14 August 2015

Royal Brooches of the Day: August 14

I received several emails and comments as we discussed the wedding of Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo from those of you that caught a little hidden treasure on one of the bride's ensembles:
On the back of Beatrice's Armani Privé gown for her Italian reception, she perched a pair of wing brooches on her shoulders, just as the gown went into its train. They added an extra ethereal touch to a divine look, and they also added special family significance to her big day, as they were apparently a loan from her new mother-in-law.

Princess Caroline has a pair of wing brooches in diamonds and what I always thought were a dark stone such as sapphires, but Beatrice's appearance prompted a better look, and (as some of you pointed out) it does appear that Caroline's wings have some open areas through which a dark background will show.

Chaumet has done similar work - one famous example: a 1907 winged aigrette in diamonds and enamel that was inspired by the helmets of Wagner's Valkyries and is now owned by Albion Art, though previously in the collection of the Dukes of Westminster - and Caroline's wing brooches are usually attributed to the firm. Sheikha Mozah has a pair of wing brooches just like Caroline's, so these are not an entirely unique design.

They certainly are unique and eye-catching pieces, though. What's really interesting to me are the different brooch positions on display here. They make the most sense in a pair, but they're a little strange when separated on either side of a neckline and they're a little overwhelming when worn together on one side. Naturally, my favorite way to see them worn is in the hair, as you can see on Princess Caroline above, but Beatrice's wedding look shows just how much potential these have for creative uses - a potential I hope they continue to explore.

Photo: via Getty Images