31 July 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Mathilde at Royal Weddings

Big royal occasions call for a stepped up sartorial game, and royal weddings are a prime example. In salute to the newest member of the Queen Club, let's see how Mathilde's done as a royal wedding guest over the years - at some of the bigger royal wedding affairs (including some other events surrounding the weddings themselves).

One of Mathilde's most memorable outfits through the years has to be the pink maternity outfit paired with a that hat - both too much and just right, all at the same time.

Shall we call these the pink years? Her floral print gown at Frederik and Mary's wedding is one of my all-time favorite gala outfits, and certainly one of my all-time Mathilde favorites.

And these are the shiny years, I guess, between her Armani at William and Kate's wedding, the Monaco evening ball, and the slight shimmer to her crumpled Natan in Luxembourg. These could also be the Big Bling years: Fabiola's diamond brooch worn to both the Monaco and Luxembourg weddings (and at the back of her hair at the pre-wedding dinner in Britain, you can just see the strands peeking out), plus her Laurel Wreath Tiara in necklace form during William and Catherine's wedding in addition to the times it was worn as a tiara. That's a trend I can get behind...I wonder what sort of sneaky acts of sparkle she'll pull as Queen...hmm...

Which royal wedding guest appearance is your favorite?

Photos: Rex/Hello/Getty Images

30 July 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: July 21-27, a Programming Note, and Your Sapphire Winner!

Best in Cute, Large Group Division
The Danish Royal Family

Video: Queen Margrethe and family, Queen Anne-Marie, and Princess Benedikte with two of her children and their families pose for the annual photo call
Family photo call time of year is just what the doctor ordered to treat a Baby Cambridge hangover, especially when the Danes bring such a large group out to play!

Best in Cute, Matchy Division
The Belgian Royal Family
King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, and their children at the family's holiday photo call. Click here for video from RTL.
The Cambridges aren't the only ones that can do blue, no sir. The Belgians retreated from the abdication spotlight to frolic in France, and Mathilde proved once again that shoes aren't the only thing she believes in matching.

Best of the Rest
Princess Letizia and Queen Mathilde
Letizia at a journalism awards ceremony and at a meeting of the Instituto Cervantes, Mathilde at an audience
A few people were still out and about doing their royal thing this week, and this was the best of it (omitting anything to do with anything sad because...well, because). Letizia's two fresh summer looks win it for me.

Who was your best dressed last week?

Programming Note: Despite all the action of last week, we really are entering a slow time of the year for royal watching as many of our families are heading out on their summer breaks. This means two things for us. First, we'll mainly be kicking the week off with Tuesday posts, barring big events. Second, I decided we'd compensate for the lack of official happenings by amping up our tiara games. For the month of August, you'll be voting on a new member of your ultimate tiara collection each Friday. You'll get the results quicker too (so, as you may have noticed with the sapphires, you have a little less time to get those votes in).

And on that note, the winner of your sapphire contest is...

The Dutch Sapphire Tiara!
Máx the Magnificent and her stunning inauguration appearance earlier this year sealed the deal for this sapphire beauty in a big way. Many of you remarked that you'd "seen" the tiara for the first time on the new Queen Máxima, and I couldn't agree more - she showed us what it really can do (not to mention showed us that it truly is a sapphire tiara, something you may have doubted seeing it on Queen Beatrix). There is a smaller diamond tiara that uses some of the stones, and the rest of what we consider to be the accompanying parure also includes the converted Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara, another favorite of mine.

Your runners up:
2. The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara. Queen Silvia and her fan favorite were no match for the recent impression left by Maxima, I'm afraid. Maybe next time, Sil.
3. Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire, Diamond, and Pearl Tiara. Here's what I found interesting in this vote: another gem edged itself in. With the exception of the Cameo which made your runners up list in the pearl vote, you've primarily stuck to diamonds only to accent our stone of choice. I guess pearls and sapphires really are a match made in tiara heaven.
4. Queen Victoria's Sapphire Coronet. Poor Prince Albert, once again less than victorious.
5. The Portland Sapphire Tiara. And that's two for the pearls. This was my pick when I did my ultimate tiara collection, but that was before the big Dutch show. Maybe I'd have to reconsider now.

And here's the whole lot of winners, so far:
Lovely. This sapphire one adds a different Gothic-y design touch, and I like it.

Next vote coming at you on Friday as promised!

Photos: RTL/Getty Images/Casa Real/Nieuwsblad

26 July 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Pick Your Sapphire!

It's time to round out the "big three" colored gemstones in your ultimate tiara collection:

Pick your ultimate sapphire tiara!

There are absolutely loads of delicious sapphire tiaras out there, ripe for the picking. I shall offer you a modest selection - as usual, many of the names are links.

4. The Kochli Sapphire Tiara, from the collection of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
5. The Cartier Indian Tiara, from the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

1. A Württemberg Sapphire Tiara
3. Queen Wilhelmina's Sapphire Wedding Gift Tiara, now broken up
4. Queen Sirikit's Sapphire Tiara
5. A Thurn and Taxis Sapphire Tiara

1. Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara, from the Luxembourg collection
2. Princess Thyra's Diamond and Sapphire Tiara, now owned by Princess Elisabeth of Denmark

4. An oak leaf bandeau, formerly in the Thurn and Taxis collection

1. The Ogilvy Tiara, in its sapphire version
2. Infanta Pilar of Spain's Sapphire and Diamond Tiara
3. A convertible necklace of sapphires and diamonds from Luxembourg
4. A converted necklace from Monaco
5. Another converted necklace from Luxembourg, with a central cabochon sapphire
6. A convertible bracelet bandeau from Luxembourg

And as always - there are many more out there.

Ready to vote for your favorite?
-Vote for one tiara in the comments. (If you're mentioning multiple tiaras in your comment, indicate which one gets your vote, or I will just count the first applicable one. One comment vote per person, please.)
-I will also count the number of "likes" or up arrows on those comments, so you can vote that way too.
-Non-royal tiaras and tiaras that no longer exist are fair game too.

Voting is open until Monday! The blog returns on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Thanks for all your votes, voting is now closed!

Photos: Getty Images/Swedish Royal Court/Sotheby's/Geoffrey Munn/Bodilbinner/Christie's/Van Cleef & Arpels/Corbis

25 July 2013

Tiara Thursday: Two French Sapphire Tiaras

Today we have a double delight: two sapphire tiaras with similar French back stories. They're easy to confuse, so I thought we'd tackle them at the same time. Both parures you will see here belonged to Queen Marie-Amélie (1782-1866), wife of Louis Philippe, King of the French. Louis Philippe reigned from 1830-1848 before he abdicated and went into exile; he was another in the long and turbulent line of leaders that passed the rule of France back and forth during this time. The other French tiaras we've seen to date (the rubies, the emeralds, the pearls) were crown jewels and belonged to the state, allowing them to stay in France through the changes in rule before being sold off; these two sapphire parures are a different case. They were Marie-Amélie's personal property, and stayed with her (and with her descendants) long after her husband's rule came to an end.

Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire and Diamond Tiara
Like many old tiaras, our first is one that has been remodeled over time, removing any signs that may once have existed indicating maker or date. Some say it had ties to Queen Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), but it more likely belonged to Empress Joséphine (1763-1814), wife of Napoleon I. She was painted in an imposing set of sapphires, and it entered the collection of Queen Marie-Amélie when it was sold to Louis Philippe by Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837), who was Empress Joséphine's daughter (she was also at one point Queen consort of Holland).
Empress Joséphine in a set of sapphires
Hortense sold the parure to Louis Philippe in 1821, and that's the first firm record of the set’s existence. It is made of a set of large natural Ceylon sapphires and brilliant diamonds of exceptional quality, set in gold; the craftsmanship has also been noted to be quite perfect. Marie-Amélie ultimately broke some of the original parure, giving pieces as gifts to her descendants. The tiara, which included pieces that could be worn independently as brooches, was at some point reduced in size - today it measures a petite 10.7 centimeters in diameter and is 6.2 centimeters high.
Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans, Countess of Paris (left, wife of Philippe, Count of Paris), Princess Isabelle of Orléans, Duchess of Guise (center, daughter of Marie Isabelle), Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza, Countess of Paris (right, daughter-in-law of the Duchess of Guise)
The parure remained with the descendants of Marie-Amélie and Louis Philippe, the Orléans family, for many decades. They gave it to their grandson Philippe, Count of Paris (1838-1894) and it passed down to his descendants until the family sold the set to the Louvre in 1985.
Inès de La Fressange modeling the parure; the full set
In its museum home, the tiara and parure can now be seen alongside other reclaimed pieces of French royal history such as the Duchess of Angoulême's Emerald Tiara and Empress Eugénie's Pearl and Diamond Tiara. The parure as it exists in the Louvre today includes the sapphire and diamond tiara, the necklace of large oval sapphires surrounded by diamonds and separated by articulated diamond strings, a pair of earrings, one large brooch and a pair of smaller brooches.

Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire, Diamond, and Pearl Tiara
One sapphire parure was not enough for Queen Marie-Amélie, no, she had two: her second included pearls alongside diamonds and what are thought to be Sri Lankan sapphires. The tiara is a delicate piece, featuring seven oval sapphires with graduated diamond surrounds on a base of diamond festoons with pearl and sapphire accents. This one was made for Marie-Amélie from existing jewels in her collection, which were all remounted for her by Bapst. The case from Bapst still encloses the set.
Queen Marie-Amélie and some of her sapphires
The sapphire and pearl parure includes the tiara, three brooches (including two identical epaulette brooches), a belt buckle or center plaque of a bracelet, and a pair of earrings.
The full set in its case, and details
This set also passed down through the Orléans family. Marie-Amélie left it to her youngest son, Antoine, Duke of Montpensier. It was reunited with the above parure when Antoine’s daughter, Marie Isabelle, married her cousin, the Count of Paris. But like the above parure, this set is no longer the property of the Orléans family: the previous Count of Paris sold it in the 1990s.

Which of these two tiaras is your favorite?

Special thanks to Cory for contributing information!

Photos: Louvre/Sotheby's/Corbis/PA

24 July 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: July 15-20, and a Bonus of Cute

Best in Cute
Prince George of Cambridge

Video: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the hospital with their bundle of joy
Obviously this is outside of our date range, happening yesterday. Whatever. BABIES, amirite?! You could just pick him up and squeeze him. (But don't, because police.) They were one adorable, happy family in blue. Kate's bespoke Jenny Packham was great {insert your own required Diana polka dot comparison here}, but the warm fuzzies were better.
I do love any occasion that lets the headline writers run wild.
UPDATE: The baby's name is George Alexander Louis. Anybody guess right? (I certainly didn't!)

Best in Other Cute Things
The A-Team, ESTELLE, and Puppies
Left to right: the Dutch royal family poses for their annual family photoshoot, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Estelle meet scholarship winners, and the Norwegian crown princely family pose with their new puppies
Too. Much. Cute. This should hold us over for a while (it won't, though, because we're not reasonable like that).

Compared to all that, the rest of the week was kinda boring. Haakon tried to liven things up by parachuting into his 40th birthday music festival (because who just has a plain old party, come on).
This party caused a bit of a stir, I guess. First, there was fuss over increased police cost, then it emerged that the guests had been asked to contribute to the costs of the party. All this with a background of fuss over Mette-Marit accepting designer clothes and such for free. But on it went. Click here for a long video, and here for a picture gallery. There were some other royals there too.

Best of the Rest
Princess Letizia, Princess Mathilde, Crown Princess Mary
Princess Letizia attending a naval graduation and audiences; Princess Mathilde (this all happened pre-abdication, pre-Queen Mathilde) at a luncheon and other engagements
Here's a highlight of the rest, the actual business sort of events. But frankly, as far as this post is concerned, if you can't give me at least a puppy you get a meh.

Video: Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik attend a ballet
I suppose Mary and Frederik are my favorites. Fred, really. You gotta respect a man whose sartorial dictionary doesn't include the word blergh.

Who's your favorite?

Photos: The Sun/Getty Images/Abaca/Kongehuset

23 July 2013

Royal Fashion Awards: The Belgian Abdication

As Britain waited for a someday future monarch, Belgium went ahead and traded in for a future monarch right now: King Albert II abdicated on Sunday in favor of his son, the new King Philippe. The events took place in the midst of the yearly National Day celebrations, with happenings on Saturday night followed on Sunday by a Te Deum, the abdication, the new King's oath at Parliament, a military parade and more, carrying on into the night.

Video: A summary of the day's main events
As you might expect, Belgium's own Natan label made plenty of appearances, dressing Queen Mathilde, her two daughters, Queen Paola, and Princess Claire. Plenty of hats from Fabienne Delvigne were also in play. This is a standard combination, particularly for Mathilde, and that went along with the tone: this was a special event but still business as usual at the same time.

Best Dressed
Queen Mathilde (and King Philippe)
Left to right: Saturday evening, the day events on Sunday, and later on Sunday
Mathilde didn't put a foot wrong. She was elegant at every turn - but still very much Typical Mathilde. She always loves her some prints, we've seen shoulder details like that in the past, and these are her standard shapes. Special...and yet normal, if you get what I'm trying to say here. Not to be forgotten, Philippe cut a dashing figure in his uniform - in two uniforms for the day, in fact, as he made a switch to a new one as king.
Just to throw us magpies a bone, this being such a regular old bling-free occasion and all, new official portraits were released. And we get something new-to-us! Mathilde has made her debut in the Nine Provinces Tiara, specifically the bandeau portion only. Gorgeous bandeau tiara hair, plus Queen Fabiola's mega diamond waterfall brooch we've seen Mathilde wear a few times. I can't wait to see her in the full tiara - maybe she can make me love it, miracles do happen - but this was a lovely compromise: a "new" thing, but still not too much for the current sparkle-phobic climate.

Best in Coordination
The Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, Princess Eléonore
Four very well behaved and well coordinated children, no? But I can't resist saying here: I'm getting a few shades of déjà vu here to the dresses worn by the A-Team at the Dutch inauguration. Right? Plus the collar on Mathilde's dress too. And while I'm at it, her blue gown above (again, Natan) makes me flashback to the pink Natan she wore at the Dutch inauguration

Best in Retirement
Queen Paola (and King Albert)
L to R: Saturday night, Sunday day, Sunday night
Paola's green was the perfect color choice - a nice contrast to Mathilde in ivory, easy to see, but not scene stealing. The emotion of the event showed particularly on these two, I thought, and they went proudly into their retirement, so to speak. 

Best in Color Commitment
Queen Fabiola
L to R: On Saturday, and on Sunday
Taking the purple all the way to the gloves: that's my kind of royal.

Best in Quick Changes
Princess Claire
L to R: On Saturday (with husband Prince Laurent), on Sunday at the first events, and later at the military parade
After giving us her best impression of a highlighter in neon on Saturday, Claire made a crafty non-change outfit change that I loved: she simply ditched the jacket and swapped out her hat to sit outside for the parade. Two outfits in one. (And I'm quite partial to the second version, but then I do love a big hat.)

Best in Family Coordination
Princess Astrid
L to R: On Saturday, on Sunday on the balcony, on Sunday at the military parade with her husband, Prince Lorenz, and four of their children behind them
Even more coordinated as a family than the reigning ones: Princess Astrid went for pale pink, as did her two eldest daughters (and her youngest daughter had a printed skirt that went nicely with the rest). Plus, she brought us bonus royal spotting! In the second row we have Princess Maria Laura, Princess Luisa Maria, Princess Laetitia Maria, and Prince Joachim (in uniform). The only thing we're missing is Astrid and Lorenz's oldest child, Prince Amedeo. And as another bonus, on the far left we have Princess Léa (widow of King Albert's late half-brother Prince Alexander) - also in tune with the pink memo.

Who wins your best dressed title?

P.S.: Yesterday's post is still open if you want to chat about the new baby! If there are hospital exits to cover, we'll do so tomorrow.

Photos: Getty Images/Belgian Monarchy/Reuters/AP/AFP/Belga

22 July 2013

Random Tidbits: Cambridge Baby News (UPDATED)

UPDATE: It's a boy! The official announcement:
"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm.

The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight."
As expected, names are yet to come. Congratulations to William and Kate!


This morning it was confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to the hospital to give birth.

Now that we've paused for this breaking news chat, the Belgian abdication post will come on Tuesday, followed by the rest of the week's business.

19 July 2013

Flashback Friday: Dolce Paola

This post really serves no purpose except to offer you a Friday dose of pretty and glam. Just so you know.
This is Dolce Paola...Queen Paola, that is. My favorite Paola is the young Paola of the 1960s, just after her marriage to Albert, the Prince of Liège. She was really almost shockingly beautiful, and the match of that beauty and the elegance of the 1960s fashions made for a royal picture not easily forgotten.
Born to an Italian princely family, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria married the future King of the Belgians in 1959. She was just 21 at the time, and had met Albert less than a year earlier.
Double the beauty: Paola with Princess Grace
The young Princess of Liège was an instant sensation. She and Albert were followed everywhere by cameras, and her face was splashed across numerous magazine covers. Paola became a style icon. Her beauty even inspired a song: Salvatore Adamo's "Dolce Paola" ("Sweet Paola").
The life and marriage behind the stylish front might not have been so easy, but it's still easy to get lost in the glamour of it all, this level of chic that sometimes seems so lacking in today's fashions. A nice bit of fluff for a Friday daydream, at least.

Psst...: Here's a link for abdication times, which will says it will offer streaming for Sunday's festivities. Again, there won't be foreign royal guests, and it seems they're aiming for a normal National Day with just a few extras. We will not be hosting an open post for live viewing, but tune in next week for a look at the big day.

Photos: Corbis/Paris Match/TimeLife

18 July 2013

Tiara Thursday: Queen Elisabeth's Diamond Bandeau

Queen Elisabeth's Diamond Bandeau
Queen Paola has fewer tiaras at her disposal than most of her fellow queens. Today’s tiara has been an anchor in her collection during her years in the Belgian royal family. It features a diamond Art Deco design with a row of interlocking diamond shapes threaded with a small wreath of leaves at the center. It’s a low profile bandeau tiara that does have a certain amount of flexibility and can also be worn as a necklace, in a choker style.
Queen Astrid (left), Princess Lilian (right, with the tiara as a necklace)
The tiara can be seen to create a row of “E” shapes, which makes sense given its origin: the tiara belonged to Queen Elisabeth (1876 – 1965), wife of King Albert I. Elisabeth is said to have given the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Queen Astrid (1905-1935), the first wife of Leopold III, to celebrate the birth of her third child, but Astrid tragically died not long after in a car accident. Her husband remarried, and the tiara was also worn by his second wife, Princess Lilian (1916 - 2002). Lilian showcased the tiara’s flexibility, using it as a necklace and also adding additional diamond studs to the top on at least one occasion; these are thought to have been the large diamonds from the Nine Provinces Tiara, as you can see in that entry.
Queen Paola
The third child of Queen Astrid and King Leopold III, the one whose birth reportedly inspired the gift of this tiara to Astrid, was Prince Albert, known today as King Albert II. So it’s quite appropriate that the tiara was next given to Albert’s wife, Paola. Until her husband became king and she was given the Nine Provinces Tiara, this was really Paola’s only tiara. (She did occasionally wear other things in her hair, a diamond necklace that could be converted for example, but this was it for proper tiaras by my definition.) And even in the years that she’s had the grander Provinces piece at her disposal, she’s continued to make good use of the bandeau. She wears it as both a tiara and as a necklace, and has also paired it with the Nine Provinces Tiara, which also has a necklace form. She loaned this tiara to her daughter-in-law Mathilde to wear on her wedding day.
Princess Mathilde
As we look ahead to King Albert’s abdication and the shift of power to King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, many have wondered how the change will affect the family’s tiara distribution. We’ll know it when we see it, of course, but my expectation is that Queen Paola will pass along the Nine Provinces Tiara to Mathilde and will keep Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau as her only tiara for any future tiara events. She could choose to leave it to Mathilde or to someone else. (I hope to see it someday on Mathilde and Philippe’s oldest daughter, who will be Queen Elisabeth too.) As for Mathilde, she’ll keep her Laurel Wreath Tiara, and it’s still unknown if either of the two tiaras belonging to Queen Fabiola will come her way or not (a few other pieces from Fabiola’s jewel box have been seen on Mathilde recently). Time will tell!

How do you rank this tiara in the Belgian collection? A favorite, or no?

Photos: Getty Images/IBL/Corbis

17 July 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Princess Mathilde's Gown

HRH The Duke of Brabant and Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
December 4, 1999
Brussels, Belgium

Note: Mathilde's wedding gown has been written about before on this site, a few years ago, but that's like a century ago in Internet Time. In honor of the soon-to-be King and Queen of the Belgians, today we have a redo.

The September 1999 announcement of the engagement of the heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, came as a great surprise. Many wondered if the 39-year-old prince would ever marry; Philippe was seen as an awkward and introverted guy, kind of boring really, and certainly not a suave Prince Charming with a love life ripe for press picking. He stayed under the radar, which is exactly how he managed to date a 26-year-old speech therapist from the Belgian nobility for three years in secret. The announcement of their engagement left the country clamoring for the couple's photocall - the press didn't even have a good recent photograph of the new future queen.
With their siblings at the engagement photocall
Of course there were rumors right away that this was an arranged marriage. Philippe addressed them when they met the press, saying that no one had introduced the two, and that it was indeed a love match (those arranged rumors are still hanging around today, after four children and more than a decade of marriage). It was a fairly perfect match, really: Mathilde was young and pretty, came from a good background (she was a jonkvrouw, a lower grade of nobility, at the time and her father was made a count), she had an honorable career, and she possessed enough warmth and charisma to spill some over to her stiff husband. Plus, she was actually born in Belgium (a rarity - she'll be the first-ever Belgian-born queen consort). She was a hit. "The whole of Belgium fell for your charms," noted the mayor of Brussels during their civil wedding ceremony.
Obviously a Belgian designer was needed to add to this national celebration, and Edouard Vermeulen of Natan was the choice - not at all surprising in hindsight, as Mathilde's wardrobe is primarily Natan today. The wedding was held in December and included plenty of movement - to the Brussels Town Hall for the civil wedding, and then to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula for the religious wedding, and then on to the reception - so a winter coat dress was called for. The coat was a silk crepe design with a tall collar and long sleeves. At the front, it closed with buttons and a trim line around the waist. The coat covered a simple sheath dress beneath.
At the back, the coat swept out to a long and dramatic train, 4 or 5 meters in length, which took some effort to manage in the course of an active wedding day (click for videos: the trip to the town hall, the civil ceremony, the religious ceremony). On top of the train rested the veil, a family heirloom from Queen Paola's family dating back to 1877. The magnificent piece of Brussels lace was also worn by Paola, Philippe's sister Princess Astrid, and later by sister-in-law Princess Claire.
Mathilde's tiara was on loan from Queen Paola as well: Queen Elisabeth's Diamond Bandeau. Queen Paola does not loan tiaras normally - never, really, she doesn't have much to loan - so this was a special occasion indeed.
I've said it before: I think Natan creations are dicey day-to-day but not bad at all when it comes to the bespoke wedding gown. Mathilde's gown made my list of top 10 royal wedding gowns initially, and though it certainly wouldn't make a redone list today, I still have a soft spot when it comes to this one. It has a high collar on a coat dress plus a simple dress details paired with a detailed veil, two of my favorite combos. But beyond personal preference, I think there's a good design at work here: it's a December dress that doesn't overdo it with the winter theme (the wee attendants in red velvet provide all the holiday spirit a wedding requires), and it has a certain amount of design flair and a certain amount of grandeur (high collar and train length, hello) without overwhelming Mathilde. I think the dress was a great success.

What do you say: a success, or not?

Photos: ANP/Getty Images/Corbi/Polfoto

15 July 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: July 7-14

Best in Normal
Pretty Much Everyone
A partial selection of engagements for Letizia, Máxima, and Mathilde
Letizia's pink dress is one of my favorites, and I also liked Máxima's orange dress (with brooch!) worn for an informal visit to Windsor Castle. But in all honesty, it was a pretty slow week. Things are slowing down on the whole, as they tend to do in the summer.
The Countess of Wessex at the Coronation Festival Gala
And I suppose it's too much to ask them all to kill a muppet just for our amusement. (Click here for more Windsors at the Coronation Festival.)

Best in Birthdays
Crown Princess Victoria
So thank heavens for Estelle! She came out to celebrate her mother's birthday, which is really a birthday present for us all. And the rest of the family was there too, I suppose.

And an Honorable Mention to...
A Sharing Family
The Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg paid a visit to New York, and once again the family shared clothes (hat tip to Luxarazzi for the spot) with Stéphanie wearing an evening gown previously worn by her mother-in-law. Who wore it best?

Who was your best dressed last week?
Photos: Getty Images/PA/ANP/WPA Pool/Abaca/Aftonbladet/MECE/Cour grand-ducale

12 July 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Your Pearl Winners!

Oh, I gave you quite a task, didn't I? Two pearl tiaras were required for your collection, but the choices were plentiful. I laid out two categories, those with dangling pearls and those with other types.

Your pearl drop winner...

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara!
This one swept the field, without any serious competition. Some cited the Diana factor in their decision (this made my own collection, for what I freely admit were Diana Reasons), while others went for the classic design of a lover's knot tiara, or the magic of a Queen Mary commission. Either way, I think it's a nice little nod, considering our voting spanned Diana's birthday.

Though none posed any real threat to the front runner, here are your pearl drop runners up:
2. The Pearl Poiré/Poire/Whatever Tiara. I did not know this one was so loved - I can't honestly say it's a favorite of mine in this subcategory.
3. The Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara. This one I get - this might have made my own ultimate collection.
4. The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara. Poor Vlad. Usually so loved on its own, but coming up short in both the emerald and pearl categories.
5. The Mellerio Shell Tiara, just for a little variety.

The other category - for all other pearl tiaras, without dangling bits - was much more divided. A clear winner did emerge, though...

The Ancona Tiara!
The well-balanced and pearl-stuffed entry from Italy won - it seems, from your comments, that you judged this one both lovely and appropriately pearl-icious. I don't disagree.

Your runners up in this far closer vote:
2. Empress Eugenie's Pearl and Diamond Tiara. This one didn't get that much love in the comments when I featured it, but yet it was so often requested. Good to see the love here.
3. The Cameo Tiara. Oh, some of you disagreed with the classification of this as a pearl tiara (that's a judgement I leave to you and your individual votes), but I can't resist pointing out that in terms of pearl real estate, this might just be the pearliest pearl tiara here.
4. Queen Maud's Pearl and Diamond Tiara. Double settings, this one, with probably more love for the little one (shown).
5. The Cartier Pearl and Diamond Tiara. A lovely number out of Spain, my favorite of their pearl offerings.

Now, here's what your collection is looking like so far:
Handsome, I say.

Stay tuned for the next vote!

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis