20 November 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: November 20, Plus a Programming Note

The blog will return on Sunday with another round of tidbits!

I leave you with the latest in our series of new sovereign introductory visits - Felipe and Letizia visiting Italy yesterday. The repeated Varela suit is not too bad, though I'd take an evening stroll in Rome over it any day.

Photo: Franco Origlia/WireImage

19 November 2014

Tiara Watch of the Day: November 19

Tiaras always cheer me up. And YET...I'm feeling quite bored by last night's white tie official dinner held by the Swedish royal family. Hmmph. Perhaps Queen Máx can spare me some delicious Dutch cheese to go with my fine whine.

Links for galleries: Aftonbladet, Svenskdam, Expressen.
Okay. So let's break it down, one royal lady at a time. 

First up: Sofia Hellqvist, who sported a lined red lace gown by Tadashi Shoji. Colored lace is dubious to start, and - through no fault of her own - she's falling at the end of a long run of royal lace gowns. So this is not getting much love from me. She did not wear a tiara, which was to be expected since she's still in fiancée territory, but I was sad to see she didn't even get to practice tiara hair. You know I'm always on Team Updo to start with, but here I think it would have helped make up for the fact that she's the only one in the royal party without a little bling.

Next: Crown Princess Victoria. She repeated the long Escada gown she wore to the Dutch inauguration. It's definitely better with tiara and without the hat, and it probably sparkles something fierce, but it's a little blergh to stand on its own. She paired it with the Cut Steel Tiara, which is great and all - but I'm starting to miss the rest of the Swedish tiaras. It's been a long time since we've seen Victoria in anything but a cut steel piece. Wherefore art thou, Baden Fringe? Eh?

And finally, Queen Silvia, who took my best dressed for the night. Past outings of this dress include the Nobel Prize ceremony in 2010, where she masterfully paired this great green with the Leuchtenberg sapphires. I miss those luscious blues, even though the downsized Connaught Tiara is a more appropriate choice for the event.

Well, I did warn you about all the complaining. But I'll end on a hopeful note: Nobel festivities, less than a month away. Keep the fabulous tiara dreams alive.

Photos: Saks Fifth Avenue, Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images, Getty Images

18 November 2014

Royal Outfits of the Day: November 18

Queen Letizia and Queen Rania both have a tendency to go simple and businesslike with their work wear. Sometimes a little too simple for my tastes, but these two recent examples are hitting just the right level of simple chic in my eyes.

For her part, Letizia attended an awards ceremony yesterday.
I never thought the day would come, but she's picked a basic gray suit that I can actually get on board with! It's like seeing a unicorn in person. This is from Nina Ricci, not one of her usual designers, and the peplum and shoulder details are taking that basic gray and kicking it up several notches.
Nina Ricci suit, Malababa clutch
I could do without the bag, honestly, but I guess I'm just the sort that prefers to leave the geology out of my handbags.

Meanwhile, Queen Rania met with the Jordan River Foundation.
So very chic. A soft color, but with some added texture panels to wake it up a bit (I think she's in an added panel mood lately).
The dress is from Roksanda Ilincic, and has been previously worn on the red carpet. That's not a silhouette that works on many people, but on Rania, it's perfect. Simple chic, times two.

Photos:Carlos Alvarez via Getty Images, Nina Ricci, Malababa, Instagram, Roksanda Ilincic

17 November 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: November 17

I basically never get this dressed up for anything. So the fact that Máxima gets this dressed up to, uh, cut some cheese is delightful from the start.
Last week, Queen Máxima had a day of engagements including opening a new building for a cheese company.
This is half of an outfit we've seen on her before, last time pairing the gold top with trousers as per the Natan model (left, below) and this time pairing it with a burgundy pencil skirt and burgundy and gold accessories, including brooches by an Argentine designer. And while it does still have the air of the Mad Men maternity department (maybe she was just planning on sampling as much as possible at the cheese place - can't blame her for that), I do find the skirt to be an improvement.
The hat, were it an actual pillbox, would have also constituted an improvement. Alas...
It's more of a life preserver than a donut this time, wouldn't you say? It's a safety measure, guys, jeez.

Photos: RVD video, Natan, Noordhollands Dagblad video

16 November 2014

Sunday Tidbits for November 16: Royal Weddings, Royal Auction Results, Royal Etc.

Nothing like a Sunday of weddings and sparklies to get your week started on the right foot, right? Right.

--Royal Wedding Alert: Morocco has been celebrating the nuptials of Prince Moulay Rachid, brother of King Mohammed VI, and Oum Keltoum Boufares. The bride wore a rich green dress and veil for one ceremony followed by a white ensemble with tiara for another event. Sheikha Mozah was among the dignitaries in attendance. Some links for you: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Article and gallery. [YouTube and Hello]

--British Prince Update #1: Friday was Charles' birthday! This commemorative gallery features both penguins and awkward dancing pictures and I can't think of a better way to celebrate. [Express]

--British Prince Update #2: Harry, dressed in uniform, rescued a lady's hat which had blown off in the wind, because of course he did. [Express]

--British Prince Update #3: William stepped in for the Queen at an investiture on Friday and got to knight Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis. [British Monarchy Twitter]

--For your future viewing pleasure: Netflix is ordering a series based on Queen Elizabeth II called The Crown, debuting in 2016, and a biopic called Frederik's Young Years focusing on Crown Prince Frederik (spoiler alert: it's about his young years) is in the works in Denmark. [Deadline Hollywood, Hello]

--Breaking News: Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore a bright color. She and Haakon were hosting a dinner at their home. [VG]

--Two jewel auctions we've mentioned here in the past went down this week. Christie's sold Empress Eugénie's Feuilles de Groseillier Brooch for a cool $2,365,700. (Although that was far from the highest price brought at the auction - that honor went to a necklace containing a 392.52 carat sapphire which brought in more than $17.5 million.) Sotheby's sold Queen Josephine's pearl necklace for $3,426,669, and the aquamarine tiara previously worn by the Duchess of Kent went for $204,500. So if any of you get an extra special surprise in your stocking this Christmas, let me know. [Christie's, Sotheby's]

--The Princess Royal headed up to Canada after her stop in the U.S. and I think I might really like the dress she wore to a dinner during her trip. [Canadian Heritage Flickr]

--Bit of sad news: The funeral for Princess Kristine Bernadotte was held at the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace and attended by members of the Swedish and Norwegian royal families. Princess Kristine was the widow of Prince Carl Bernadotte, son of Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, and uncle of the present King of Norway as well as Belgian Kings Albert II and Baudouin. The late Bernadotte couple were particularly close to their Norwegian relatives. [Aftonbladet]

--Are you in or around Denver? You have a chance to see some serious jewels in action. Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century is at the Denver Art Museum today through March 15, 2015. [Denver Art Museum]

Photos: YouTube screencaps

14 November 2014

Royal Gowns of the Week: November 14

Let's close the week on an elegant note, shall we? TWO elegant notes, in fact. Thursday was a good day for evening gowns.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took on the task of attending the annual Royal Variety Performance, something that rotates between family members. Has anybody else noticed that William made the switch to loafers (in velvet or suede, looks like) with his tuxes now? I feel like we should talk about that. Subtle slipper style. Me likes. I shall await his debut of the McQueen beaded skull style.
I suspect you did not come here to talk about men's shoes, though. Fair enough. To Kate! She wore a new dress from Diane von Furstenberg in black lace. This is the second DVF lace gown we've seen this month, actually, the first being the plum number sported by Princess Stéphanie during Germany's state visit to Luxembourg. Put Stéphanie's color with Kate's neckline and sleeve length, and I'd be in heaven. I'm in heaven anyway because of a Kate Updo Sighting, mind you, but I'm quite greedy.
She also wore her Kiki McDonough blue topaz and diamond hoop earrings

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark also had a night out, traveling to Germany where Mary was presented with a BAMBI Award for her charitable endeavors, particularly her work against domestic violence. Frederik tagged along, probably because he saw Mary's dress and jumped at the perfect opportunity to wear that navy tux he likes so much. (Or maybe just because he was proud of his wife, I'm not a mind reader.)
It's getting to that time when I start pondering the best looks of the year, and people, we have a serious contender for Mary's best. This is a Moment right here, capital M. That sparkly dress under all those lights, fabulous!
Mary's navy blue gown is from Jesper Høvring, worn with her aquamarine girandole earrings, a massive ring, and an Ole Lynggaard Flower bracelet. She's worn the matching Lynggaard Flower earrings in the past, and though I usually reserve my drooling for the older jewels, I neeeeed this set in the worst way. Sadly, no Santa that's ever visited my house has pockets quite that deep. Le sigh.

 Anyway, this has been your dose of Friday pretty. Carry on.

Photos: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images, Net-a-Porter, Kiki McDonough, Matthias Nareyek and Luca Teuchmann via Getty Images, Jesper Høvring, Ole Lynggaard

13 November 2014

Tiara Thursday: Queen Marie's Edinburgh Turquoise Tiara

Queen Marie's Edinburgh Turquoise Tiara
The wedding of Princess Marie of Edinburgh (1875-1938) and Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania in 1893 was a typically grand occasion, just as one would expect when the bride is the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (and therefore a granddaughter of both Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II) and the groom is a future king. And just as one would expect from a wedding like this, plenty of precious jewels were among the gifts lavished on the bride. From her father came a parure of turquoise and diamonds, including this tiara of scrolling diamonds surrounding round turquoise stones, plus a necklace and earrings. The set was made by London jeweler Carrington. Other British relatives provided more turquoise jewels in the form of a bracelet and a brooch (click here for more on her wedding gifts).
Marie in the turquoise tiara, earrings, and necklace
Marie, who became Queen of Romania in 1914, would later be pictured wearing jewels in a more theatrical manner, but at the beginning of her marriage, this was a fairly petite tiara choice that seems to have suited her well. Unfortunately, I believe this lovely turquoise tiara has been lost to time. When Romania became embroiled in World War I in 1916, Marie's jewels were sent away for safekeeping in Moscow…and if you know your history, you’re already cringing, because you know now what Marie didn’t back then: Russia would soon be taken over by revolutionaries, and the Bolsheviks were not fans of returning such valuables. Queen Marie never saw those gems again. She built up another collection, but when the Romanian monarchy was eliminated, more jewels had to be sold to finance the family in exile. A shame, it is, because another smaller turquoise tiara – a stone quite polarizing for some of you – would be lovely to see in use today.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons,  George Grantham Bain/Library of Congress

Royal Visit of the Day: November 13

Is it just me, or was yesterday's introductory visit brought to you by some classic movie flashbacks?
The King and Queen of Spain paid an introductory visit to the King and Queen of the Belgians.
I mean, Letizia's serving up a Sound of Music silhouette, complete with braided 'do for extra folksy charm, and Mathilde's feathery headband and hairstyle are throwing me back to a Breakfast Club post-makeover moment.
I do love a good flashback, but neither of these are flipping my skirt. As much as I love an updo, I think Letizia's takes this a little too far into costume territory. And as much as I love a strong green coat, Mathilde's quintuple button closure - which I imagine was added for extra interest - leaves me thinking they left some other design element off.
Well, at least I know what's on the list for my next movie marathon.

Photos: Mark Renders via Getty Images

12 November 2014

Royal Visit of the Day: November 12

Honestly thought Letizia was wearing a necktie for a hot minute here.
The King and Queen of Spain made an introductory visit to Luxembourg yesterday.
She's not! But if any of these ladies were going to pull a Diane Keaton on us, I think Leti could do it best. Instead, she opted to repeat another Felipe Varela dress.
On the Luxembourg side of things, Maria Teresa tapped into my deep love for ombré, and Stéphanie's fancy little updo made for a nice balance with her simple dress. Not a bad showing, but I'll fall for that Varela every time.

Photos: Mathis Wienand via Getty Images

09 November 2014

Sunday Tidbits for November 9: Princes, Poppies, and a Programming Note

First up, your programming note: I'm out for a couple days, so the blog will return on Wednesday! Until then, feast on these tidbits...

--The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall wrapped up their visit to Mexico this week, and I'm all ready to sign up for an architectural tour of Charles pointing at things. [Storify]

--Charles is all over it this week, including a spoof of a particularly awkward interview from his youth. Chaz the comic, coming to a club near you. [Telegraph]

--Hello is reporting that Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo are expecting their second child. This has been in the rumor mill for a while. [Hello]

--Queen Letizia has been stepping up her solo official trips since becoming queen. This week, she went to Portugal and wore a smashing red suit (love her in red, love it love it). She and Felipe will continue their introductory visits with day trips to Luxembourg and Belgium in the coming week, so stay tuned for that. [Diez Minutos]

--Stockholm's Royal Palace is getting a new paint color and people aren't happy. Nobody's ever happy when it comes to paint colors. [The Local]

--The Princess Royal was in Washington, D.C.! I thought the air on this side of the pond felt a little more disciplined this week. Her activities including opening an exhibit on the Magna Carta at the Library of Congress, getting her title misspelled, and attending a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. [Library of Congress, MSN Video, Washington Post]

--A uniformed Prince Harry took on the emotional job of opening the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey this year. [Express]

--Other British remembrance events have been covered over at the Jewel Vault - the Remembrance Festival was covered yesterday, and a post on the ceremony at the Cenotaph is up today. [Jewel Vault]

--And finally, here's a pictorial update for you on that incredible poppy installation at the Tower of London. [BBC]

Photos: Chris Jackson via Getty Images, @CasaReal, AFP Video

07 November 2014

Royal Trip of the Day: November 7

What has Crown Princess Mary been up to lately? Emptying her closet of all available printed items, it seems.
Dolce & Gabbana skirt, Etro coat
All these prints went on a trip with her to South Africa this week, a visit which focused on things like sexual and reproductive health and rights, which Mary is a big advocate for, as well as commercial cooperation between Denmark and South Africa cooperation and the like.
Heartmade dress, Massimo Dutti dress
And this is a great example of a wardrobe hitting just the right note - it's fun to put it all together, but it's not the centerpiece of the trip. Billed-Bladet's YouTube channel has plenty of videos to give you a feel for the visit, such as this one in which Mary makes a new friend:

Blouse from Hugo Boss

This is not a comprehensive round up, but I will include one of my favorite looks, from an evening reception:
I do love a maxi skirt and a big earring. It's just the right mix of formal and informal, no?
Giambattista Valli skirt and gold plated sterling silver earrings from Jewlscph

Mary's world travels didn't stop in South Africa this week. On the way home, she stopped in Geneva at the United Nations.
A conservative we're-doing-business suit is precisely what such a day entails, but I (and Queen Elizabeth II) approve of her choice to liven things up with a little brooch action.
A classy finish to a working week, all in all.

Photos: Billed-Bladet video, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Heartmade, Massimo Dutti, @DKAMBinSA, Lyst, Jewlscph, Harold Cunningham via Getty Images

06 November 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Cartier Essex Tiara

The Cartier Essex Tiara
Another tiara famous more for its maker than for its wearers is the Cartier Essex Tiara. The design of scrolling foliage is classic Cartier, also seen in pieces such as the Cartier Diamond and Pearl Tiara and Queen Maria Cristina's Cartier Loop Tiara from Spain, or the bandeau tiara that formerly belonged to the Belgian royal family. This model was bought in 1902 by the Earl of Essex for his wife, Adele, who was an American heiress. According to Geoffrey Munn's Tiaras: A History of Splendor, the Earl provided the stones (759 brilliants and 289 rose-cut diamonds, with a total weight around 156 carats) for the design, which was inspired by a Malaysian headdress.
Lady Churchill, Crown Princess Margarita, and a detail of the setting
Eventually, the tiara left the Essex family and was added to the collection at Cartier. The renowned French jeweler has loaned the tiara out on multiple occasions, allowing it to be worn by Clementine, Lady Churchill, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, by Crown Princess Margarita of Romania for her wedding, and by a model in a Vogue photoshoot, to name a few. It has also been displayed in many exhibits. You can spot it sparkling away in the video below, from the large Paris exhibition earlier this year:

This tiara is actually pretty big. It's tall structure makes it one of the rare tiaras that can stand up in a hairstyle that might otherwise swallow a smaller piece (see both Clementine and Margarita above). The size plus the dangling pendant at the bottom center of the piece could make it hard to wear - but they make it great to display, so it's right at home in the Cartier collection.

Does this make your list of favorite Cartier tiaras?

Photos: Cartier, Life, DR, EFE video

Royal Outfit of the Day: November 6

Firstly, OOH! It's the return of one of my favorite royal Erdem dresses! Thanks for that, Princess B.
Princess Beatrice attended a charity dinner this week.
And secondly, ooh. Those shoes. Oh well. Maybe her ankles were cold.

Photos: David M. Benett via Getty Images, Erdem

05 November 2014

Royal State Visit of the Day: November 5

I said Máxima brought it during the Dutch state visit to Japan, but I think she might have left it there. Because next up, she and Willem-Alexander paid a state visit to South Korea and, sartorially speaking, it was...questionable. Yesterday I was exclamation pointy, today I'm question marky.
She chose a Mattijs van Bergen dress for the welcome ceremony, just as she did in Japan, but this one...I don't know? I like the silhouette, and I don't mind a wrap when it's, uh, well wrapped, I guess.
Maybe I'm just not one for bright brights paired with khaki beige. Meh.

Then came the state banquet and - sad face - it was only the sort that requires suit and tie for him and a knee-length dress for her. No tiaras, no gowns. Plenty of question marks, though, thanks to the curious texture of this Jan Taminiau dress. From afar, it's kind of mermaid-y. From close up...?? Once again, I don't know. The link in the tweet below will take you to a closer look.
I think you already know that the only thing here earning my explanation points are the diamond bow brooches in her hair, basic dress code be damned. MAX!

For the final day, a special hat was brought back to life. This one was worn for the christening of one of the couple's daughters.
Special, but also a whole lot of stuff on top of your head. I mean...a lot of stuff, piled right up there on top. Right? Too much stuff. (Click here for a gallery.)

And for the final evening, that surplus of stuff traveled to her shoulders. Feathers. I'm talking about feathers.
Máxima does Swan Lake? Oh, the question marks.

Photos: Chung Sung-Jun and Pool via Getty Images, @BlauwBloedtv, NOS video, @KHtweets

04 November 2014

Tiara Watch of the Day: November 4

There will come a day when Tiara Season is over. Thanks be to the Tiara Gods, today is not that day! Legit jumpy claps when I saw this pop up on the twitters:
Luxembourg busted out their tiaras to host a state visit from Germany! Excellent. But believe it or not, the dresses are winning most of my affection here. (Actually, it's totally believable, isn't it. Those tiaras - the Topaz/Citrine and Pearl Tiara for the Grand Duchess and an amethyst bandeau for the Hereditary Grand Duchess - are present but aren't exactly scene stealers.)
For Stéphanie, a purple lace Diane von Furstenberg gown (per Luxarazzi, which also offers more info on this state visit) with accompanying bonus points for anything purple. For Maria Teresa, a mix-and-match bespoke look from Elie Saab Fall 2012 Couture. The gowns that spawned the one MT wears are among my favorites from his recent couture collections, and I'm feeling very exclamation pointy about seeing the look come to life. Exclamation point!

Photos: MyTheresa, Style.com