27 March 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: March 27

This week, Queen Margrethe opened a new exhibition of her dresses, put on in honor of her 75th birthday (coming up in April, have I reminded you of that often enough?).
You can see a few of the outfits on display in this gallery, including her wedding gown (minus the front lace panel and the daisy brooch), the gorgeous floral print gown she wore under a pink coat for Fred and Mary's wedding, and that floral rain coat she so cheerily and so memorably wears. (The fact that a rain reign coat makes the cut for an exhibit alongside couture gowns is everything I love about Queen Margrethe in a nutshell, by the way.)

No time like the present, then, to get back to our flashbacks to her 2010 birthday celebrations and cover one of my favorite gowns from her current rotation:
This apple green dress was created for the gala performance on the first night of those 2010 celebrations. I've been working my way through Dronningens Kjoler by Katia Johansen, which is all about her fabulous clothes and includes the Queen's own thoughts on some of the creations she's worn throughout her years; according to the book, this color was selected specifically because it would pop against the red and gold inside the theater. (And that it did, you can see video of her arrival and seating here).
Created by Birgitte Thaulow, Margrethe's current favorite designer, the gown is made from heavy silk zibeline bought by the Queen in London. It features a square neckline, elbow-length sleeves, and a shape created by an interesting gathering of pleats to a central sash. For the birthday celebrations, she played off the green and wore the tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings from the Danish Emerald Parure, part of the crown jewels. The silhouette is theatrical enough to suit this drama queen, but the color gives it a new glow. And it has enough interest to stand on its own while still being plain enough to work with all sorts of orders and jewels.
Margrethe's big on repeating gowns, so of course we've seen this one several times. She wore it to Crown Princess Victoria's wedding just a few months later, in 2010 (seen above), and this is my favorite appearance so far. The green is so fresh, it looks amazing with the lightness of the pearl jewelry (the Pearl Poire Tiara and its assembled parure). She's also worn the dress with the emeralds again for the New Year's Court gala in 2011 and 2014.
The dress now has its own place in history, with a starring role in a portrait by Mikael Melbye which was placed on stamps to celebrate her ruby jubilee. The artist wanted a monochromatic look in order to focus the painting on her expression, so the green dress was painted in silver. It works in silver, it works in green, and I wouldn't mind it if she had a few run up in every other color of the rainbow. When it works, it works.

Photos: via Getty Images/DR

26 March 2015

Tiara Thursday: Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara

Our coverage of the Dutch state visit to Denmark last week was missing a tiara! Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, Queen Margrethe's first cousin, attended the state banquet but apparently entered separately, so we didn't get a great look at her. But she was there, and she was wearing this tiara:
Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara
Set in gold and silver and dating from latter half of the 1800s, it includes small diamond designs between five large scrolling diamond elements, each with a sapphire at the center. The sapphires can be swapped out for turquoise stones. The tiara belonged to Princess Thyra of Denmark (1880-1945), who was the daughter of King Frederik VIII and Queen Louise. Thyra never married and had no children, and she left the tiara to her niece, Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark (1912-1995).
Thyra (left), Caroline-Mathilde (right)
Caroline-Mathilde was married to Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark, the second son of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. (Had history gone differently, Knud could have been the King of Denmark one day. He was next in line to his older brother, Frederik IX, who had only daughters at a time when women couldn't inherit the throne. But the law was changed in 1953, and a young future Queen Margrethe and her sisters jumped ahead of him in line.) The couple had three children, and this tiara went to their only daughter, Princess Elisabeth. Princess Elisabeth is still in the line of succession for the Danish throne, and she sometimes attends official engagements. When a tiara is required, this is her constant favorite.
It really does remind you of a blue version of the Edward VII Ruby Tiara in Sweden, doesn't it? Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara has a lower profile and five larger elements instead of three, so it feels a little more balanced. It also seems easier to wear with a modern hairstyle (the Swedish ruby is truly made for the large Edwardian 'dos popular when it was created), although when worn tilted back (as it is above), it can practically disappear. Nevertheless, I'm always happy to see Princess Elisabeth out and about and to see this one in action.

Where does this rank on your list of favorite sapphire tiaras?

Photos: Bodilbinner/DR/Sean Gallup via Getty Images

Royal Closet Raid of the Day: March 26

Princess Eugenie celebrated her 25th birthday this week (getting a special Happy Birthday from her dad and the palace along the way), so I set out the find the best thing she's ever worn. And then I found it, and then I decided that I wish I had one for my own, and HERE WE ARE, it's time for another royal closet raid.
This is it, right? Best thing she's ever worn, I mean. This is a Vivienne Westwood gown, worn to the dinner the night before the Cambridges got hitched. She should live her life in Westwood, because this does all the right things for her. And it would do some right things for me too...hint hint.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

25 March 2015

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: March 25

In today's grab bag: a visit that rolls on, a visit that does not, and also Robocop.

Felipe and Letizia had already headed out for the start of their first outgoing state visit to their neighbors in France when news of the tragic Germanwings plane crash broke.
After landing, they jointly decided with President Hollande to cancel the state visit, and will reschedule in the future. They did spend the day in Paris and visited the crisis center for the crash.
Élysée Palace
It was definitely the right thing to do, and since we won't be focusing on the French state visit as I had planned to do today, we'll proceed with other goings on.

Elsewhere around the globe, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel embarked on day 2 of their visit to South Korea. She obviously had her outfits planned prior to the trip, but I did laugh when I saw that there wasn't any black and any possibility for see-through anywhere among them. Fool me once...etc.
Engagements for the day included paying respects at the Seoul National Cemetery (above) and meeting the President (below). This is the Fadi El Khoury coat she wore to the royal wedding in Luxembourg in 2012, and I guess I'm still waiting for it to be styled in just the right way. Still a bit meh for me, though I can't deny she's looking pretty boss at the head of the dark suit crew there.
She was also sporting a floral headpiece, flower earrings from Kreuger Jewellery, a blouse with a bow and a necklace with stars slung on top, and a repeated By Malene Birger skirt with lace panels. It's a lot going on, despite the similar color palette.
She simplified things a bit for a meeting with the Prime Minister (above), and now we're talking. This is the Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore to Princess Leonore's christening (and which was worn by Princess Marie-Chantal as well), and it gets an A+ from me.
Dolce & Gabbana dress, By Malene Birger skirt (worn under the coat), and Kreuger Jewellery earrings

And finally, we check in with Queen Robocop, who is still hobbling around doing her Mathilde thing (in this case, visiting RTBF studio last week with King Philippe).
This coat is sporting a pastel, patterned, abstract take on houndstooth, and I thought it was pretty cute overall. It even kinda sorta matches her crutches, for heaven's sake. (And the only one who would take more care to match her outfit to her crutches would be our friend Máxima, you know.)
And with an updo, I bid you adieu.

Photos: via Getty Images and Élysée as indicated; Net-a-porter, By Malene Birger, Kreuger Jewellery

24 March 2015

Royal Outfits of the Day: March 24

It's time to spend a little quality time with Crown Princess Victoria, my friends.
Last week, she presented awards at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, which is another of those events for the Swedish royals where they do the whole gown + orders thing, but stop just short of a tiara (boo). And she was practically crying out to put a tiara on, donning this repeated Jenny Packham crystal headpiece. I do appreciate the effort, V.
Pronovias gown and Jenny Packham headpiece
As for the gown, it's a repeated number that turns out to be from Pronovias. If I recall correctly, it got a resounding meh from the peanut gallery the last time we saw it, but I'm sticking to my guns: I love it! Enough lace to be delicate, not enough to aggravate my ongoing case of lace fatigue. Gorgeous. (Click here for some more pics.)

Currently, she and Daniel are in South Korea for an official visit.
And OMG SHE WORE HER HAIR DOWN THIS IS BIG PEOPLE. It's seriously been a few years since we've seen her with her hair down in public, and as someone who is on Team Updo but is even more firmly on Team Variety, I am thrilled to see it. Nothing can bring this great moment down!
Having learned her lesson, that even black clothes can be see-through if you add enough flash photography, she was well and truly covered up for their next event.

Victoria's black blouse on arrival did perk my interest, though (for reasons other than transparency mishaps, okay). Crown Princess Mary, with the rest of the Danish royal family, attended the funeral of a close friend of Queen Margrethe's last week. Funeral wear is beyond critique as far as I'm concerned, but I'm just wondering...
...you think we could get the Duchess of Cambridge to don her black dress with the white Peter Pan collar this week so we could call it a hat trick?

Photos: via Twitter and Getty Images as indicated, Pronovias, Jenny Packham

23 March 2015

Royal Visit of the Day: March 23

I think Willem-Alexander has found his signature THE KING HAS ARRIVED pose.
Following their cheery Danish state visit last week, the Dutch King and Queen made a two day stop in Germany for an official visit before heading home. With arrival on her own home turf so close she could smell it, Máxima returned to her main man Natan for a couple more outfits.
The first one was possibly a contest to see how many different colors and fabrics could fit in one ensemble. I hope the prize was a good one.
Day two was all about the accessories, a sea of red as far as the eye can see with only a pair of snazzy glasses for viewing the eclipse to break it up. And also a bug on her shoulder, can't forget that.
The accessories and their overdose of red were distracting me from what was really kind of a lovely dress underneath. You can't go wrong with a basic red dress, and this one has an extra wave of fabric to add some interest.

Basic with distractions continued to be the theme as the Dutch couple arrived home and headed off to a concert engagement. No rest for the wicked, or something like that, eh?
I suppose it's possible that Máx felt at risk for falling in a canal or something and needed to bring her floaties along just in case. I mean, it was an exhausting few days. Safety first.
But once again, matters were drastically improved when the basics underneath were allowed to stand on their own.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

22 March 2015

Sunday Tidbits for March 22: Future Plans, Other News, and Puppies

Bonus dog tidbits at the end for you. But first, some items to put on your royal watching calendar (you have one, right? Of course you do):

 --We have official details on the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist! The festivities kick off on Friday, June 12, with a private dinner for guests. The wedding itself will be on Saturday, June 13 at 4:30 p.m. CET in the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace of Stockholm followed by a dinner and dance. The newlyweds will follow their ceremony with a carriage ride through Stockholm. This time indicates a full white tie wedding with tiaras for all. Can you see me doing my happy dance?! [Kungahuset]
Erika Gerdemark, kungahuset.se

--And while we're planning big shindigs, the guest list for Queen Margrethe's April birthday celebrations is shaping up. The Swedish royal family have added the event to their calendars with King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, and Prince Daniel traveling to Denmark for the fun. And in his state banquet speech this week, King Willem-Alexander confirmed that he and Queen Máxima will also be present.

--Ooh, this year's summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace looks delicious: A Royal Welcome focuses on official visits to the palace (state visits, garden parties, etc.), including the opportunity for visitors to enter through the grand entrance and see the place set up as it would be for a state banquet, plus a selection of the Queen's gowns and JEWELS. Obviously, I expect full reports from any attendees. [Telegraph]

--They also have an exhibit that will be of interest to all of our floral-oriented folks: Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden is at the Queen's Gallery from now until October. [Telegraph]

--Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel teamed up this week for the presentation of the first Prince Friso Engineering Award. [Paris Match]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen got another new brooch, and I covered a very frequently requested jewel (and one of my favorites from her collection).

--Backtrack for a second to that Norway/Latvia state banquet and Crown Princess Mette-Marit's dress, which got sadly washed out in the photos. A little more info: It's by Norwegian designer Leila Hafzi, known for sustainable and ethical practices, and includes a chiffon overlay and a lace underlay. She uses lace made by a project in Bangladesh that helps provide a source of income for the women involved in the craft. In other words, completely up M-M's alley. [Instagram]

--As promised, some dog treats (that's not quite right...) for you: Mette-Marit brought her dog, Muffins Kråkebolle, with her to a Red Cross event at a nursing home this week. [VG; also see this video from MSN]

--And finally, corgis racing at the Barkingham Palace Gold Cup (I mean, stop it) have determined that Baby Cambridge will be a girl named Alexandra. So that's all sorted, then. [YouTube]

We have lots coming up in the next week, including catch ups with Victoria and Mathilde, the ongoing adventures of Wax and Max, and Felipe and Letizia's first outgoing state visit. Stay tuned!

20 March 2015

British Royal Outfits of the Day: March 20 (Updated)

While I've been in a state visit coma, assorted Windsors have been doing their thing. Time to play catch up, y'all!
Will and Kate made their annual St. Patrick's Day visit to the Irish Guards, an event more about shamrocks and giant dogs and uniforms with frock coats than about other clothes.
But since "sartorial" is right in the name of the blog and all, I will duly report that Kate was in a repeated Lock & Co. hat and a new Catherine Walker coat. All brown, and while that is by its very nature not the most exciting of colors, this was quite elegant and she looked great.
The Duchess had another engagement this week too, for which she wore a new ASOS maternity dress and a repeated black coat with ruffle trim (by her mysterious "independent dressmaker," apparently).
And this was supremely cute. Polka dots are the best. I hope she went home and twirled, like this model's apparently about to do. Polka dots deserve a twirl.

Chaz and Cams embarked on their U.S. visit, which kicked off with a few meetings (oh hello there President Obama, Uncle Joe), a bit of sight seeing, and some general tourist schmoozing.
This geometric trim deal is a great outfit on the Duchess of Cornwall, no? It's from Bruce Oldfield. It didn't look quite so clean with her scarf and that fur-trimmed black hat she's been living in of late, so we don't have to look at those pics. Problem solved.
This evening reception dress is also Oldfield, but I'm mostly interested in the fact that she's rocking a cape and a selection from her magnificent collection of pearl chokers. (Those things would pull my attention in almost every situation, to be fair.)

And finally we have Prince Harry, who launched Walking With The Wounded's trek around Britain this week. Harry's got a lot going on now, what with leaving the army and all that, but I think we can all agree that the most important thing is that he continues to look really good in casual gear. #priorities

P.S.: Since we're catching up with the Windsors, let me tell you that it has been a jolly week at the Jewel Vault too. Highlights: William and QEII had a little Take Your Grandson to Work Day (for which she wore a Cambridge emerald brooch just to give those of us on the Brooch Identification Squad a chuckle), and Her Maj got a canine guard of honor, which is THE BEST.

Update: Here's Cams on the last day of the U.S. trip.
She made some new friends in Kentucky in an outfit from Dior (oh la la) and the newest addition to her pearl choker collection, one with an Art Deco sapphire clasp.
And here is an evening engagement during the trip that I missed (per the caption, it's the International Conservation Caucus Foundation Gala where Charles was presented with the ICCF Teddy Roosevelt Award for Exceptional Leadership in Conservation, March 19):
And how could I miss this one - that's my very favorite of Camilla's pearl chokers! Oh, that thing makes me happy every time I see it. So glad she brought that to the U.S. with her.

Photos: Via Getty Images as indicated, ASOS

19 March 2015

State Visit and Tiara Watch of the Day (Part 2!): March 19

The state visit fun continues, and we shall forgo our usual tiara feature in favor of another lengthy state visit recap! (Gotta feast while you can, right? One never knows when the famine will return.)

First up, day two of the Danish/Dutch state visit, featuring King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima out and about with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.
Máxima is a tailored Indiana Jones and Mary is a von Trapp on the lam and they are ready for an ADVENTURE and is it too much to ask that they take me with them??? I'm too busy plotting a movie staring these two as renegade explorers on a high stakes quest to bother complaining about the lack of color on hand here.
Máx conquered the wild Danish frontier in a Claes Iversen camel coat with LK Bennett shoes and a Fabienne Delvigne fedora. Mary rode alongside in a fedora of her own with a gray cape/poncho/thing which I need in the worst way and her tall taupe Valentino boots which I also need in the worst way. The gentlemen were also present. They wore suits.

Hang on, got an idea for that movie plot: Máxima Jones and The Quest for the Return Dinner Tiaras.
Yeah, no tiaras for us at last night's event. But Máxima continued to hit up that Dutch/Danish connection with another Claes Iversen design, the best one of the trip (and I say that as someone who doesn't particularly care for orange). She added a nice big diamond collet necklace, because this is MAX we're talking about, but the dress sparkled on its own.
Máx's outfit is an easy thumbs up, but I can't say the same for Mary's repeated empire waist ruffled black thing. The big gold Portuguese earrings are the only thing I'm enthusiastic about here, so I give it a meh overall.
Other things I'm not particularly feeling: Princess Marie's ensemble. The geometric sparklies are reading very dated to me on the top here. (For a video with Marie in full plus other attendees like Princess Benedikte and Princess Elisabeth, click here.)
Queen Margrethe is also not rousing my enthusiasm - that color is...not a favorite - but HOLD UP is Henrik really wearing a purple tux jacket or is that the light? Doesn't matter, he WINS. Game over.

Across the sea, another state visit was in progress - and this one did take care of our tiara needs. Travel with me to Norway...
...where the President of Latvia just arrived yesterday for a state visit. Mette-Marit at the welcome ceremony is turning me into one of those people that gets twitchy about dress vs. coat length with her Valentino ruffle overload. Also, Sonja's hat is...interesting.
Mette-Marit's Valentino coat and dress
The evening state banquet delivered our tiara watch for the day. The Latvian president somewhat awkwardly sported his Norwegian order (there's a reason the riband isn't usually worn with black tie, and this is it right here), and the royal family wore their Latvian orders, and they all basically look the same unless you squint.
This is another of Queen Sonja's frequent repeats, and it is...also interesting. Gotta do something with your fabric scraps, I suppose. Anyway, she wore the big version of Queen Maud's Pearl and Diamond Tiara. More importantly, Mette-Marit wore a new white dress with the Amethyst Necklace Tiara and the necklace (click here for more)!!
It's like she knew there weren't going to be any tiaras in Denmark, and she threw us a bone by leaving Ye Olde Diamond Daisy Tiara at home for a change. Bless.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, Billed Bladet video, Latvia President, Valentino

17 March 2015

State Visit and Tiara Watch of the Day: March 18

HELLOOOOOO! We're heeeere!
With a flurry of kisses and other assorted warm greetings, the Dutch state visit to Denmark is off and running, and it's giving me such warm fuzzies, I'm throwing Wednesday's post up for a late Tuesday treat. This is a long one, might take you to Wednesday to read it anyway.
Queen Margrethe, looking jaunty with a feather in her cap, brought the whole fam damily out to greet her godson at the airport: Prince Henrik, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, and Princess Benedikte and Prince Richard. The gentlemen wore suits...but wait, we even have some additional comments on that, looks like some of the Danish party opted for orange ties to greet their Orange visitors and King Willem-Alexander went for light blue, the color of Denmark's Order of the Elephant. Points for all that.
Máxima opted for a spacious coat in bedazzled gray with a split sleeve that I thought Empress Michiko had trademarked. It won't go down as a personal favorite for me, but it is clever in one respect: it's a design by Claes Iversen, a Danish-born designer operating out of the Netherlands. Points for that, I say again.
Obviously, the other stand out for me from the arrivals was the purple touches - a bit in Marie's hat, but primarily on Mary. A repeated pill box hat and purple gloves, a tribute to the queen of coordinated colored gloves. POINTS FOR PURPLE.
Meanwhile, back in Máx land, underneath her big coat she was wearing a sapphire and diamond brooch (plus sapphire and diamond earrings). Which was pretty much just one big preview for the day's main event, the state banquet. TIARA TIME! Ignore the bored looks in this screencap, this stuff is exciting, dang it.
Our two queens were a pleasant inverse of each other, a light blue gown for Margrethe with her darker blue Order of the Netherlands Lion sash, and a darker blue gown (a very familiar one) for Máxima with her newly-awarded light blue Order of the Elephant. Each queen brought something special to this special state visit in her own way. (Pro tip before I dig in here: If we've covered the tiara in depth in the past - and we have, with all of these - the name will be linked, always!)
Queen Margrethe repeats gowns so often, a new one (which this is) is a rare treat. And of course she wore her Pearl Poire Tiara, because it was King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia's wedding gift to his daughter Louise, who was marrying Prince Frederik of the Netherlands.
A Dutch connection on one of her most important jewel options was certainly a predictable choice, but no less significant. (Important note, after several questions about this: No, she is not missing any pearls in her tiara. The pearls are pendants within the arches and they move a fair amount as Queen Margrethe does. Some of them are just swinging slightly behind the framework in any given photo.)
Queen Máxima wore the Jan Taminiau gown that she wore underneath a cape for her husband's inauguration, which is really a treat as I thought that magnificent ensemble might be retired for good (you know, because of history and mic dropping and whatnot).
I love it just as much now as I did then, and her sapphire and diamond accessories are still the perfect touch.
Interestingly, while she had the Dutch Sapphire Tiara slightly altered for the inauguration to lower the center section for a more even top line, it's now reverted to the taller top. Flexibility! Glorious.
In the face of all that specialness, you'll have to forgive me for being a wee bit let down by Mary's choices. This is the gown we just saw at the New Year's Court gala, and she's used only her wedding tiara (and not even with its pearls) with her aquamarine girandole earrings.  
My unattainable standards aside, this is another gown I'm glad to see without its cape, and I'm glad to see both her and Frederik in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
In another New Year's Court repeated gown (this one from 2014), we have Princess Marie in her diamond floral tiara, because what else?
Both she and Joachim were given a lower Dutch order (a house order), the Order of the Crown, as were Princess Benedikte and Prince Richard.
This is only a fleeting glance of the couple (better look in this gallery), but you can see Ben's a girl after my own heart, coordinating her orange with a lavender gown and sporting her own big gun tiara, the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Fringe Tiara.

Well, that's me off to delight in my tiara coma with a sigh and oh so many jumpy claps. Stay tuned as the state visit rolls on...

Photos: Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images, Billed-Bladet video, TV2 video, Michael Stub - Her Og Nu via Getty