24 September 2016

The Cambridges in Canada: Your Open Post

And they're off! The Cambridge family has landed in Victoria, Canada, kicking off a week long tour.
You knew it was only a matter of time before William converted them all to the blue suit brigade. The Duchess is handling her part of the family coordination scheme in a blue Jenny Packham dress, with maple leaves all around (a blue Lock & Co. hat adorned with maple leaves - this is the same designer that did 2011's red maple leaf hat - plus the diamond Maple Leaf Brooch on loan again from the Queen). Really lovely.

We'll be checking in with the tour periodically over the next week on the blog. For those of you that want to discuss the whole thing as it happens, you're welcome to use this post throughout. As always, mind the comment policy and enjoy!

23 September 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: September 23

The Cambridge family lands in Canada on Saturday! Yes, we will have a weekend post once we see what sort of sartorial selection the arrival brings.

But first, let's flashback one more time to their 2011 visit to the country, and one more frequent royal tour feature: the good old flag interpretation.

By tsaiproject [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A white Reiss dress (repeated from the couple's engagement photographs) and a red maple leaf-adorned Lock & Co. hat made for an unmistakable interpretation of the Canadian flag for Canada Day festivities, with the Queen's diamond Maple Leaf Brooch added in for good measure. This outfit seems a bit...contrived, I want to say, but that's a silly thing to say when any outfit echoing a country's colors and/or motifs is by nature at least a little bit contrived. Still, some outfits seem to work a little harder at it than others.

This outfit, on the other hand, was a nod instead of a blinking arrow. A red Catherine Walker coat and a repeat of that loaner brooch closed out the Canadian leg of the tour. Can't ever go too wrong with the classics, can you?

So, what's to come? We'll find out this weekend. See you then.

22 September 2016

Tiara Thursday: Doris Duke's Diamond and Pearl Cartier Bandeau

Doris Duke's Pearl and Diamond Cartier Bandeau
Doris Duke (1912-1993) was the “world’s richest girl”, or so the headlines liked to say. Her father, tobacco magnate James Buchanan Duke, left twelve-year-old Doris and her mother, Nanaline, an estate valued at as much as $100 million when he died in 1925.

Doris Duke with her first husband, James H. R. Cromwell
The fortune funded a wide variety of interests for Doris throughout her life. She was a notable collector of art, wine, real estate, and fine jewelry, just to name a few of those interests. Her mother also had an exquisite jewelry collection, which Doris inherited in 1962. Among those pieces was this pearl and diamond bandeau tiara.

The tiara modeled at a Christie's event before auction in 2004
Cartier made the tiara in 1924, and it was bought by either Nanaline or James B. Duke in March of that year for $23,000. The platinum-mounted tiara has a striking stair-step design created from old European-cut diamonds, and features a single natural pearl at the center and two pear-shaped diamonds on top. It was designed to be worn in bandeau fashion across the forehead, as was the fashion of the time. The tiara is unmistakably Art Deco; at the time of its sale, it was noted as a superb example of early tiara work from that era.

Video: The auction of Doris Duke's jewelry
And sold it was, eventually. Doris Duke was dedicated to philanthropy throughout her life, and the billionaire left much of her estate to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation when she died in 1993. Her jewelry collection and other items from her estate were auctioned by Christie’s in 2004 to benefit the foundation.

The jewelry auction brought in close to $12 million, setting new records for the sale of a private collection. The Art Deco tiara was bought by Cartier for $298,700. The jeweler added their creation back to their collection and it now makes the rounds at various exhibitions, and even makes the odd photoshoot appearance (as modeled above). I usually love a tiara with a nice architectural feel to it, but this one's geometry seems a little harsh in use today (though I'll note that it's hard to judge this as it was meant to be worn, in the fashion of its time). As a display piece, however, it's a refreshing change.

Too many hard angles for you, or just right?

21 September 2016

Royal Event of the Day: September 21

Yesterday was Prinsjesdag in the Netherlands, when the monarch reads his speech from the throne to the government, and - relevant to our purposes - the Dutch royal ladies get all dressed up. It's usually a yearly highlight for Queen Máxima, but was it this year? LET'S DISCUSS:

(Hang on, bear with me for a second as I do my traditional explanation for those unfamiliar with this style of dress.) Hats with long skirts/dresses and sashes are the dress code for the day for the women, something that used to be pretty common at formal royal events, but which has died out over the years. No tiaras, because this is a day event; no sashes for the men, because those aren't worn with morning dress. Willem-Alexander, before becoming king, wore a uniform and used a sash with that. Now he wears a small order pin on his lapel, as does Prince Constantijn. (Okay, NOW let's discuss.)

Queen Máxima chose Claes Iversen as her designer for the day. She opted for a blue blouse tucked into a long golden skirt with blue embellishments and topped the whole thing with one of her favorite giant hats from Fabienne Delvigne. My first thought? This is what dressing for your sash looks like - she's all in tune with the Order of the Netherlands Lion here.

My second thought? If last year was the closest she's come to eveningwear territory at this event, this is a hard swing back to daywear, from the skirt+shirt combo to the sizable hat. Is it a swing for the better or a swing for the worse? I'm honestly not sure. I preferred last year's look, but she set the bar epically high for herself after that.

The best thing here is the best thing nearly every year: the jewels, of course. Those lusciously giant sapphire earrings and Queen Wilhelmina's huge sapphire bow brooch at her waist! The belt buckle placement is probably partly practical (big brooches are a tough sell on tops with no structure), and it is entirely genius with this outfit. Plus, if you ever need a reminder to sit up straight...

But wait, there's more! Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien were in attendance as usual, Laurentien sporting one of the family's bug brooches and big earrings previously worn by Máxima. Her sash is that of the Order of the House of Orange.

Whereas Máxima's Prinsjesdag outfits are clearly geared toward future gala gear reuse, her sister-in-law is stocking up for any future chain mail needs. And given her history with interesting fabrics at this event (last year, she went all Missoni-esque in a chevron knit; the year before, it was formal corduroy), she's right on brand. As ever, we commend her for keeping it interesting for us.

Photos: NOS screencaps, via Getty Images as indicated

20 September 2016

Royal Trips of the Day: September 20

When the United Nations kicks into gear, the royals come running to New York City. A grab bag sampling of recent royal NYC looks:

Princess Madeleine attended the World Childhood Foundation USA Thank You Gala 2016 in New York last week.
From gala dinner to gala toga party without a change required, so handy! Really, this repeated Jenny Packham gown has a whole ethereal thing going on that's quite pleasant, but that bodice also has a whole patched up wardrobe malfunction thing going on.
Jenny Packham Fall 2012 RTW

Crown Princess Victoria started her visit to New York City by supporting Swedish fashion at the Capsule show.

It's zebra and also not zebra, all at once, and I'm all for any compromise that brings us closer to the zebra side. I like the way she's wearing this. Great choice for the venue.
Dress by WHYRED, h/t The Royals and I

King Felipe and Queen Letizia started a visit to New York at the UN headquarters.
House of HM the King
Now THIS, this is lovely. And you won't be at all surprised to find that it is by Carolina Herrera, as tends to be the case with most of my favorite Letizia outfits these days. You just keep up those Herrera shopping sprees, Queen L.
Letizia's version, and a gown adaptation from the Carolina Herrera Fall 2016 runway
House of HM the King/Vogue