31 March 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Portland Tiara

There's nothing like a coronation to prompt a grand tiara purchase. The dates suggest that was the case here: Cartier was commissioned in 1902 by the 6th Duke of Portland to create this tiara for his wife, Winifred, who then wore it to the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII. The Duchess was a canopy bearer for Queen Alexandra during the ceremony, and later served as her Mistress of the Robes.
The Portland Tiara
The Portland Collection/The Harley Gallery
The Duke provided the diamonds for the gold-mounted tiara, which took the form of scrolls with briolette and cushion-cut diamonds suspended in the middle. The grand diadem was well suited to perch on a throne of tall hair in the Edwardian fashion, and Duchess Winifred was also able to wear it in a bandeau style across her forehead when the fashions changed. When Winifred's daughter-in-law, Ivy, wore the tiara as Duchess of Portland to the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, it looked a good deal larger worn open with the hairstyle of the time.
The Anointing of Queen Alexandra at the Coronation of Edward VII, by Laurits Tuxen
Detail of the Duchess of Portland at left
The tiara was apparently the survivor of a rare incident (hopefully a rare incident) recounted in the Duke's own words (via Geoffrey Munn's Tiaras: A History of Splendor): "While my wife was dressing for dinner... I threw myself into an armchair. Both she and her maid gave a scream and so did I, for I had sat down upon the very sharp points of the diamond tiara. Naturally the tiara was broken to bits, while the lower part of my poor person resembled the diamond mines of Golconda, so full was it of precious stones." Ouch.
Duchess Winifred (left, for the 1902 coronation)
and Duchess Ivy (right, for the 1953 coronation)
While the title ultimately passed out of this branch of the family, the tiara and other treasures of the Portland collection stayed. The Portland Tiara was not among the jewels sold at auction in 2010 (including another tiara associated with the family name, the Portland Sapphire Tiara).

Here's the good news: You now have a chance to see the Portland Tiara for yourself in the newly opened Harley Gallery at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. The gallery will show a changing selection of treasures from The Portland Collection, assembled over centuries by the Dukes of Portland. Items on display include this tiara, a pearl earring worn by Charles I at his 1649 execution, a rare work by Michelangelo, and more. Click here for the Harley Gallery's website, or here for a BBC article on the gallery.

Royal Necklace of the Day: March 31

I had no idea that this was going to turn out to be such a Máx-tastic week here, but I'm just going to roll with it.
Queen Máxima attended a symposium for music education yesterday.
I also had no idea that decorative outdoor wreaths could double as necklaces, but I guess I'm going to roll with that too.

Photo: via Getty Images

30 March 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: March 30

When I dished out a healthy serving of praise to Queen Máxima earlier this month for elevating a simple gray pillbox hat with a trio of diamond pins, I knew it wasn't the first time she'd tried that trick. Another instance of this sneaky sparkle strategy brings us to one of my all-time favorite Máxima outfits, so, yay:

The (then-) Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima attended the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on April 29, 2011.
A lot of guests brought their sartorial A-game to William and Kate's wedding. Máxima is known for doing just that at all big occasions, as luck would have it, and she was at her best in this lovely lace Valentino top and skirt in a soft beige pink shade. She accessorized this outfit with a whole lot of diamonds.

That whole lot included a simple diamond rivière necklace, big diamond earrings, and five - FIVE - diamond star brooches riding along on the side of her Fabienne Delvigne hat. Those lucky Dutch royals have more than one set of diamond star brooches in their family collection; these are from the set that adorned the tiara Máxima wore on her own wedding day.
I'm not going to argue with more diamonds at any time of the day, obviously, but am I wrong that it doesn't seem overpowering here? The clothes are subtle enough to give the diamonds some space, and the diamonds add interest without taking over like some of her fashion jewelry might. It's a perfect outfit marriage.

Is this my All-Time Favorite Máxima Outfit: Non-Tiara Division? It's one of them, at least.

Photos: via Getty Images

29 March 2016

Royal Style Triplets of the Day: March 29

You remember this hat from earlier this month, right?
Certainly you do, because the Duchess of Cambridge turning up at this year's Commonwealth service in a gray John Boyd hat with an upturned and angled slice style brim was something different

The hat quickly drew several comparisons to other royal hats, and of course it did, because while it was different for Kate, it wasn't necessarily unique. It's a classic style in a useful neutral color that has been interpreted many times by many different milliners on many different royal women.

Two of our regular leading ladies were most frequently cited in said comparisons, so let's see how two different styles of this classic have been handled in other situations.

First we have Crown Princess Mary and her more angular version.
One of the things I love about Mary's style is the way she finds new color combinations for her accessories. She wore this hat with a black coat before pepping things up for the Luxembourg royal wedding in 2012 with a wine colored suit, driving the color combination home in beautiful fashion with the ruby and diamond stud earrings with gray pearl drops from her Ruby Parure. This is how you give a neutral accessory a new life.

If you want to talk about getting full value out of a hat style, then you need to talk about the second royal that came up when discussing Kate's hat: Queen Máxima.
This version is similar in shape and darker in color, but fear not, she has lighter colors and other variations, no problem. The Royal Hats Blog catalogs no fewer than fifteen slice hats in Máxima's wardrobe, and no less than seven different looks for this dark gray hat. Nobody owns this brim style quite like Máxima does, and there's no better example of how to have as much fun as possible with a classic shape...even if it is just another gray hat.

Photos: via Getty Images

28 March 2016

Royal Easter Outfits of the Day: March 28

Easter around this place means a check-in with the royal families of Spain and Britain, the two that make the most public parades to their respective Easter services. To the hats!

Okay, to the hats in a moment. First we have Easter mass in Palma de Mallorca with the King and Queen, Queen Sofia, the Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofia, and would you look at this Easter basket of a family? Queen Sofia would've had their bright spring color palette covered all by herself, but no, they all chipped in. Even King Felipe gave the dark navy and gray a break for the day. It's a good thing.

Okay, now to the hats! The hats attended Easter service at Windsor, bringing the usual assortment of royals along with them.
The Queen set a literal shining example in her daffodil coat with bright gold buttons and bright gold brooch (the Frosted Sunflower, one of her favorites). A carrot-clad Princess Royal rode with her parents in the car to church on this windy Easter day, a privilege I assume is afforded first to those at greatest risk of a flying hat disaster.

Carrying the bright color torch for the family members on foot were the Countess of Wessex and Autumn Phillips.
I'd scoop up that pink coat in a heartbeat, and while I have my quibbles about Sophie's coat/dress pairing, I definitely like both pieces individually.

Toning down the color a bit were Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor (sporting a horse charm necklace that must have made her granny smile), and Princess Beatrice.
I do love a belted coat. The soft pink of Eugenie's hat pushes her up next to Autumn Phillips as my dual Easter favorites. (I definitely just wrote duel Easter favorites, and now I think that's a movie I want to see.) Beatrice, though, is managing to do the trench coat + hat thing without looking like she's just in from the rain or just out from her latest detective drama (speaking of movies I want to see), and that's an achievement on its own. A solid Easter showing from the Windsors, don't you agree?

Photos: via Getty Images

27 March 2016

Sunday Tidbits for March 27: Happy Easter!

Hellooooooo again! We're back up and running (for now, at least) after some technical difficulties. Let's catch up on a few of the things we missed:

--King Philippe and Queen Mathilde joined in their nation's mourning following Tuesday's tragic attacks in Brussels. Here is Philippe's address to his country with English subtitles, and here are some of the condolence messages sent from other royal families around the world. [Telegraph, Hello]

--Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel thanked those that sent greetings and congratulations for Prince Oscar's birth with the release of a beautiful photo of Victoria and her snuggly son.
Photo: Kate Gabor, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Plus, a new picture of Princess Estelle and her little brother. (Estelle was wearing one of her mother's old dresses, of course.) [Twitter]
Photo: Prince Daniel / Kungahuset Instagram

--According to Billed-Bladet, Crown Princess Mary's new tiara was purchased by Mary herself at an auction (which, if true: GOOD ON YOU, MARY). (They also say it has pearls that I personally don't see in current shots.) Anyway, see more in the last Sunday Tidbits comments, courtesy of lovely commenter Fantasyprincess.

--Mary also gave an interview to Berlingske about her work with gender equality and protection of the rights of women and girls. The Danish interview is accompanied by some striking new photos. [Berlingske]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen prepared for Easter with Thursday's Royal Maundy Service. She also managed to sneak in a girls' night out. Don't forget, Our Queen at 90 airs tonight in the U.K. at 8 pm on ITV. (I've heard no word yet on plans to air it in other countries.)

--I also have QEII's Easter outfit and brooch up at the Vault right now, and we'll chat about other Easter outfits here tomorrow.

--And finally, I don't even know where to start with the parade of cute that was Prince Harry's visit to Nepal. Kensington Palace's Instagram isn't a bad place to begin, including some pictures taken by Harry with his own captions.

Coming up this week: Royal Easter and more...

Sunday Tidbits is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!

23 March 2016

Programming Note

We are aware of some issues with the commenting system. Posting will be paused while we work on a solution.

Update, March 26: It appears things are working as normal, for now.

Royal Audience of the Day: March 23

Hey kids, how about a fun family outing to see the Pope? The grand ducal family of Luxembourg showed up en masse (no, really: the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, plus all five of their kids, plus three daughters-in-law, plus three grandkids) for an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.
Left to right: Prince Louis and his wife Princess Tessy, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and his wife Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Grand Duke Henri (with Princes Noah and Gabriel - sons of Louis and Tessy - in front), Pope Francis (with Princess Amalia - daughter of Félix and Claire - in front), Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Prince Félix and his wife Princess Claire, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Sébastien. Whew.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has Benjamin Button-ed her way past her 60th birthday (which was Tuesday) in grand style.
Noted lover of great white outfits that I am, privilège du blanc - the exception from the typical Vatican dress code of black/dark dress for women visitors that allows select few Catholic royal ladies to wear white - is an easy win in my book. This sleek suit suits her anyway, as does her choice to leave off the veil this time around (perhaps that's one in her hand, just in case). Let's call this the Queen Letizia Strategy, and it is a winner.

We've talked about the general and ever-changing dress code protocol for Vatican visits several times in the past, for those curious: Pope Francis' inaugural mass, Queen Mathilde's first privilége du blanc appearance, Princess Charlene's latest, and the Swedish ladies in black.

Shall we throw a little flashback in the mix, too? The grand ducal family also gathered at the Vatican ten years ago, in 2006, when they were a slightly smaller unit:
Maria Teresa does indeed make those white outfits look good under any circumstance.

Photos: via Getty Images

22 March 2016

Royal Races of the Day: March 22

We need to check back in with Zara Phillips and her Cheltenham Festival routine. Friends, I think she stuck the landing.

She started out with a matching purple ensemble on day one, then moved into matching navy pieces for day two with this understated outfit. Understated on its own and certainly understated when put next to what her mother wore with her own navy hat.
Why don't I have a purple Sherlock cape in my life, huh?

I'm sure several of you have already clutched your pearls at a coat above the knee, but I think the length gives her day three ensemble a mod look, and I love that style on Zara. Those giant feathers on her cap should come in handy to deal with any dissenters.

Gold Cup Day brought what I might have to name my gold cup outfit for the racing event. I'm most certainly here for an accent hat in a lovely teal shade (the Duchess of Cambridge has this same hat style in green; Royal Hats has a comparison), and with a cozy belted coat? Sign me up. Well played, Zara.

Photos: via Getty Images

21 March 2016

Princely Event of the Day: March 21

Monaco's annual Rose Ball to benefit the Princess Grace Foundation was held this weekend. This is Princess Caroline's show, and she and her family ruled the roost as usual in a whole lotta Chanel. Chanel was an even bigger guarantee this year, with family friend Karl Lagerfeld in charge of designing the Cuban theme for the evening.
From left to right: Beatrice Borromeo, Pierre Casiraghi, Princess Alexandra, Prince Albert, Princess Caroline, Charlotte Casiraghi, Tatiana Santo Domingo, Andrea Casiraghi, Karl Lagerfeld. Princess Charlene did not attend.

Caroline and her two daughters were a trio of Chanel in biscuits and beiges. Caroline was pretty understated in her Spring 2016 Couture selection, and Princess Alexandra looked lovely making her big debut at the event in Chanel Resort 2016.
I did call for a round of these gossamer capes from the Spring 2016 Couture collection for all the Monacos, and Charlotte delivered! Maybe I should have specified what I wanted underneath as well - this wrinkly highwater business isn't exactly what I had in mind - though I suppose this is all the better to boogie in.

Ruffled skirts were in order for both of Caroline's daughters-in-law. Only one, I'd wager, will be among the dresses you remember from 2016.
Leave it to Beatrice Borromeo to go big or go home, with serious Giambattista Valli couture! She even threw some jewels in the mix, with earrings and what I assume is an emerald necklace.
Well, I love it. This isn't a state banquet or some such serious occasion; she's a woman with a sense of style and access to all the couture she needs. Plus, her mother-in-law has seen to it that the Rose Ball is a high fashion showcase each year. So why not? I love it when an outfit can look extremely fabulous and extremely fun at the same time.
Beatrice's dress from Giambattista Valli Spring 2016 Couture and Tatiana's dress from Gucci Resort 2016

Photos: via Getty Images, Vogue

20 March 2016

Sunday Tidbits for March 20: The Tiara Surprises Continue

Before we head into the week's tidbits, a couple notes:
  • First, here's a friendly reminder that the weekly tidbits post is your spot throughout the week for off topic conversations. This includes personal chats or off topic asides from other posts, as well as new topics that have yet to be covered. Super excited about something new you just saw? Seek out the last tidbits post, and you'll likely find you're not alone!
  • Second, from here on out, please keep the comments sections free of all political discussions. Thank you!

Right, that's enough business. This week's odds and ends hold some more tiara surprises:

--A preview of the upcoming documentary Our Queen at 90 reveals a peek inside December's Buckingham Palace Diplomatic Reception, with a better look at the Duchess of Cambridge in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara and the first time we've seen what the Queen wore. I dissected it yesterday at the Jewel Vault.
Oxford Film & Television / ITV

--Princess Mabel joined Princess Beatrix to hand out the second Prince Friso Prize for Engineering in the Netherlands this past week. [ParisMatch]

--The Swedish royal family continues to kill it on the official picture front. A new fancy pic of Princess Madeleine was among those released last week, and they made the stellar decision to commemorate the greatest tiara event of the year so far (and give us a super view of the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara while they're at it. Click the pic below to enlarge).
Anna-Lena Ahlström, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Luxembourg isn't slacking on the pic front either: Grand Duchess Maria Teresa got a new set of portraits for her upcoming 60th birthday. [Luxarazzi]

--And now for the polar opposite of a tiara occasion: Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Prince Frederik both participated in the Birkebeinerrennet cross-country skiing race in Norway this weekend. [BT]

--The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo this week. Cams very kindly brought along my two favorite outfits from her current wardrobe rotation, this blue one and this charcoal one. Lovely. [Zimbio]

--One more Swedish royal pic for good measure: Princess Madeleine posted a sweet photo of nine-month-old Prince Nicolas on her Facebook page. [Facebook]
Princess Madeleine of Sweden Facebook

--And finally, it was a busy week for QEII, including a visit to the lions at the London Zoo that gave the Duke of Edinburgh a reason to bust out his panda tie. [Jewel Vault]

Coming up this week: Rose Ball happenings and more...

18 March 2016

Royal Hats of the Day: March 18

Queen Máxima has been a busy bee since returning home from her French state visit. A busy behatted bee, specifically. Autocorrect just tried to change specifically to spectacularly on me there, but that's your call to make:

Wednesday: Queen Máxima visited the Outsider Art Museum.
I'm so used to seeing her in hats with big brims or no brims, a short brim like this is destined to feel stumpy. You don't have to sell me on the animal print accessories, though; I'm all in.

Monday: Her Majesty presented the Geuzen Medal.
This is not so much a hat as it is a linen bagel. You can browse this gallery for proof or just take my word for it, I don't know how your Friday is going. (By the way, several readers have written to say that these repeated gold fan earrings are from JAR, exclusive jeweler and favorite of Princess Marie-Chantal. That's an interesting development for Máx and her statement jewelry love affair.)

Tuesday: King Willem-Alexander presented the Military Order of William to the Commando Corps with Queen Máxima in attendance. 
Photo: Defensie
I saved the best for last. She loves her a gray hat, and this one had something special: three diamond ears of wheat brooches from the family collection attached to the side of her gray pillbox hat. This is the second time Máxima has used these brooches (the first as a hair ornament during the couple's 2015 state visit to Canada), though she has yet to use them in their most familiar format, the Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara.
NOS / L1 screencaps
I love this. I mean, of course I love this, but for more reasons than my standard love of unexpected jewel deployments. The Military Order of William (Militaire Willems-Orde, also Military William Order) is the oldest and highest Dutch honor, presented for bravery; this is an important event, and I love that she's brought out some old and important brooches for the occasion. Paired with a simple gray coat with gray lace underneath, it's an incredibly elegant look. (For more: Video here, second video here, gallery here.)

17 March 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Tiaras of Crown Princess Mary

An increase in the size of one's tiara collection calls for a review of said collection, don't you agree? One tiara retrospective, coming right up...

Crown Princess Mary is pretty orderly in the way she wears the tiaras at her disposal. The big gun Ruby Parure comes out for the annual New Year's Court banquet in Denmark - usually, the most formal event of the year - and then only for VIP occasions otherwise; next up is her Wedding Tiara, used for most other tiara occasions, like state banquets; and last is the modern Midnight Tiara, used mainly when a third tiara is required or sometimes for black tie events. Even her tiara usage at the last three Swedish royal weddings (pictured below) breaks down into an orderly ranking of sorts. Some say her tiara collection is too small - even though she has use of more than some of her peers - but she knows how to use them.

The first tiara she wore publicly, and her most important piece. Few in her position can say they have use of a tiara as historical as this one, or a parure as large and (thanks to Mary's own adjustments) as flexible.
Much flak has been given to this tiara on this blog due to its small size, but I have come to understand and respect the logic behind this gift from Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik: it's the polar opposite of the ruby set in almost every way, thus giving Mary maximum flexibility. She added the optional pearl enhancement in 2011. This tiara can be worn as a necklace, though I believe she's only done that once in public.

Mary doesn't own this tiara from Charlotte Lynggaard of the Ole Lynggaard firm, but she has exclusive use of it. It's the perfect solution for a modern diadem, and right in line with Mary's support of modern Danish jewelry design. This one has grown on me over the years, but it seems a bit tricky to style.

Mary's Diamond Necklace Tiara
And finally, the fourth option joins the collection. She seems to make an effort to leave the spotlight on her mother-in-law for big events, so premiering this as a necklace first (during an important event for Margrethe's birthday, but not the highest profile event of the celebrations) and then wearing it as a tiara first at a lower key event is classic Mary strategy. This would seem to "rank" the tiara right alongside the Wedding Tiara, but I'm looking forward to seeing how she uses it in the future.

What's your favorite Mary tiara?

Photos: via Getty Images, DR1 screencap, TV2 screencap

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 17

Well, look who turned out in a beautiful shade of eggplant, just for me.
Zara Phillips attended Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival this week.
It's true, Zara! I dig your outfit. And not just because of the color.
This is an excellent match of hat to outfit. The coat is simple enough to allow a little embellishment on the hat to shine, and the hat wisely refrains from overdoing it. I don't love a default to black accessories, but carrying it through with the tights and the gloves is working for me. I give it a solid A.

Photos: via Getty Images

16 March 2016

Tiara Watch of the Day: March 16

Queen Margrethe hosted a gala dinner for art and culture last night, an event she's held a few times during her reign. (The last was in 2009, where Crown Princess Mary wore the purple Alexander McQueen dress we recently had cause to revisit.) It's black tie with tiaras because they love us, they really love us.

Queen Margrethe was looking very sassy n' swishy in her red birthday dress with the Baden Palmette Tiara and an array of diamonds.
Princess Benedikte and Princess Marie made a matching elegant pair in navy dresses with diamond floral tiaras and sapphire brooches. Benedikte wore her 18th Birthday Tiara, and Marie wore her standard Diamond Floral Tiara plus Queen Alexandrine's Diamond and Sapphire Pendant Brooch. Princess Benedikte's daughter, Princess Nathalie, was also present (in the peachy pink behind her, above); she attended as a guest instead of as a member of the royal family, opting out of a tiara.

Crown Princess Mary did as Crown Princess Mary is wont to do, and knocked it out of the park. The dress is Temperley London, one I must admit I've had my eye on for some time. (Remember that skirt Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore to Prince Carl Philip and Sofia's wedding? It's from the same collection as this dress.)
It's black tulle with a lining and lines of embroidered satin ribbon and hand-stitched grosgrain petals, dramatic up close and sweet from afar. I wondered if we might see it on the Duchess of Cambridge, actually - she does love a black Temperley dress - but I love the way Mary's used it here.

Anyway, the dress is maybe not what you want to talk about. Because, TIARA. Necklace tiara, specifically. When Mary showed up at one of Margrethe's birthday events in April 2015 wearing one heck of a diamond necklace...
...we all wondered if it could be worn as a tiara as well. I hoped 2016 would bring an answer to this pressing question, and it did! Oh, did it ever. We don't really know anything about this piece of jewelry other than what we can see right here, but an answer to the tiara question is a start.
Debuting it as a tiara at an event like this is a classic Mary move - really, debuting a newer tiara at a lower key event is a classic royal move, period, but I think this fits right in as a sub for her wedding tiara. I hope she uses this new addition to her tiara collection frequently. (And I do think a review of that newly embiggened collection is in order, so stay tuned.) This is turning out to be a banner royal month, isn't it?

More from the gala dinner:

Photos: DR1 screencap, via Getty Images, and Twitter

15 March 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: March 15

Yesterday, available members of the British royal family - the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Cambridges, Prince Harry, and the Duke of York this year - moseyed on over to Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day service.
The Queen got her Commonwealth flair on via brooch, and you can check our her outfit and Australian brooch selection over at the Jewel Vault. The Duchess of Cambridge got her Commonwealth flair on (and her Lady Mary Crawley flair on) via coat. Canadian designer Erdem made this contribution to the Royal Coat Museum, and milliner John Boyd added a matching gray hat.
And there's your sartorial headline for the event: Kate wore a hat with a brim, oh my. As a fan of variety more than just about anything, I am bound to love the choice, but I also appreciate that she paired the strong lines of this coat with the simple, architectural silhouette of this chapeau.
Similar Erdem pieces
While I'd love to see the coat belted up in the future, it's a solid appearance just like so.

Photos: BBC screencaps, via Getty Images, Erdem

14 March 2016

Royal State Visit Leftovers of the Day: March 14

Let's pick up where we left off with the Dutch state visit to France. This was day two, and it was groovy.

Your standard retro-ish Natan ensemble kicked things off for Queen Máxima, with a voluminous coat - one of those where it's a constant roll of the dice whether it will appear that the extra volume belongs to the coat or to you - and an expression that tells me she's already anticipating any Rodent Hat jokes I might make. Standard, all of it.

Standard in the day leaves you room for...uh, non-standard at night, I guess, when the couple hosted a return concert. Excuse me while I add another number to my MAX ONLY file.

I admire the determination to force at least one gown into this visit. Really, this Tom Ford dress (with its black velvet top, oh-so-groovy pink satin squiggles, and fringe bottom) manages to bridge the gap between the Dutch black tie and the less formal attire of some of their guests in a playful way, and that deserves some applause.

My only problem here is that I think a less traditional jewelry choice might have been more the ticket, and this is a problem because questioning ruby and diamond earrings and diamond rivière necklaces is causing me physical pain. I need to lie down.

Photos: via Getty Images, Lyst, MyTheresa

13 March 2016

Sunday Tidbits for March 13: Outfits Galore

'Tis an extra sartorial tidbits edition today:

--The Swedish royal ladies are up to their old maternity style sharing ways: Princess Sofia wore a navy dress from Seraphine which she may have borrowed from Crown Princess Victoria, and a white Seraphine jacket of her own that Victoria also owns, all for an audience with UN ambassadors. [ParisMatch, The Royals and I]

--The Earl and Countess of Wessex finished up their Caribbean trip, where Sophie's sartorial strategy seemed to be print dress + jacket/cover (not a bad way to go, on the whole). I'd say the most successful was day five, and the most interesting was day three. [Countess of Wessex Blog]

--The end of Germany's state visit to Belgium included this kicky repeated red number on Queen Mathilde, which might have been a visit best for her. Check.Those.Shoes. [ParisMatch]
Belgian Monarchy Twitter

--Now we need a joint Crown Princess Mette-Marit/Queen Letizia engagement, just so they can wear their colorful Zara jackets together. [Minmote]
Zara jacket worn by Mette-Marit

--QEII wore a zazzy hat and a serious brooch for a joint engagement with Prince Charles. Cake was cut, jokes were made, good times. [Jewel Vault]

Coming up this week: State visit leftovers and more...

11 March 2016

Royal State Visit of the Day: March 11

Just as Mette-Marit pops up to remind us of her evening take on a geometrically divided dress, Máxima turns up to show us how it's done daytime style.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima started a state visit to France yesterday. Máx always cranks her volume up to eleven on state visits, and she didn't disappoint this time around. Claes Iversen created her peachy/salmony/beigey dress and Fabienne Delvigne added a new matching hat in Máxima's signature big brim style. She threw in her big pink earrings and the small blue pin of the French National Order of Merit, which she received when President Hollande visited the Netherlands.
This is quite a masterful dress design, if you ask me. Those sleek lines could end up in a very Star Trek sort of place, but Iversen avoids the sci-fi by using them to frame lace panels. Likewise, big front pocket panels are so often an unfortunate decision, but the contours created by the design keep it well away from anything potentially bulk-adding. She looks good.

Video: Day events. Don't miss the back of the dress...

With a state visit comes a state banquet, but as it was for the recent Spanish and Swedish state visits, President Hollande's dinner was not a tiara affair. (Ah, well, not everybody has QEII Privilege.)
I knew Queen Máxima would manage to sneak in some sort of hair ornament anyway. She opted for the Borneo jewels, a gold and diamond set given given to Queen Wilhelmina for her investiture, wearing the earrings and bracelet and sticking the brooch in her hair.
The jewels were the perfect complement for her gold sequined dress (once again giving us as much sparkle as she can within the circumstances, bless her). I'm divided on the transparent detail at the bottom of the skirt, which I find equal parts interest-generating and shower curtain comparison-making. I'll call it a win overall. Et toi?

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

10 March 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Chaumet Bowknot Tiara

The Chaumet Bowknot Tiara
I have a particular fondness for tiaras with pink stones, and it’s a fondness I have indulged several times already on this site: the flowery Savoy Pink Tourmaline Tiara, the imperial Russian Nuptial Tiara with its central pink diamond, the stately Württemberg Pink Topaz Tiara, the extravagant Bagration Parure with its pink spinels, and the flexible Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara with its optional pink topaz centerpiece.
Tiara close up on display in 2011
Another member of that rare pink tiara group is the Chaumet Bowknot Tiara. Chaumet’s tiara-making roots go back to 1780 and its founder, Marie-Etienne Nitot, whose name is tied to several of the great parures from the French empire. The Bagration Parure also has ties to the French maison, as it is attributed to J.B. Fossin, another who shaped the beginnings of the firm.
A model wears the tiara for an haute couture show in 2010
The Bowknot Tiara comes from Joseph Chaumet and was made around 1900. Swags of diamond ribbons are tied into bows between pink topaz stones with additional collet-set diamonds and leaves in this Belle Époque tiara, which is set in gold and silver. It seems to have a slightly smaller scale compared to the aforementioned pink tiaras, which suits the delicate design well. (It was also shown in Spanish Vogue, where the difference in model and hairstyle gave it a slightly larger, feel. Click here to see.)
The tiara is in Chaumet’s own collection today, so exhibitions and the occasional modeling appearance mean we get to see it in action. You can see it in person now, as a matter of fact: it is included in the Une Education Sentimentale exhibition at Chaumet’s Place Vendôme boutique in Paris, which runs through September 24.

(Special thanks to Kaaren for the heads up!)

Photos: Chaumet, via Getty Images