloggers. Check it out here!

P.P.S.: Thursday outfit posts will return when the summer slow season is over.


12 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 12

Princess Irene wasn't the only one with a birthday last week. Many of you mentioned Princess Beatrice, who celebrated her birthday on Friday, but someone else shares that August 8th day...
In the U.K. in 2010, Sheikha Mozah of Qatar was accompanied by the Prince of Wales for an exhibition opening at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
...Mozah! And here is our elegant celebration, with a bonus lesson on how to do monochrome right. Gray is a color that can be perilously boring, but texture and shape give this outfit all the interest it needs. The design is a couture look in embroidered gray flannel created specially for this 2010 event by Stéphane Rolland, who later commented that it made her look like a 1950s movie star. I couldn't agree more.

Photo: WPA Pool/Getty Images

11 August 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 11

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, and Queen Sofia attended an official reception at Almudaina Palace in Palma de Mallorca last week.
Okay, I take back what I said before. I'm good with a little Mallorca pajama action, as long as you give it a some flair from the original dressy pajama queens: the Golden Girls. Sofia's more than earned her right to a little cheesecake out on the lanai.

Photo: Carlos Alvarez

08 August 2014

Royal Birthday of the Week: August 8

Princess Irene of the Netherlands turned 75 on Tuesday, and that sounds like a good excuse to revisit the very grand wedding gown she wore to her very controversial wedding (here's my original post).
Video, above
This is a sleeper favorite for me - I forget how elegant it is until it pops up again. I also tend to forget how much secondhand claustrophobia I get from watching videos of this wedding (I'm not even prone to claustrophobia, but the madness outside the church! How the couple managed not to freak out is beyond me). But it's well worth it to see this gown in motion. Happy birthday to Irene, and happy Friday-with-a-wedding-bonus to the rest of us!

07 August 2014

Tiara Thursday: The King Olav Gift Tiara

The King Olav Gift Tiara
Add this one to your list of 18th birthday tiaras (others include Crown Princess Victoria's 18th Birthday Tiara, the Swedish Aquamarine Bandeau, Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara, the Antique Corsage Tiara, and the Alexandrine Drop Tiara): this was an 18th birthday gift from King Olav V of Norway to his granddaughter Princess Märtha Louise. Made by Garrard, it's a small tiara of scattered diamond foliage (very petite ears of wheat, it looks like) with a few tiny pearls in the body and small pearl accents along the top.
Princess Märtha Louise
This is by far the tiara we see most often on Princess Märtha Louise. It's the only one she personally owns, and in Norway they tend to stick to their own tiaras. There are exceptions every now and then, though, and so we've seen her borrow another tiara on a handful of occasions (Queen Maud's Pearl and Diamond Tiara for her wedding and Princess Madeleine's wedding, the Amethyst Necklace Tiara for Crown Princess Victoria's wedding, the bandeau of the Malteser Tiara on at least one occasion). I find that I like her in those special tiaras more than this one, but I recall from our ultimate tiara voting that King Olav's Gift Tiara has plenty of admirers out there.

Is this your favorite tiara on Märtha Louise?

Photos: PA and Royal Court of Norway

Royal Outfit of the Day: August 7

The Spanish royal family posed for the press at the start of their summer holidays at Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca.
I would hide behind the girls too, if I forgot to change out of my pajamas before a photocall. Smart move, Letizia.
Leti's drawstring trousers from Hugo Boss. I was dicey on these when they appeared in a fancier fashion, but paired with a simple v-neck tee...nope. Well, not for press business, at least.

Photos: Carlos Alvarez via Getty Images and Hugo Boss

06 August 2014

Royal Trip of the Day: August 6

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are touring Greenland with their four children.
Video, above.
Cuteness and colorful national costumes all in one?! This trip is the best. The family really seems to be getting in the spirit of things  - the twins are apparently even being called by their Greenlandic middle names, Ivalo for Josephine and Minik for Vincent. They're a walking advertisement for casual sweater style, and I couldn't be more jealous. (Is it fall yet? Summer really doesn't suit me. Nature keeps declining to consider my personal preferences, the nerve.)

Some galleries for your investigation: in national dress, Josephine making a new friend, and more sweaters.

05 August 2014

Royal Group of the Day: August 5

Yesterday, many services marked the centenary of the First World War. Among the dignitaries joining the King and Queen of the Belgians for various events in Belgium were the King of Spain, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry.
Video, above.
Two royal ladies in a sea of suits, and "appropriate" is the word of the day. It goes for both Mathilde and Kate, and I'm not finding many remarks beyond it. While that might be damning with faint praise in another situation, for a more solemn event like this, it's just right. A respectful sartorial nod to them both.

Photo: Pool via Getty

04 August 2014

Royal Accessory of the Day: August 4

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the annual Red Cross Ball in Monaco.
Welcome to the summer doldrums of royal watching, when any bit of sparkle - no matter how small - in anyone's hair is cause for celebration. And on that note: CHARLENE! A diamond bracelet, diamond earrings, and a petite diamond headband from Graff. Wee steps towards Tiaraville, we can only hope.
Her custom gown from Dior included a bit of a train but the navy and black color scheme kept it simple, all the better to show off those diamonds. Just plain pretty, I say.

Photos: Pascal Le Segretain and  PLS Pool/French Select via Getty Images