22 June 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: The Dutch State Visit to Italy

In this busy royal week, we're swapping Tiara Thursday for a double dose of tiaras in action.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima are currently on a state visit to Italy and Vatican City, and the only surprising thing here is how long it took Máx to wear some Valentino.

Presidenza della Repubblica
Here's the arrival outfit. Perfectly lovely! It is from Natan, and the way that you know that is because it looks suspiciously familiar.
Belgian Monarchy
Yup, Queen Mathilde got there first with her own customized version. Perfectly lovely, I say again. But if we were going to go with a blush pink floral, then I'm going to pout that Máxima didn't repeat her perfect Valentino outfit from William and Kate's wedding.

Valentino was not her choice for the state banquet either, even though the designer himself - the master behind Máxima's wedding gown - was present for the event. She fulfilled another one of our requests instead.
We wanted a better look at the Jan Taminiau gown she wore to Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday party, and the Queen replied with a hearty "I'm right on top of that, Rose!" It's every bit as satisfyingly dramatic as I'd hoped.
Presidenza della Repubblica
Is it safe to call the Mellerio Ruby Tiara Queen Máxima's new favorite diadem, would you say? I'm saying yes. Feels like she's been gravitating toward it for events when she doesn't wear one of the bigger tiaras. The trellis necklace with its interchangeable clasp definitely is a current fave and who among us can blame her for that?

Bonus tiara! Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, King Willem-Alexander's cousin, is the current Dutch ambassador to the Holy See, so he attended the state banquet with his wife, Princess Viktória. She borrowed a tiara from the Dutch vaults: the diamond base of the Antique Pearl Tiara, without any pearls. Máxima wore it this way when she attended Haakon and Mette-Marit's wedding while she was still a royal fiancée, and it was a great option for this black tie event. Viktória's diamond crescent brooch is also from the Dutch vaults.

This is day 2 of the trip, and everything but the hat is a page ripped straight out of Queen Letizia's book (seriously). Beating the heat in the sleekest possible way? Yes please.

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There's the Valentino! It only took until a concert on day 2 for it to appear. This pink Valentino gown dates back to Frederik and Mary's wedding in 2004, and it got a makeover three years ago when she added some lace to the layers. But you can color me shocked that this wasn't an excuse for some new Valentino.

The trip continues at the Vatican today.

21 June 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2017, Day 1

It's time for Ascot! {clears throat} {puts on best Oprah voice} You get a hat! And you get a hat! EVERYBODY GETS A HAT!!

Right, enough with the exclamation points. We have today a review of Day 1 of Royal Ascot, which went down on Tuesday. Over yonder at the Vault, you will find appearances from the Queen, Day 1's winner for Most Colorful, and the Duchess of Cornwall, holder of the Best Jewel title. (Plus the Prince of Wales, Best in Spousal Coordination.) And here's everyone else, ripe for the ribbon bestowing:

Best in...Really, Again?
The Duchess of Cambridge
Very pretty and whatnot, this white lace Alexander McQueen dress worn with the Bahrain Pearl Drop Earrings on loan from the Queen. Also very much a dead ringer for the outfit she wore last year at Ascot. Second verse, same as the first.
A retail version of the Alexander McQueen dress
Ascot's a chance to have a little fun with your style, so maybe wait until after your second visit to settle on a uniform? Just a suggestion.

Best in Summer Claustrophobia
Princess Beatrice
What a beautiful Claire Mischevani dress for Beatrice. So delicate, and yet also so stifling. It looks hot. It's been awfully toasty over there. Princess Eugenie wisely decided to put comfort first by continuing her sleeveless trend from Trooping the Colour and I can't blame her one bit.

Best in Blues
Autumn Phillips
Zara Tindall was on the same wavelength as Princess Eugenie, and it's hard to go wrong with a solid electric blue dress. This one's from Escada. But for me, Autumn's streak of interesting royal wear continues. Even if I did later realize that this is totally a "replikate" version of the red print dress Kate wore in Canada last year. (Do you think Kate did a double take?)
Autumn's dress by Rumour London
Worth noting the Princess Royal was apparently accommodating the heat as well on Day 1, choosing just a dress instead of her usual dress + coat uniform. She got hug and a kiss from her daughter, like everyone else did. Zara seems a snuggly delight.

Worst in...Really, Again?
Princess Michael of Kent
Kate's the same from year to year and then there's this, which is what Princess Michael also wore on Saturday for Trooping the Colour. I suppose I'd rather have an Ascot strategy than an entire 2017 strategy, if a choice needs to be made. (Prince and Princess Michael's kids were there too; they're in this picture-heavy piece at the Daily Mail, if you're so inclined.)

Best in Hats, Day 1 Runner Up
Princess Haya
Dubai Media Office
As promised, Princess Haya is here to up our couture level for the year. This hat is FABULOUS. It would be even more fabulous, though, if separated from its twin dress, methinks. Too much of a good thing. Haya does rack up some bonus points for teaching her mini me the right way to do Ascot; the young lady with the jaunty hat and pattern combo is Sheikha Al Jalila, Haya and Sheikh Mohammed's daughter, making her Ascot debut.

Best in Hats, Day 1 Grand Prize
The Countess of Wessex
Whimsy! Infinitely amusing tanning possibilities! I'm divided on Sophie's green Emilia Wickstead dress, but a fun hat that hasn't lost its mind is the perfect recipe for a royal topper at Ascot. It is from Jane Taylor, Sophie's favorite milliner.

Bonus Award for Best Recovery
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex
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The Wessexes and the Cambridges paired up for the carriage procession into the Ascot ring, and Sophie nearly ended up falling into Kate's lap while getting situated. Carriages, man. Treacherous vehicles.

Who wins your best dressed titles for Ascot Day 1?

We shall return to Ascot later for more fashions; you can always catch up with Her Maj over at the Vault each day as it happens.

20 June 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: Mary and Frederik Host Naruhito

Crown Princess Mary had a run of engagements last week. This was because Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan was in town. And also Crown Prince Frederik was there. But anyway, Mary:

Crown Prince Naruhito arrived for his solo visit to Denmark to mark 150 years of Danish-Japanese diplomatic relations.
To hat or not to hat? That was the question. Mary's greeted colleagues in situations like this previously without a hat. Japan, however, is a more formal monarchy. Or maybe this visit is a touch more formal or maybe she just wanted to get in at least one hat, I don't know. As the only royal lady present, it was up to her. So she split the difference and accented her Erdem dress with a little fascinator thingy at the back. I think it was the right call. And I say that as one who generally finds these wishy-washy non-hat things annoying as can be.

The trio attended a concert on Friday.
The visit started out a little Kate-esque, honestly; first Erdem, then Alexander McQueen. This one brings echoes of that Barbara Casasola dress from Kate's closet, just to drive the point home. Countdown to when Kate will take this one on, anyone? Or at least one of the York sisters, right? If they do, I hope they do it Mary-style. This works.

Queen Margrethe also hosted a dinner for Crown Prince Naruhito.
Floral dresses, I'm good with. But somehow it's always a bit of a letdown when you figure out that it's a floral top and a matching floral skirt instead. I mean, right? Or is it just me? Don't ask me to explain this. I can't solve the world's mysteries. I just know that this visit hit a floral peak with that opening Erdem and should have left it at that.

Erdem dress, Alexander McQueen off the shoulder knit dress, Ganni floral top and smocked waist skirt (h/t to Heaven)

19 June 2017

Monday Tidbits for June 19: Uniforms, Both Nautical and Not

We did the Trooping the Colour thing over the weekend, and I'll be entering my Monday with Prince George's look of boredom firmly etched on my face. Let's see what we've got to distract us...

--There are few stories more compelling than that of the life of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who passed away last week at the age of 93. One of the Duke of Edinburgh's first cousins and a more distant cousin of the Queen's, Patricia Knatchbull survived the IRA bombing that took the lives of her father and her son. We chatted a bit about her and her wedding last year, when we covered the Mountbatten Star Tiara. [New York Times]

--If Trooping the Colour didn't satisfy your need for Prince Harry in uniform, you'll be glad to know that he was very dashing indeed earlier in the week as he took the salute while attending Beating Retreat on Horse Guards Parade. [Telegraph]
Kensington Palace

--Royal Ascot is coming up this week and we will have coverage here as well as at the Jewel Vault. That means that we're about to see some of Princess Haya around here, so if you're not quite sure who she is, now's a great time to check out this interview with her. Get yourself familiarized before her couture show rolls into town. [Tatler]

--We've already seen several interesting brooch picks from QEII over at the Vault this month. She and Prince William had a touching joint engagement in London and - on the same day - she picked up a new garnet addition to her brooch collection. Then, over the weekend, she brought out one very rare diamond brooch (rare enough that I didn't even recognize it at first). My Ascot hopes are too high already.

--Do we think that the Duchess of Cambridge will ever run out of nautical-themed outfits for her many nautical-themed engagements? I appreciate that this one, at an event for the 1851 trust on Friday, isn't terribly literal. It's more classic than anything else. I like it a lot - but you rarely have to sell me on a cropped pant with a heel. [Zimbio]
1851 Trust

--And finally, while Kate was doing navy below and white up top, Morocco's Princess Lalla Salma flipped the script on that classic uniform. She sported a classic navy blazer with white trousers while she and King Mohammed VI hosted a visit from France's president and first lady. [Paris Match]

Coming up this week: A royal visit to Denmark and - as promised - Ascot galore...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

17 June 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: Trooping the Colour 2017 (Updated)

The Windsors are out in force today for Trooping the Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade. Are you excited?!
Good! We've got fashions to review:

Best Dressed
The Queen, Obviously
ITN screencap
You should get the best dressed title on your official birthday anyway. In this case, Her Maj would get this one no matter what because I adore this icy blue outfit. More on that, plus her Brigade of Guards brooch, over at the Jewel Vault. (You will also note that the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the 81-year-old Duke of Kent, chose to wear morning dress instead of their heavy uniforms and big bearskin hats this year. Makes sense.)

Best in Jewels
The Duchess of Cambridge
This Alexander McQueen is a little too sweetly pink for my tastes, and the waist looks less like a feature you'd emphasize and more like something you'd cover up with a belt. But! Never mind all that. Because HELLO, earrings...
Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD Crown copyright 2017
...oooh. On loan from the Queen, these Diamond Pendant Earrings are undeniably evening baubles. The fact that she wore them for a day engagement is, for this magpie, just the BEST THING. They make the whole outfit.

Best in Repeats
The Duchess of Cornwall
I do love this embellished collar jacket on Cams. Why? Well, because she once wore it with one of her most fascinating (and enormous) brooches. Instead of repeating that orange stone pin, she used her diamond Cosmos Clip Brooches and her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings. The coat really could have used a bigger brooch statement this time around.

Best in Contrast
Autumn Phillips
Speaking of pretty in pink, combining a magenta hat with a jade green dress is MUCH more my speed. Unexpected, and perfect. That's another well played royal appearance from Autumn, who joined the balcony this year with husband Peter and daughters Savannah and Isla.

Best in Florals
Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice
Why wouldn't you go with a light floral on a hot summer day, eh? I can find nothing to argue with in either of these choices. Even Beatrice's fondness for a boater hat - which can sometimes end up a little unintentionally comical - works here.

Who makes your Trooping 2017 best dressed list?


Update:

RAF/MOD Crown copyright 2017
Here's the whole famdamily up on the balcony! Nearly fifty family members, I'm seeing? You can click to enlarge the pic above. We'll zoom in...

RAF/MOD Crown copyright 2017
The Gloucesters held court on the left side, together with the Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent with their whole beige and white coordinated family. Classic elegance from both Lady Gabriella Windsor (center, white hat) and her sister-in-law Sophie Winkleman (a.k.a. Lady Frederik Windsor, center, white hat with pink). Prince Edward's hanging out there too, attending solo this year.

RAF/MOD Crown copyright 2017
More Kents - Kents everywhere! - occupied the right side of the balcony. Julia Ogilvy (daughter-in-law of Princess Alexandra) is a standout in the center with her huge hat and a tan background floral dress that fits right in with what the Yorks brought to the party. Also of note: Lady Amelia Windsor (granddaughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and recently in the news as a Dolce & Gabbana model) is sporting a navy and white turban-thingy borrowed from her mother, the Countess of St. Andrews, who wore it to the Queen's birthday service last year.