31 May 2011

Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 22-28 May

Here's what Victoria wore from 22-28 May:

1. Day 1 of the official visit to Germany with Daniel, 24 May. This is cute and fun - thumbs up.
2. Dinner on Day 1, 24 May. Compared to the other dresses in this row, this one is my least favorite. Just a lot of stuff going on here with all the ruching and big jewelry and such.
3. a) Day 2, 25 May, and b) from Escada. Another Escada thumbs up from me - feminine, all around loveliness.
4. Day 2 again, 25 May. I should probably give out the same crap I usually do to the likes of Mathilde for all the matching accessories, but I won't. Because those shoes are fierce, and that dress is perfect.

5. a) Day 3, 26 May, and b) from Lanvin. Here's the thing about snakeskin print: a little goes a long way. Shoes AND a dress? No. (Also, I don't know, was this really the best choice for a visit to the Holocaust Memorial?)
6. a) Dinner at the Swedish embassy on Day 3, 26 May, and b) from Escada. I miss the pretty hair-down situation from when she wore this back in August.
7. Day 4, 27 May. Loving the dress, and loving the idea of adding a belt...just not loving this belt. Looks a little cheap-o to me, the way it stands apart from the dress.

Best and Worst of the Week
Surprisingly difficult to pick a best this week! I liked both of the pink Escadas, but in the end the fit and the jewel tone blue won the week for me. It wasn't at all hard, on the other hand, to pick a worst: just a giant NO on the snakeskin affair.

Photos: PurePeople/Abaca/Svenskdam

Week in Review: Charlene Wittstock, 22-28 May

Here's what Charlene wore from 22-28 May:

  1. Attending the Amber Lounge Fashion Show, 27 May. No, I can't approve of the trousers. No.
  2. At the Monaco Grand Prix, 28 May. Very Charlene, this.
  3. Grand Prix JetSet party, 28 May. And this too, just tremendously Charlene. All these three are from Akris.
Also, a new photoshoot was published this week. Char and Al were photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for Madame Le Figaro magazine.
Hey, I'm just glad to see her in couture that isn't Armani Privé (well, solely Armani, I should say). Love the second and last looks. Karl's tight with Caroline, maybe he'll take Charlene under his wing...ah, a girl can dream.

Photos: Hola

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 22-28 May

Here's what Letizia wore from 22-28 May:

  1. Attending the Caja Madrid Foundation Frants Ceremony, 24 May. Often repeated blue suit, again.
  2. At a meeting for the Spanish Association Against Cancer and audiences at Zarzuela Palace, 26 May. Thing we just saw in Israel, though I'm enjoying the addition of a pearl rope this time.
  3. Celebrating Miguel Urdangarín's first communion, 28 May. Aha! Something old, but different! Repeating part of that lovely dress we loved so much from Sofia's christening for another outdoor religious ceremony, this time over a gray dress. Loves it!
Photos: Daylife/Getty Images

30 May 2011

Week in Review: Princess Eugenie, 22-28 May

Here's what Eugenie wore from 22-28 May:

  1. Out shopping with her mother and then out later with her boyfriend.
  2. Out for dinner with Beatrice and Sarah, 25 May.
  3. Leaving a nightclub, 28 May, drink stains included. Keepin' it classy.
Update: At a launch party for Rob Lowe's book, 27 May.
    Photos: Murray Saunders/Daily Mail/Xposurephotos.com/Optic Photos/Hollandse Hoogte

    Week in Review: Princess Beatrice, 22-28 May

    Here's what Beatrice wore from 22-28 May:

    1. At the Chelsea Flower Show, 23 May, a) with jacket, b) without, and c) from Roland Mouret. Still girlcrushing on this look, though it was obviously a downhill week from this point...
    2. Out to dinner with Sarah and Eugenie, 25 May. See, this is just okay, nothing horrendous, nothing fantastic.
    3. At the racetrack in Monaco, 28 May. And this, well, this is a fine dress...and clearly the shoes you bring that you only plan on wearing when your feet just can't take all your other shoe options anymore.
    Photos: Getty Images/Daylife/Bergdorff Goodman/Xposurephotos.com/Daily Mail//Isopix

    Week in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge, 22-28 May

    Here's what Catherine wore from 22-28 May:

    1. Greeting the Obamas at Buckingham Palace, 24 May, a) on Kate and b) from Reiss. Are we all talked out about this dress? I think it's fine. How's that for a scintillating assessment?
    Photos: Reuters/Daily Mail/Reiss

    28 May 2011

    Royal Fashion Awards: Máxima's 40th Birthday Concert

    A gala concert was held yesterday in the Netherlands to celebrate Princess Máxima's 40th birthday. Though I personally feel that the most appropriate form of tribute to the greatest royal magpie on the block would have been a tiara 'do, the Dutch obviously disagreed with me. I'll work on getting over this tremendous letdown while you judge some fashion:

    Best of the Sisters
    Princess Irene
    Left to Right: Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Christina of the Netherlands
    Which sister do you think happened on the top + skirt combo first and spread the word? Bea, I bet. They all have the same pros and cons for me, but I'll say Irene is my favorite here. I like a skirt with a kicky little print. (Rather than a kicky big print like Christina. Or maybe it's not that big, it's just orange.)

    Best of the Psuedo Pregnancies
    Princess Nikolaos
    L to R: Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau, Princess Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
    Whether you are or you are not pregnant, I think your dress goal is the same: to look as un-pregnant as possible. Unless you're one of these three ladies. Mabel isn't working the empire waist look, but that print is so dizzying she might as well be hiding quadruplets under there. That said: on a Mabel scale, this is pretty good. On the other hand, I find Tatiana's sheath a little underwhelming on a Tatiana scale, but compared to Aimée, it's a clear best. What is happening with Aimée's dress? Basket on top, nighty on bottom, and matching heels? In Army green and/or brown? No.

    Best of the Questionable
    Crown Princess Mary
    L to R: Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess Annette of Orange-Nassau, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
    Looks like I was right: Isabella's tutu did inspire folks to get out their ballerina best and prance around! Well, Mary, at least. I don't understand the length happening here, but it's just pretty, so I like it anyways. Likewise, I like Anita's red dress, but I don't understand the bolero happening on there. I want to like Annette's, but I can't tell what's design and what's undergarment failure happening here. Same thing goes for Laurentien and her general chest-al area.

    Best of the Worst
    Crown Princess Pavlos
    L to R: Princess Marilène of Orange-Nassau, Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece, Princess Annemarie of Bourbon-Parma
    Look at this ravishing display of home decorating fabrics! We have Marilène in a lovely upholstered crushed velvet with a drapery top, Annemarie in the best that today's fancy occasion tablecloths have to offer, and Marie-Chantal in a deconstructed duvet cover topped by a shirt straight out of my granny's closet. Oh, M-C.

    Best of the Best
    Princess Mathilde
    L to R: Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
    Birthday girl time! Though I was initially underwhelmed by the color, the more it moved, the more I fell in love. It's dramatic, and that's exactly what our girl needs. Bonus points for sticking as many jewels on as she could manage, even though that brooch is a little awkward. Sadly, it wasn't enough to win my best for the night. Rosario (in her regular couture chic), Carolina (in a divine color and fit), and Märtha Louise (in something totally her, yet also normal, for a change) were also in the running, but didn't win the race. That prize goes to Mathilde. When I saw her in this goddess white gown, I said - out loud, to myself, like a crazy person - "Whoa, Mathilde!" And I don't think I've ever said that about a Mathilde outfit. Clearly grounds for the biggest prize of the night.

    Who wins your best- and worst-dressed awards for the night?

    Photos: PPE/Nieboer/v.d.Werf/Isopix/Action Press/volksrant.nl

    Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 15-21 May

    Here's what Mette-Marit wore from 15-21 May:

    1. National Day celebrations, 17 May. Well, hello again, M-M! Haven't seen you in a while. Missed you, and your gorgeous national costume.
    2. Balcony appearance, 17 May. What a natty day for gentlemen's fashion in Norway, eh? First the britches, now the top hats. But back to the Mette-Marit: this is the outfit of a future Queen, if you know what I mean.
    Photos: Svenskdam

    Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 15-21 May

    Here's what Letizia wore from 15-21 May:

    1. Attending the funeral of Fernando Moreno y de Borbón, 18 May. Last week the earthquake stuff, this week a funeral...I hope she gets an engagement holding puppies or something soon.
    2. Audiences at Zarzuela Palace, 18 May, a) on Letizia, and b) from Hugo Boss Orange. Have also seen this said to be from Adolfo Dominquez, so you be the judge. I don't care who made it: I'm not a fan. I say, if you're going for a baggy top, have a good fit on the bottom. Not bagginess all the way around - nobody wants to die from drowning by fabric.

    Photos: Diario Feminino/Hugo Boss/Life

    Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 15-21 May

    Here's what Máxima wore from 15-21 May:

    1. a) Handing out the Apples of Orange prize, 17 May, and b) from Natan. Looks better on Máx than it does on the runway, I'll give her that.
    2. a) Attending an exhibition on managing money for kids, 18 May, and b) from Natan. This sort of reminds me of the blue band uniform thing she wore that one time in terms of comical button-ness. On this one, she should have stuck to the runway.
    3. Visiting a class in Rotterdam, 20 May, a) full view and b) close up. I can't even see it, but it looks like a good enough fit to make my best of the week. Except for this:
    I do enjoy the clutch from outfit 2. I'm a sucker for a whimsical accessory.

    Photos: PPE/PurePeople/Abaca/Natan

    27 May 2011

    Flashback Friday: When Obamas Meet Royals

    Hey, did you guys know that the President and First Lady of the United States went all the way to the United Kingdom this week just to meet Kate? (And William, I suppose.) (Oh, and other people that are actually important to U.S./U.K. relations. Details, details.)

    Even though this state visit has captured the largest headlines of all, the Obamas have hobnobbed with royalty quite frequently. Surprisingly frequently, I'd say, given the very few state visits they have participated in to date.

    Of course, meetings with royalty from the Middle East have been frequent. Not only do monarchies there tend to have greater power than their European counterparts, the United States has great interests in the region.
    King Abdullah of Jordan is an ally, and while he has spent time with the President, Queen Rania has spent time with Michelle Obama.
    They've even met my beloved Sheikha Mozah of Qatar! (Though, dare I say it, not on her finest fashion day?)

    The President met Japan's Emperor Akihitio and Empress Michiko, causing a snit in the U.S. over the depth of his bow in the process. Same thing happened when he met the King of Saudi Arabia.
    (Not that everything he does doesn't cause a snit to start with. Such is the climate these days.)

    The Nobel Peace Prize brought him to Norway for a meeting with the King Harald and the whole crew.
    Quite an interesting shade on Mrs. O. in that top picture, no? What are we calling that? Puce? (My own personal rule of dressing is not to wear colors that are anywhere near puke in name or shade.)

    Campaigning for Chicago for the 2016 Olympic Games took them to Denmark, to hang out with Margrethe and Henrik...
     ...and Mary and Frederik, and IOC members Prince Albert and Princess Anne (no face necessary there, the hair's all the identification we need). Alas, Michelle's attempt at subliminal messaging with her gold wardrobe was a failure.

    The First Lady took a private vacation to Spain with one of her daughters (no, I don't know which one is which), during which she met Juan Carlos, Sofia, and Letizia.
    And during which Letizia ended up out-smarting them all. (Not that most things wouldn't be considered extra smart when standing next to Sofia's muu muu-looking thing.)

    A few royals have stopped to visit the Obamas during trips to the States, including Máxima and Willem-Alexander.

    Queen Silvia dropped by the White House too, during one of her trips for her World Childhood Foundation.

    And now we're back to Britain. The Queen and Prince Philip have met them before, as have Charles and Camilla. Michelle drew criticism from Oscar de la Renta by wearing a cardigan to Buckingham Palace (inappropriate! too casual!) - but he doesn't seem to approve of her mode of dressing at any time. (Though in this instance, I must agree. Much smarter during this visit.)
    The Duke cracks me up in this picture - that stance, that facial expression. "Oh, here we go again, with the tall Americans." He's a treasure, I tell you.

    Anyways, on to the state visit at hand. Can I tell you something? I found the whole thing rather snooze-worthy.
    I mean, it's no wonder Kate got all the press. There's nothing else to talk about! The Queen: typical. (Clearly she had her funky moment for the year, and now she's done.) Camilla: same old thing we've seen a bazillion times.
    Grand Duchess Vladimir's tiara with hanging pearls for the Queen along with Queen Victoria's coronation necklace at the state banquet, and emeralds for the return dinner. The only story here is that she wore the Teck corsage brooch for the first time in a really long time, and that she left off her family orders. Camilla's wearing the Boucheron tiara, same one she always wears. Anne's wearing the Meander tiara, her most frequent pick. And because it was a Buckingham Palace dinner, we don't get good photos of the other royal ladies in attendance: the Duchess of Gloucester, the Countess of Wessex (in her wedding tiara), Princess Michael of Kent (City of London fringe tiara), or Princess Alexandra. So, boo.

    With the royals snoozing it up, it's on to the political ladies:
    Click to enlarge, as always.
    I don't always love what Michelle Obama wears, but I love that she's not afraid of color, and she's not stuck in that Stepford wife political mode.

    The same things can apply to Samantha Cameron, I guess, but...
    No. The second one is okay, but..no. I'm sorry, SamCam is supposed to be some kind of fashion icon, and I don't get it. Mostly I think she looks like she's trying to be edgy, but she doesn't seem to have the edgy persona to finish the job. She's yet to wow me.

    What did you make of the latest state visit? And who wins the fashion stakes when it comes to meeting the Obamas?

    Photos: Getty/Reuters/Daylife/Daily Mail

    26 May 2011

    Tiara Thursday: Some of Grace's Tiaras

    The countdown is on for the wedding in Monaco, and you know what that means: it's time to start talking about tiaras. (When isn't it time to start talking about tiaras?)

    When Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco, she didn't inherit a large jewel collection. Rainier's mother, Princess Charlotte, had a few pieces of significance; but as she reportedly didn't approve of Grace, she wasn't sharing. Thus, Grace built her own collection with presents and purchases, and she wasn't averse to borrowing pieces from jewelers to supplement as needed. There isn't a tremendous amount of information available about the Grimaldi tiara collection, but over the next few weeks, we'll look in depth at some of the more significant pieces. To start us off today, a selection of Grace's less significant (and more mysterious) tiaras and hair ornaments.

    Perhaps because of the relatively small size of her collection, Grace was prone to elaborate hairstyles ornamented with jewels (both real and costume, I'd assume) in lieu of a tiara.

    The shape of the hair ornament in the far right picture above recalls the shape of one of Grace's tiaras, the Serre-Chignon. She received it as a wedding gift and wore it to celebrate the Shah of Iran's Coronation (below, left).
    The ruby ornament on the right is again a similar shape, though it does not look similar enough to me to be the same. I am, of course, no expert.

    Rubies and diamonds were a very popular combination with Grace, which comes as no surprise since they represent the colors of Monaco. She wore this ruby tiara, which may have been a loan:

    Another tiara of question is this high and narrow model:
    This one could potentially have some colored stones involved, but it's difficult to tell.

    In the "interesting materials" category, we have this metal diadem, possibly gold or white gold, though it looks like a theatrical piece to me:

    We also have this tiara:
    I'd wager a guess that this is a diamond necklace on hair parade, though it almost has a rock crystal look to it.

    Switching over to something we actually have facts about for a change: this is without a doubt the grandest piece Grace ever wore, and it was a loan.
    This tiara formerly belonged to Empress Joséphine, and is now owned by Van Cleef & Arpels. They loaned it to Grace for the "Century Ball" in Monaco in 1966 along with the rest of the jewels she wore that evening. Here it is, in all it's glory:

    As I said, we have more tiaras from Monaco to review in the coming weeks. I'm very curious to see what the wedding and the future Princess Charlene bring to the table, jewel-wise. Monaco, you see, isn't really a tiara-prone country. There isn't a precedent for tiaras on their brides: Grace didn't wear a tiara, and neither did Stephanie or Caroline at any of their ceremonies. On the other hand, there is a precedent for tiaras at pre-wedding events: Grace and Rainier hosted a concert on the eve of their religious wedding at which she sported a tiara, and she also wore a tiara to the white-tie ball held before Caroline's first wedding. Albert and Charlene will have a similar concert the night before their religious ceremony. The ceremony itself is at 5 pm with a ball to follow, but the dress code is hats for ladies (which is, in my personal opinion, both strange and a crying shame).

    I'm also curious to see what Princess Charlene will be wearing after the wedding. Grace's personal jewels were apparently left to Princess Caroline, with the provision that she share with Princess Stephanie. Additionally, the jewels that did belong to Rainier's mother Princess Charlotte seem to have ended up in Caroline's possession as well, as she's the only one that's been seen wearing them. The keys could very well be in Caroline's hands. We shall see...

    25 May 2011

    Wedding Wednesday: Little Bridesmaids in White

    I have been saying that we would cover the wee members of royal bridal parties since we talked about the adult bridesmaids, and it's finally time for me to make that good on that promise. This is a huge category, so consider this Part 1: The School that Kate Borrowed From.

    Who can forget Grace Van Cutsem's infamous photo bomb, or Eliza Lopes' Wiggly Worm and its official photograph appearance? Yes, the most recent royal wedding served as one giant reminder of this simple fact: tiny bridal party members are hilarious. And, of course, cute as can be. Kate stuck to the most common strategy for small royal bridesmaids: dress 'em up frilly and in white. It's unfailingly adorable. Here, I'll show you:

    Left to Right: the bridal party at the wedding of Diana and Charles, Princess Margaret with Antony Armstrong-Jones and their attendants
    Kate's bridesmaids reminded me heavily of Diana's little girls, with their big skirts and yellow sashes. Princess Margaret also went the girlish route with her pack of bridesmaids.

    It's a very common British royal thing, you see.
    L to R, members of the bridal parties of the weddings of: Lady Helen Windsor and Tim Taylor, Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly, Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman, Lady Rose Windsor and George Gilman.
    There are more young British bridesmaids in white, too, but we'll get to those next week. For now, we'll just have to share a collective awww for that little thing from Peter and Autumn's wedding.

    On to the other countries:
    L to R, members of bridal parties at the weddings of: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Silvia Sommerlath, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby
    I loved Crown Princess Victoria's bridesmaids - so modern, yet still adorable! For once I wasn't wondering if the older members of the party secretly wanted to shoot themselves for being forced into little girl party dresses. Plus, they sort of seemed to be a nod to the simplicity of her mother's wedding gown.

    Bridesmaids at the wedding of Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark and Tatiana Blatnik
    Now, Tatiana's bridesmaids, I sort of liked. I mean, they were a bit of a mish-mash with the different styles and ranges of children, but they fit the island theme. And hey, this is a lot better than the adult bridesmaids.

    L to R, members of bridal parties at the weddings of: Princess Astrid of Belgium and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este, Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Princess Sophie of Bavaria, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark and Carlos Morales
    I prefer Princess Alexia's take: can't go wrong with the simple white dress and a coordinating sash. Even when the rest of your bridal party members look like members of a traveling Shakespeare review (hello, Astrid).

    Even more in white, just to finish us out:
    L to R, members of the bridal parties at the weddings of: Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg and Archduke Carl Christian of Austria, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg and Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs, Prince Floris of Orange-Nassau and Aimée Söhngen, Crown Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg

    The one downside of going the classic route and dressing your party in white: it's rarely memorable. Do you have a favorite here, or have they all started to blend together?

    Until next time, when we cover everyone else...