06 May 2016

Tiara Thursday (on a Friday): The Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara

The Countess of Wessex started out her marriage with one tiara to wear, her diamond Wedding Tiara on loan from the Queen. Six years later, we finally saw her in a second tiara.
The Countess of Wessex wearing the Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara,
2015
Debuted in 2005, her second tiara includes a central oval aquamarine stone with a scrolling diamond design to either side. It was first noticed at the November enthronement celebrations for Prince Albert II of Monaco; she may have worn it the previous month for a banquet held for an official visit by King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway as well - since Sophie's appearances at state banquets and the like often go fairly undocumented, it's hard to say what she's worn.
Worn as a necklace,
2006
The tiara can be worn as a necklace in impressive fashion, and the Countess may also have used the aquamarine stone as a pendant on its own. It's most likely from G. Collins and Sons jewelers, which makes sense as they are the Queen's personal jewelers and their designs have been seen on multiple royal women. Sophie has also borrowed a few pieces from them, such as the necklace and earrings she wore to the pre-wedding dinner for William and Kate.
Carl Philip and Sofia's wedding, 2015
SVT
Given that the tiara is a modern design and that it has only been worn by the Countess of Wessex, it has usually been assumed to be her personal property. When she wore it to the 2015 wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden, however, the palace stated that her jewels were on loan from the Queen (as pointed out by Anna at the Countess of Wessex Blog). A curious statement, given that other pieces - her necklace, for example - were smaller and definitely modern. Yet another reminder, I suppose, that jewel ownership is a touchy question and one where confusion may be encouraged.
The Countess' second aquamarine tiara, the Five Aquamarine Tiara
Frankie Fouganthin via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Anyway, I've always liked her aquamarine necklace tiara. She has three at her disposal now, having added the Five Aquamarine Tiara in 2012. With two of her three tiaras in aqua, I'm assuming this is her favorite stone - but even if it isn't, it certainly is one that looks fantastic on her.

Which is your favorite Wessex tiara?

Psst: It's a two post day! Keep scrolling.

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 6

This is some easy, breezy, queenly elegance right here.
The King and Queen of Spain attended a dinner for the 40th anniversary of El Pais and the presentation of the Ortega y Gasset Journalism Awards last night.
No fuss, fabulous movement (do I NEED to tell you again how I feel about flippy dresses??). Simplicity kicked up for the evening with a dip at the back, dangly earrings, and some hot shoes. I love that she went for bronze in the accessories here. A+.
Dress from Spanish label Cortana

05 May 2016

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 5

(Note: Tiara Thursday will be up tomorrow.)

Oh look, someone's decided to play along with my Will we ever see it again? tour game. Not with items from the most recent India tour, but items from Royal Tours of Yore appeared yesterday as the Duchess of Cambridge did three engagements.

Kensington Palace
The first stop, at Hampton Court Palace for the opening of the Magic Garden children's play area, brought back a Michael Kors coat from the 2014 Australia tour. I find myself much better able to appreciate its kicky little flare without the hat it was originally worn with.

Kensington Palace
Underneath the coat and unveiled for the day's second engagement, a reception for the Anna Freud Centre, was the Roksanda Ilincic dress from way back on the 2011 tour. Lovely then, lovely now, lovely always, this dress.
Michael Kors coat, Roksanda Ilincic dress, Mappin & Webb earrings and pendant

One more repeat for the road! This pink Alexander McQueen from the Australia tour returned for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery to view the Vogue portrait exhibit, where two of those new photographs of Kate have been installed.
She also chose to repeat a necklace and earrings from Monica Vinader. Curious and possibly intentional timing here: in a new article at the Daily Mail site, the designer said of the first time Kate wore these pieces in 2014, "I knew nothing about it as my press team had lent them to her people and they’d told them to tell no one else in the company." Lent being the word everyone has picked up on - is the Duchess borrowing jewelry?! (Gasp! The horror!) (Nah, wouldn't be so unusual if she did.) Borrowing things to review while selections for an event are in the works is probably standard, with purchase to follow after the decision is made. A good reminder not to read too much into things, at least.
Alexander McQueen peplum dress, Monica Vinader Riva Diamond Cluster Drop Earrings and Diamond Cluster Bib Necklace, 18ct rose gold plated vermeil on sterling silver with pavé-set diamonds
But here we are, going on about the clothes and the jewels, and missing the day's real headline news: Kate REVEALED that the Cambridge family has a new member! A hamster. A hamster called Marvin. Don't tell Estelle.

04 May 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: King Carl Gustaf's Birthday Banquet, Part 2

We're looping back to King Carl Gustaf's big 70th birthday tiara bash this weekend, to take a closer look at a few of the guests we didn't spend much time with on the day itself. Big tiaras and bright dresses deserve proper attention, after all. Our Royal Fashion Awards, continued:

Swirliest Purple Dream
Queen Mathilde
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
I am not surprised that Mathilde has stuck to new Armani Privé outfits for big royal events, yet I am also surprised that this was the result. It's lacking in a bit of the structure we usually see from her Armani ensembles, and I kind of want a belt of some sort in there. It's a swirly purple princess dream of a dress anyway, and this is an excellent use of the Wolfers Necklace Tiara. If there was ever a tiara made for wearing with your hair down, this is it.
Armani Privé Spring 2016 runway (Vogue)
(I'm not sure the designer has officially been confirmed, but as ModeKoningin Mathilde also points out, the same fabric was used on the Armani Privé Spring 2016 runway. Mathilde's creation would have been bespoke.)

Best in Yacht Wear
Princess Benedikte
We saw this dress at Queen Margrethe's own birthday banquet last year, when I declared it Best in Beach Cover-Up Gravitas. Takes on a whole new meaning when one is descending from one's royal yacht on the way to the Royal Palace, doesn't it?
In 2015, for Queen Margrethe's birthday (DR)
For the Swedish birthday banquet, Benedikte wore Queen Sophia's Star and Pearl Tiara. I love this tiara, but it occurs to me that this is really a testament to Benedikte's tiara-wearing skillz. It's spiky and spaced out, and that's no easy combo to pull off. She's a pro.

Brightest Change of Pace
Princess Hisako of Takamado
Freed from the range of pastels often mandated for important tiara events at home, Hisako didn't just pick a color, she picked a COLOR. I don't know who else would pick acid green, and I don't know how else could pull it off quite so well. Bless her, she really committed to her bright palette for the whole day.
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
Curious tiara though, right? It's like your standard wreath tiara in bandeau form, but then it has ears. Huh.

Best in Tiara Power, Part 1
Hereditary Princess Sophie
Photo: Sofia Svanholm, used with permission
I love Liechtenstein's Habsburg Fringe Tiara (it is indeed the fringiest fringe that ever fringed), and I love Sophie's commitment to wearing it (it's not the only tiara she's ever worn, but it is the one we've seen her wear to every recent big royal event). She also has a commitment to wearing this dress, apparently - she wore it to the dinner before King Willem-Alexander's inauguration, which I think was the last big international tiara event she attended.

Best in Tiara Power, Part 2
Princess Beatrix
Also BRINGING IT: Beatrix in the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara! I'm ever so glad to know that her "retirement" doesn't mean that she's hung up the big guns for good. I wouldn't mind if she hung up this dress for good, but as long as I can convince myself that those are mini pizzas marching up the trim, it can stay.

Many thanks to Sofia for allowing use of her lovely photos! Check out her recap of the day here, and more photos here.

03 May 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: May 3

One of the most interesting things about the annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - fashion's prom night, basically, with celebs galore - is seeing how the evening's theme is interpreted. And, in many cases, how it was just not interpreted whatsoever. Last night's ball celebrated the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibition, predictably resulting in a whole lot of gowns clinging to the theme in metallics and not much else. (Here are all the looks. Give me Claire Danes in an actual light-up dress in "fiber optic woven organza" by Zac Posen any day. Where else could you wear that?!)

Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece attended the gala in 2001, when the exhibit was Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, and she stuck to the theme in the most indisputable way: she wore a Jackie dress.
She attended with her friend (and wedding gown designer) Valentino. This minty green one-shoulder satin gown with embellished hems appeared in a 1967/68 Valentino couture collection, and was worn by Jackie Kennedy during a visit to Cambodia in 1967; the gown was later worn by Marie-Chantal to this event. Another version was worn after that by Jennifer Lopez to the Oscars in 2003.
It was a dress on point for the evening, but also a dress just on point forever and always. The draping seems so easy, but it's really excellent craftsmanship and top-notch fabric at work, and the beading is a wonder. These days I often prefer those who go big or go home as my Met Gala bests (hello, glow-in-the-dark Cinderella gown), but there's always a gold star for those who handle the theme in the loveliest of fashions.

P.S.: Still in the Met mood? Last year we talked Diana at the gala!

Photos: via Getty Images, Valentino, AP video