20 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia, Victoria, and Rania Get the Blues

A color-coordinated grab bag to wrap up our week:

King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended a concert for the Princess of Asturias awards yesterday.
CasaReal
Letizia clearly heard some of you wondering how her joyas de pasar bracelets would've looked on Máxima with that bold Jan Taminiau dress last week, and she would like you to know that they are TAKEN, thankyouverymuch. Hands off her preciouses. (This Felipe Varela-clad event leads up the annual Princess of Asturias Awards, and we'll be covering that later as always.)

Crown Princess Victoria attended a seminar in connection with the centenary of Finnish independence this week.
Embed from Getty Images
Of all the concerning things about this outfit (and it bears a striking resemblance to my local car wash, so there are a few), the blue tone of the stockings might just be the most alarming. I think, in general, it's wise to avoid the Violet Beauregarde look.

Queen Rania attended a King's Academy event recently.
Instagram/@queenrania
This might be the most luxe take on a mural dress I've seen, and I might be into it. Yeah. Chalk up another win for Stella McCartney (surprisingly enough).
Stella McCartney V-Neck Cape Dress with sequin embellishment (h/t to Heaven)

19 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara

The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara
Sotheby's
This tiara puts an Art Deco twist on motifs frequently represented in tiaras: palmettes, acanthus leaves, and floral clusters. The nine openwork plaques of graduated size are pierced and millegrain-set with single-cut, circular-cut, and rose diamonds.

The tiara, removed from the frame
Sotheby's
The tiara can be removed completely from its frame and laid flat. It’s likely that this jewel was designed also to be a choker-style necklace, though the tiara frame is the only fitting it has today. Regularly attributed to Chaumet, the tiara dates from the 1920s and has French assay marks.

As worn by a Duchess of Medinaceli
The Spanish ducal house of Medinaceli – a title dating back to 1479 that has been held by dukes as well as duchesses in their own right – owned this unusual tiara. It was worn by Ana Fernandez de Henestrosa Gayoso de los Cobos, wife of the 17th Duke, for a painting in 1926 (above), probably not long after the tiara’s creation. It was also used as a bridal tiara in later generations.

As a bridal tiara
via/via
The tiara was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2011 for $442,020. It was marked as the property of a ducal house. In the auction notes from the sale, the tiara was likened to the Lotus Flower Tiara and the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara, both using similar motifs and both belonging to members of the British royal family. In terms of the overall impression of the piece, I see a likeness to another tiara, one also hailing from a Spanish noble house: the Alba Russian Tiara, which puts a geometric spin on a similar sort of layered design effect.

The centerpiece
Sotheby's
The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara is a large and imposing jewel in use. It was probably best suited to use as a wedding tiara, with a veil as a background to balance things out. As used by one of the brides pictured above, it even takes on a bit of the feel of a peineta and mantilla. And yet, again like the Alba Russian Tiara, it’s not hard to see how it came to sale.

How do you rate this unusual piece?

18 October 2017

Royal Dress of the Day: Máxima Brings the Drama (Again) in Portugal

Hit the rewind button, we gotta wrap up King W-A and Queen Máx's Portuguese adventures. One of their remaining adventures, at least. Because while there were some outfits that were just...*stares directly at camera* *shrugs*...her evening follow up to the state banquet's emerald festival was filled with even more drama.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a concert on the second day of their state visit to Portugal last week.
Embed from Getty Images
Half cape, half caftan, all drama! This Jan Taminiau gown comes with an all-you-can-handle serving of rubies and diamonds, and its own creatively placed censor bar, free with purchase. Husbands that understand the art of escorting a dramatic gown are sold separately.

Embed from Getty Images
About those jewels, though, seriously. Many people would have seen the bold, clean lines of the dress and gone for a minimalist, modern jewel approach. Many people are not our Máxima. She's experimenting again, using a piece of the stomacher from the Mellerio Ruby set as a pendant on her diamond rivière. She previously used it as a brooch pendant; this is even better. What combo will she dream up next??

17 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Kate Takes a Spin with Paddington

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended an event for children from charities they support, where they met cast members from Paddington 2.
Embed from Getty Images
Well, this is cute. Probably my favorite Orla Kiely she's worn. Which, come to think of it, isn't saying much, but still! I mean it about the cuteness.

Orla Kiely/Kensington Palace
It definitely benefits from a dash of retro styling, so the chunky heel shoes were a good start.

Wait, what's that? You don't care even a little bit, you just want to see her twirl with Paddington Bear again? Fine, fine.

16 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 16: Birthdays and Norways

Here we go again:

--Prince Christian of Denmark turned 12 on Sunday and the traditional birthday photo (taken by mom) was released. This one made me smile; the casual twist on the usual posed picture feels perfect for this age.
Photo: HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark

--It was Norway's turn for a parliament opening last week, including King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon in full uniformed splendor and Queen Sonja in black and white.
Photo: Stortinget

--Norway's princess crew doesn't attend the parliament opening, but Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise both joined Queen Sonja later in the week for the opening of a new exhibition at the Queen Sonja Art Stable. And shortly thereafter, Märtha Louise's return to competitive showjumping landed her in a cast, yikes. [ParisMatch, Instagram]

--Looks like Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg's divorce might be getting messy. Yikes indeed. [Telegraph]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: QEII is getting back to business (with an assist from Princess Anne) - and she's making one big change for the upcoming Remembrance Sunday ceremony, a change I'm honestly glad to see.

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

13 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Queen Letizia at National Day

I was expecting something low key from Queen Letizia for Spain's National Day, but when she stepped out with the fam for yesterday's events, she managed to pull off a most surprising addition to her wardrobe: a brooch. A brooch! On Letizia! Mark this day on the calendar.

Infanta Sofia (in Pili Carrera), the Princess of Asturias (in Carolina Herrera), King Felipe, and Queen Letizia on National Day.
House of HM the King
It's not just that Letizia wore a brooch; it's that she wore just about the most classic brooch you can get and she wore it in the most standard way. Knowing how she loves to put her own spin on things, I found the traditional look to be the most surprising thing of all.

House of HM the King
The brooch is a Spanish royal heirloom last worn by Queen Sofia. This type of design - a large pearl surrounded by diamonds with a pearl pendant - can be found in strikingly similar models in multiple royal vaults, including the British collection. Again, classic and traditional as can be. The diamond and Australian pearl earrings she paired with it have been worn many times.

Embed from Getty Images
The jacket and skirt are from Felipe Varela. They're also right along those classic/traditional lines. In fact, I'm getting strong flashbacks to Queen Elizabeth II in the 1940s and 50s. Letizia would fit right in on the set of The Crown in this ensemble. And that's not a bad thing, because there's no better choice for a brooch showcase than an outfit with a little QEII vibe. She's chosen well. A+!

12 October 2017

Royal Dresses of the Day: Mary and Kate Try Temperley Lace

Psst: No Tiara Thursday today. (I know, I know.) (I did update yesterday's post with a second tiara at the state banquet, if you didn't catch that.)

This week has given us double the lace and double the Temperley London. Which is either an extremely unfortunate coincidence or the greatest thing ever, but you'll be the judge of that:

Embed from Getty Images
The Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception at Buckingham Palace for World Mental Health Day on Tuesday.
Oh, did you think Mette-Marit was the only one out there having some old-timey fun?! No, no. Kate can party like it's 1899, too.
Temperley London Eclipse corded lace midi dress
Actually, I kinda like this. Not so much in love with the dark tie details, is the thing.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary visited a contemporary art museum during their official visit to Japan.
Kongehuset
Temperley lace with a neck tie, take two! The unexpected choice of a light blue shoe - they're properly light blue, not just looking that way because of this blue pic - makes the whole thing for me. So much more interesting than another nude pump, or black or whatever. Down With Default Neutrals: it's my new favorite crusade.
Temperley London Berry Lace Dress

11 October 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Queen Máxima in Portugal

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima began their state visit to Portugal yesterday, including a state banquet in the evening.
Embed from Getty Images
Straight off of her latest production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, it's Máxima in all out MAX mode! This is some dress, huh? If anyone ever invites her to an enchanted woodland state banquet, she's all set. The gown is Jan Taminiau (of course) and while she has worn it for a previous private event, this is its big public debut. Balancing out that egg-sized gemstone around her neck, she chose the Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara, a relatively small diadem from the Dutch collection.

Embed from Getty Images
I love this ensemble more than I thought it was possible to love a shiny jade thing, but I will say this: that delicate top is not at all up to the task of managing the weight of the large golden collar and sash. She's falling down on one side.

presidencia.pt screencap
Speaking of sashes and collars (pause for a brief Sash Nerd moment), both Wax and Máx received the Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. The President received the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Most of the orders in regular use don't have you wear the collar AND the sash at the same time, but they all have their own rules. It's just a lot of stuff, both worn at once.

presidencia.pt screencap
Prior to the state banquet, they held the official welcome ceremony. This is a new Natan dress for Máxima, but you could've fooled me. All these blush/beige outfits with the big hats are starting to blend together, in spite of my usual affection for a soft pink.

And prior to the prior to, the couple arrived the evening before in Lisbon. Máxima was wearing some kind of giant bug thing, which frankly feels like a personal insult. If you require a visual for this world of NOPE, you can click here. I'll remain here, choosing to think about absolutely anything else instead.

UPDATE: A bonus tiara! As often happens when royals come to visit, the Duke and Duchess of Braganza were invited to the banquet. (The Duke is the head of the House of Braganza and claimant to the Portuguese throne.) The Duchess really went for it, wearing Queen Amélie's Diamond Tiara, also known as the Dom Luís Diadem. That's her big gun, very rarely used. Her diamond choker, another Braganza heirloom, can also be worn as a tiara.
The Duchess of Braganza at the state banquet.
NOS screencap

10 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: An Instagram Grab Bag

Here comes a grab bag straight from the world of royal Instagram, an assortment of outfits ranging from interesting!, to uh..."interesting":

Queen Rania attended Amman fashion week.
Instagram/@queenrania
Did she miss my rants about SHOOTIES? Is that what this is about? Otherwise, it's fashion week, and Queen Rania's gonna Queen Rania. (My caps lock-required term encompasses shooties, booties, or whatever you want to call them, by the way - as long as they're worn with a shorter skirt or pant in the stumpiest of ways.)

Crown Princess Mette-Marit with medalists from Eurosurf 2017.
Instagram/@crownprincessmm
Are we sure that Mette-Marit isn't pulling off the world's most elaborate Little House on the Prairie cosplay? You can't really be sure, can you.
Bijou heart-print dress with Victorian-inspired details, from Ganni (per Heaven)
MyTheresa

Go ahead and yell at me that it's NOT a "prairie dress", and I just don't understand TRENDS (as some of you always do when this topic arises), but listen, it's definitely also a long cosplay con.

Greece's Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana attended the One Greece 2017 Sydney Gala Dinner in Australia.
Instagram/@tatianablatnik
Let's end this with a reason to use your caps lock powers for good, because GASP and OOHHHHHH! Tatiana's relationship with Greek designer Celia Kritharioti just keeps going from strength to strength, and those strengths now include capes and I LOVE.

09 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 9: A Wedding Watch, a Tiara Watch

Weddings and tiaras, great way to start the week:

--Wedding Watch: Prince Philip of Serbia married Danica Marinkovic in Belgrade this weekend. Philip is the son of Crown Prince Alexander and the grandson of Peter II, the last King of Yugoslavia. The bride wore a wedding gown from Serbian designer (and regular royal favorite) Roksanda Ilincic. Guests at the wedding included Queen Sofia, Crown Princess Victoria, and Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg. More photos can be found here and here; a video of guest arrivals is here. [Metro, Gala, YouTube]
Embed from Getty Images

--Tiara Watch: The Sultan of Brunei has been celebrating his Golden Jubilee with a series of lavish celebrations. His 50 years on the throne put him second only to Elizabeth II on the list of longest-reigning current monarchs. The Earl and Countess of Wessex were sent to represent QEII at the festivities, and they've packed in a full working visit while they're on location. I wish I could bring you more - there was a banquet with tiaras - but some links will have to suffice: the Countess of Wessex Blog has full coverage (state banquet here), Go Fug Yourself also had some nice shots of Sophie this week, and there are some general looks around the big banquet here. Sophie wore the Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara to the banquet.
The Wessex couple at the banquet. See full video here.

--Princess Benedikte wore a berry brooch good enough to eat as she opened an exhibition on Danish tailor Holger Blom. The designer did a lot of work for Queen Ingrid, and one of her gowns is on display. [Billed-Bladet, TV2]
Queen Ingrid's Holger Blom dress on display.
TV2 Østjylland screencap

--And finally, I chimed in over at Luxarazzi with a little wish list of grand ducal outfits I'd like to see the Luxembourg ladies trade - because they love to swap clothes so often, Luxarazzi's on volume 10 of their clothes-trading catalog.


Coming up this week: Bits and bobs from Norway, Greece, Denmark, and others...


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

06 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: A Swedish Catch Up

We have some recent stuff from the Swedish royal ladies, but first, one that I meant to post about some time ago, and then my attention got predictably dragged elsewhere...

The Swedish royal family attended their annual Sweden Dinner in September.
Kungahuset.se
I think evidence of a bright purple choir robe in action should be documented here, don't you? Queen Silvia's dress is a repeat from Yuki (designer Gnyuki Torimaru). He's known for cutting in a circle and creating sculptural designs with draping from there, which can either end up as a wonder of construction or as...well, as a bright purple choir robe. Or both. Take your pick.

This appearance also needs to be documented here because Queen Silvia wore a new (I believe) pearl necklace with an amethyst centerpiece, and anything involving new amethysts needs its day in the sun. I don't really know what's going on with the shape of that centerpiece, okay, but there it is.

And now to the week at hand:

Crown Princess Victoria attended the opening of the Swedish Church meetings at Uppsala Cathedral on Tuesday.
Embed from Getty Images
This feels like a refreshing color change, no? Very professional. And even a hat (mmm...hat-ish object) to finish out our hat-tastic week. (No fan am I of these not-hat hats, but in this case, it fits the occasion just right.)

Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine were in New York for the World Childhood Foundation, including a gala on Monday.
Embed from Getty Images
Is that a ruffle on the edge of Princess Madeleine's sleeves, or is she being followed around by a vaguely sinister aura? Better award some pre-Halloween bonus points, just in case.

Crown Princess Victoria in Rodebjer, Queen Silvia in Alexis, Princess Madeleine in Self-Portrait (per UFO No More)

05 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Bedford/Tavistock Amethyst Tiara

The Bedford/Tavistock Amethyst Tiara
This tiara tends to be referred to by either the Bedford or Tavistock names; the Marquess of Tavistock is the courtesy title for the heir to the Duke of Bedford, so both ultimately refer to the same family, the Russells. The tiara's largest oval Siberian amethyst was set into a diamond honeysuckle motif surround around 1810. That piece later became the center of this tiara, which adds six more oval amethyst stones of graduated size and diamond vine leaves to either side. In his book Tiaras: Past and Present, Geoffrey Munn highlights the cleverness of adding vine leaves to the grape stones, noting that "the word 'amethyst' derives from the Greek amethustos, literally meaning 'not drunken', referring to the belief that an amethyst placed in a glass of wine would allow one to drink without fear of intoxication." (You gotta love a tiara that comes with a built-in wink.)

Lydia, Duchess of Bedford, wearing the tiara and necklace in the 1950s
The tiara has an accompanying amethyst necklace featuring large amethyst stones in diamond surrounds and an amethyst pendant. This type of simple necklace design is a favorite in parures of colored stones. (The Bavarian royal family had a similar amethyst necklace and earrings, a set they auctioned in 2013.)

The amethyst bracelet
Betteridge
There was also an amethyst bracelet, a hinged bangle with three large oval amethysts and approximately 10 carats of diamonds in a leaf and flower design, set in silver and gold and made around 1890. This piece came up for sale in 2009. The bracelet belonged to Mary Russell, Duchess of Bedford (1865-1937), the wife of the 11th Duke. She was a fascinating figure, a vocal suffragette and noted ornithologist who founded four hospitals and decided to take up flying at the age of 63. That passion for aviation ultimately led to her death in a plane crash at sea in 1937.

The tiara is still with the family. It was displayed earlier this year alongside their larger tiara, the Bedford Floral Tiara, in an exhibition for Chaumet in Beijing. The Bedford Floral Tiara is a Fossin design commissioned in 1830 from Chaumet. Both can be seen glittering away at the exhibition in the Instagram video above.

Nicole, Duchess of Bedford at the State Opening of Parliament in 1969 (left, just behind the row of entering ladies of the royal family)
Good amethyst tiaras seem hard to come by (unfortunately, says this ardent fan), but I think this one cracks the code of a great amethyst tiara design. The purple stones are large, they look good enough to eat, and they're nicely complemented by the floral diamond motifs. As a matter of fact, it may just be my current amethyst favorite. 

Is this an amethyst fave for you, too?

04 October 2017

Royal Hats of the Day: Danish Royals at the Opening of Parliament

A continuation of our hat-tastic royal week, right this way...

Yesterday was Denmark's turn on the merry-go-round of parliament openings. Members of the royal family - Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim, Princess Mary, and Princess Benedikte - were present to observe the proceedings (no speech from the throne here, nope). Hats in place and ready to be evaluated:

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
I am so interested in Crown Princess Mary's selection of purple accessories - a repeated purple Jane Taylor pillbox with a purple purse - to go with this blue-ish Claes Iverson coat. (The coat's a repeat from the Belgian state visit.) I find am now very personally invested in purple as the new neutral go-to.

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
Princess Benedikte sported a towering pile of plain hat bases, and she made it work because she is Benedikte and this is her superpower.

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
Look at that tilting topper and then look at Princess Marie, because do you think that her hat should've chosen either the net or the flower? I do, but I don't know which one I'd pick. I love her in a brimmed hat anyway, and I extra-approve of a hat that can cover the eyes at an event like this. You know catching a shot of the royal guests mid-blink and calling it a nap is a tradition.

For the pièce de résistance...Queen Margrethe wearing her trademark Teletubby hat! This hat gets a little sillier every time she wears it, which is how I've come to grow rather fond of this strange little chapeau. Keep on keeping on, Your Maj.

See videos of the royal arrival here and here.

03 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: The Countess of Wessex Hats Up

It feels like it's been too long since we saw the British royals in Special Occasion Mode. Hats and the lot, you know. I suppose it hasn't actually been that long and you have to take the Queen out of the equation, because hats and the lot is her Permanent Mode, but still. What I'm trying to say here is that I'm delighted to see that Sophie hatted up nice and proper last week.

The Countess of Wessex attended the Headley Court Farewell Parade on Friday.
Embed from Getty Images
You know this is Special Occasion Mode because it's a repeat from a Very Special Occasion: QEII's 90th birthday service in 2016.

Royal Family
This is such a Sophie classic. It's two of her favorite designers, a bespoke Suzannah coat dress in a sleek silhouette with a Jane Taylor hat and a sweeping updo. She loves a midi length, and this one is careful not to overwhelm. Chic, I say.

The "Sophie" Wrap Coat Dress from Suzannah
Only fitting they named the design after her.

02 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 2: Family Business

It's all in the family this week. (And every week, but you know.)

--A new round of family photos came out this week from the Dutch royal house. The new pictures of Queen Máxima and the three Dutch princesses were taken on the occasion of King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday. Kinda fierce, if you ask me.
RVD / Erwin Olaf

--Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary also highlighted family this week, bringing along all four of their children to officially open Lego House. [JV]

--Sweden, too: Crown Princess Victoria was joined by Princess Estelle for a visit to a research laboratory, and Estelle joined Prince Daniel for a video for the Generation Pep organization. [Facebook]
Kungahuset.se

--Over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen has started to emerge from her Balmoral break with an engagement in Aberdeen (solo, so there goes my little theme here).

--And finally, of general interest for this group, I think: Yves Saint Laurent has just opened a museum in Paris. [Harper's Bazaar]


Coming up this week: A countess out and about, and more...


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