23 June 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2017, Days 2 & 3


Update: You can check out the remainder of the Royal Ascot fashions - from Days 4 & 5 - here at the Vault!

Aaaaaaand we're back to Britain's annual hat festival, with royal goodies from Days 2 and 3 (which is Gold Cup Day, or traditionally Ladies' Day, and often the moment many reserve for their best hats).

Already covered at the Vault: QEII on double duty for Day 2 plus Camilla and a decked out Duchess of Gloucester, and the Queen holding fast to her Most Colorful title on Day 3. And now for some awards for a selection of the rest of the royal racegoers...

Best in Dress
Princess Eugenie
and
Best in Unnecessary Layering
Princess Beatrice
The jumpy claps over here when I saw Eugenie sporting one of my favorite Preen dresses, you have no idea. I think this might be as close as it gets to a universally flattering shape, and it certainly flatters this York sister in both cut and color. LOOOOOVE. And then there's Beatrice, which would be a love if it weren't for one big caveat. When I first saw this, I thought it was an odd dress, designed to make it look like she'd paired a longer sleeve shirt underneath the short sleeve dress. But it turns out...
Eugenie's Elle stretch-cady dress from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi; Beatrice's Tilt China Midi Dress by Amanda Wakeley
...it looks like that's actually what she did? Huh? I am entirely too confused about this to fully appreciate her beautiful fishtail braid spin on hat hair. Or to appreciate how great the dress itself is on her. Or to appreciate how great it is to see Amanda Wakeley back on the royal scene. Huh.

Best of the Light Colors
The Countess of Wessex, Day 3
I keep waiting for the new Countess of Snowdon to bring it like I know she can. I'll keep waiting. In the meantime, of the multiple royal ladies trying out that ubiquitous royal palette of cream and white on Days 2 and 3 (like Zara Tindall), I'm giving my blue ribbon to the Countess of Wessex.
Wave Textured Stripe Dress Ivory from Suzannah, done with a bespoke top for Sophie
Not entirely sure why the need to customize here, but she kept the best part. Use those chevrons to your favor, yes indeed.

Most Exuberant Use of Prints and Colors
The Princess Royal, Days 2 & 3 and Princess Alexandra, Day 2
There's all those pale colors and then there's Princess Anne and her tablecloth jacket followed by a rich green with a certain eau de Robin Hood, plus Princess Alexandra in a riot of prints with a hat to match (she's the one on the receiving end of Anne's smile in the top pic, with her back to us). A breath of fresh air, I declare!

Best Mini Me Act
Princess Haya and Sheikha Al Jalila
Dubai Media Office
I'm so enjoying the mother-daughter act happening in the Dubai contingent. First we had matching pattern + white outfits on Day 1; now we have the sharing of a universal rule for Ascot success: a solid color dress is the perfect canvas for your froofy hat. Princess Eugenie co-signs this strategy.
Dubai Media Office
Butterflies for the young sheikha are such a perfect touch of whimsy. I'm clearly charmed, since I don't normally make this many comments on the apparel of the kids. (Princess Haya posted some sweet pics of the family on her Instagram, noting that Jalila has been their lucky charm at Ascot this year.)

Best in Hats
Countess of Wessex, Day 2
Carrying the torch from our first set of Ascot awards to our second, Sophie knows what's up. Such fabulousness resides in this Jane Taylor chapeau, I shall not even spend much time questioning its accompanying Emilia Wickstead dress.
Mimi cut-out back cloqué dress by Emilia Wickstead, shown in green
Not even gonna question it. Nope. Such restraint.

Who wins your awards on Days 2 and 3?

The hat fest continues today and Saturday!

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!