12 February 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: February 12

Is it possible to dislike a dress and to like it on a certain person at the same time?
Crown Princess Victoria attended the Global Change Award ceremony 
in Stockholm on Wednesday
Yes. The answer is apparently yes. Because this dress itself is a little bit hmmmm (an appreciable departure from solid lace dresses, sure, but just a lot to take in all together, especially with the major earrings), yet this dress on Victoria is basically mmhmmmm (oh, she's working it). If you see what I mean.
Model for Victoria's earrings, which are slightly different
The Global Change Award was started by the H&M Conscious Foundation, so naturally Victoria wore a dress, earrings, and clutch from the sustainable H&M Conscious Collection. She's actually giving us a special preview here, because the items created for her are based on a collection that won't be in stores until April. (It's good to be the Crown Princess sometimes.) Her navy dress is made of organic silk and organic cotton; her earrings include Denimite, which is a material made from - you guessed it - recycled denim. So, that a first.

Photos: via Getty Images, H&M

11 February 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Boucheron Wave Tiara

The Boucheron Wave Tiara
French master goldsmith Coulot used diamonds to make the ocean come to life for Boucheron in 1910 with the creation of the Boucheron Wave Tiara. The tiara makes use of the precious stones as well as the spaces that lack stones to depict an asymmetrical design of breaking waves rising up from its base.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (also The Great Wave, or The Wave), 1830-33, Hokusai. A woodblock print and part of the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji
The piece was inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, an iconic piece of Japanese art. Japanese influence in the fine arts in Europe grew rapidly in the late 1800s as the Meiji Restoration opened the country up to the west, and the Boucheron tiara is a masterful example of that inspiration.
Tiaras are listed in order below
Using water as an inspiration has yielded more than a few tiaras throughout history. Multiple examples of wave tiaras can be pulled just from royal families: Monaco's modern Ocean Tiara in diamonds and sapphires, the rolling ocean wave interpretation of the Mellerio Shell Tiara from the Spanish royal family, a subtle diamond and pearl version in Princess Noriko's Wave Tiara from Japan, the geometric interpretation of the Russian Wave Pattern Tiara, or the version with extravagantly large stones known as the Russian Sapphire Wave Tiara, to name a few.
But none of those other examples come close to interpreting their motif with as much dynamic movement or exquisite craftsmanship as the Boucheron Wave Tiara did. I've often wondered if that would make the Boucheron example harder to carry off in real life - make it less of a wearable piece and more of a museum item to be admired for its technical prowess - but alas, we'll never know. It is known to us through archive photos alone; there are no examples of the tiara in use, and its whereabouts are unknown.

Which wave tiara do you prefer?

Photos: Boucheron, Public Domain, Van Cleef & Arpels/DR/ANN screencap/USGS

Royal Outfit of the Day: February 11

Queen Máxima's putting together some interesting outfits during her current trip to Pakistan, which is a part of her work in inclusive finance for the UN. She's meeting all relevant modesty criteria while still staying firmly in her own wheelhouse; in this case, a house of statement prints and statement jewelry.
Turquoise earrings and a ring caught my eye straight away. Any big turquoise pieces are bound to do just that, but matching these to the colors in her skirt was an A+ choice. Also: that skirt! Add this paisley quilted skirt from Alessandra Rich (per ModeKoninginMaxima) to the list of things I wouldn't have thought would work as well as they do in action.
The longer length works with her height (and her location and task, in this case) and that print is giving the whole thing life. And, let's be honest, I'd love it for introducing turquoise into the outfit even without other reasons.

Photos: via Getty Images, Twitter, Moda Operandi

10 February 2016

Royal Exhibition of the Day: February 10

It's going to be a banner year for royal style exhibitions in the United Kingdom. Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style will catalog the Queen's style over her 90 years in three separate exhibitions starting on April 21 - her 90th birthday - at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. You can also visit Kensington Palace (while popping in at Wills n' Kate's for tea, as you do) and check out their latest style showcase. Fashion Rules Revisited, opening February 11, includes outfits from Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the Queen and Princess Margaret.

It's a little too easy to call any given Diana dress "iconic", though her final Mario Testino photoshoot certainly gave this green velvet buttoned dress its place in history. She was said to have capitalized on the jacket styling by ordering a matching jacket made for Charles. The Catherine Walker dress sold for $24,150 at her 1997 Christie's dress auction.
Her love for velvet continued with the Catherine Walker gown on the right, where a black velvet top with red piping sets off a full silk tartan skirt. Unsurprisingly, the gown was originally ordered for dancing at Balmoral and was later worn elsewhere before bringing in $46,000 at the 1997 auction. In the background on the left, you can see an orange Hardy Amies dress worn by the Queen in 1979.

Another notable Catherine Walker on display is this ivory silk crêpe one-shoulder gown decorated in a floral pattern of sequins. Diana wore it in Brazil in 1991, and it's a dress I love more in theory than in execution. (That single full sleeve does make it seem like two dresses worn at the same time.) To the right is a Hardy Amies gown from the Queen and an ivory Bruce Oldfield and peach Catherine Walker from Diana.

The Diana dresses are certainly drawing the press for this exhibition, but what intrigues me the most are the items from Princess Margaret. The dresses and accessories from the Queen's late sister include a scarf hand painted for Margaret by Christian Dior himself. There were few more glamorous than Margaret in her heyday, so you know her wardrobe yields some true treasures.
Right?! The beading alone on this Norman Hartnell gown of Princess Margaret's is to die for. Would I still swoon if someone wore this today? Oh...I think it's a safe bet.

For more sneak peeks at Fashion Rules Revisited, see this fantastic Vogue article and gallery, or photos at the Daily Mail.

Photos: via Getty Images

09 February 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: February 9

Because Crown Princess Mary just had a birthday, because birthdays should be celebrated with favorites, because any day should be celebrated with favorites, and mostly because I just felt like it, today we flashback to one of my favorite Mary dresses for the New Year's Court day receptions.
With an updo in 2010
Julie Fagerholt of Heartmade designed this rich outfit with a long dress and matching short jacket with three-quarter sleeves. This much of a fabric like this probably should be overpowering, but the soft silvery blue color is an understated choice that helps it avoid the Too Much territory.
In action in 2008
The flare of the skirt is perfection, and it sits just right an event like this, where she stands still for long periods of time. I love when jackets partly cover a sash, especially during these types of day events (and yes, that's an entirely appropriate thing to do, see Queen Margrethe's own ensemble in the video above), and the shorter length of this jacket means the Order of the Elephant sash is still plenty visible. Mary's worn this outfit several times, three of which are illustrated here, but these little details keep me interested time after time.
I must admit, there was a time when I wondered if this ensemble aged her. I'm over it now. (Obviously.) It is a classic design, something that wouldn't have been out of place in, say, our recent early 1960s Princess Beatrix flashback. But the classics have their place, and I imagine this one was designed to be worn for many more years to come.

Photos: via Getty Images