22 May 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Máxima's Double Duty Dress

What was it I said when Princess Madeleine wore a blush pink Roksanda Ilincic with massive sleeves to Prince Oscar's christening last year? Ahem: "I imagine Madeleine has already been fielding inquiries from Queen Máxima about this dress – no way does a sleeve this dramatic slip past our Dutch queen."

Queen Máxima and Qatar's Sheikha Mozah attended a seminar on Protection and Education In Conflict Zones in The Hague last week.
Forgive me, but: CALLED IT. Queen Máxima chose a more vivid color for her version of the dress, an iris hue, and it's really quite fabulous on her - a better choice than the rest of the bell sleeves in her closet. (You know she has a whole section.) In a full length it would have been fabulous on Sheikha Mozah too, whose sleek style is uncharacteristically buried under all those pleats.

Máxima's dress by Roksanda
What's interesting about Máxima and this dress is how she made it pull double duty. The same day, she joined the King for a state event. An added hat was a must, of course; this being Máx, she also threw in a jewelry switch up.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima formally welcomed the President and First Lady of Mozambique to the Netherlands.
While Sheikha Mozah warranted tanzanite drop earrings and a pair of modern diamond bow brooches, the official welcome called for diamond earrings and a large brooch probably from the depths of the royal vault. I'm having visions of a vault wall filled with a complicated flow chart dictating appropriate jewelry levels for appropriate events...though any chance for double the jewelry is a chance our Máx will take, truly.

20 May 2017

A Wedding for the Weekend: Pippa Middleton Gets Married

It might not technically be a royal wedding, but we're not ones to complain about a little extra bridal glamour, are we? We are not. Let's have a little looksee - just a brief one - at the bride of the weekend and her royal guests...

Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, married James Matthews at St. Mark's Church, Englefield Green, England. 
The bride's dress comes from Giles Deacon. It features a high neckline and cap sleeve with hand appliquéd bespoke silk cotton lace designed to create the illusion of a no seam dress. The corseted bodice is embroidered with pearls and the underskirt has layers of organza and tulle.

With her pearl-embroidered tulle veil by milliner Stephen Jones, Pippa wore a Maidenhair Fern tiara and matching headpiece from Robinson Pelham, the jewelers who also made her earrings; the earrings are the same ones she wore to her sister's royal wedding in 2011 and are companions to Kate's wedding earrings. I can't say I follow Pippa's style at all, and yet this feels just right for her, doesn't it?

The Duchess of Cambridge was on hand to wrangle the train and the wee bridal party, which included Prince George and Princess Charlotte (in bespoke outfits from Pepa & Co.). Kate chose Alexander McQueen for her blush pink dress, Jane Taylor for her matching hat, and Kiki McDonough for her earrings (yup, another new pair!). It's a lovely and understated look, with many comparisons to similar pieces she's worn in the past - something I'm sure will win her much praise for not overshadowing her sister. I think I might have preferred a sleeker hat, but if I'm honest, those percher hats she adores are a hard sell for me in the first place.

My wedding guest swoons for the day belong to Princess Eugenie, who looks faaaaabulous! The perfect dress shape for her (it's from Paule Ka, per Polka Poppins on Twitter), and she's keeping the York sisters love of interesting shoes alive with a little added color. LOVE.

I'll also never miss a sighting of Lady Gabriella Windsor, daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Wearing her usual picks - Catherine Walker with a Philip Treacy hat - she's really got the old world royal elegance down pat.

Happy wedding gazing and happy weekend, all!

19 May 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Letizia at Infanta Sofia's First Communion

This week: Kate stepped out in icy blue, QEII went minty fresh, and Letizia's lace was in a duck egg mood. Pale blue/green coats are having a moment.

The Spanish royal family attended Infanta Sofia's first communion this week, held with her classmates.
Queen Letizia selected a dress and coat from Felipe Varela with lace sleeves and side detailing for the occasion, accessorized with diamond earrings, silver shoes, a silver clutch, and a matching husband.

This new outfit gives her something of a style twin moment with...herself. Shades of aqua and the guipure lace look also featured in her selection for the first communion of elder daughter Leonor in 2015. The kids have their school uniform for the event, Letizia has her Felipe Varela uniform.

The Princess of Asturias' first communion, 2015
So, which Letizia wore it better? I'll take the 2015 version, myself. Although the clear shoes and clear clutch she sported back then were - and will always remain - a hard pass.

18 May 2017

Royal Style Twins of the Day: Stéphanie at the Cannes Film Festival

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg attended the opening gala of the Cannes Film Festival yesterday.
You have to glam it up for Cannes, right? Princess Stéphanie knows how it's done. One of her best looks right here. This white Ralph Lauren dress also featured in a recent sartorial highlight for another royal, so it's a tried and true choice.

Ralph Lauren/Polar Music Prize Instagram
Crown Princess Victoria wore this dress to the Polar Music Prize last summer, and it was one of her best 2016 outfits. Part of what makes these twin appearances so fabulous is that both used the dress as a canvas for a major jewelry statement: a huge shoulder necklace from the H&M Conscious Collection for Victoria, and the debut of a serious pair of earrings for Stéphanie.

A pink-toned stone surrounded by lines of diamonds! Quick, get my fainting couch. And the number for those jewel thieves.

17 May 2017

Tiara Thursday (on a Wednesday): Grand Duchess Hilda’s Tiara

Your weekly tiara’s coming at you a day ahead of schedule! This diadem has been in the news recently, because there's nothing quite like a juicy jewel theft to grab some attention.

Grand Duchess Hilda's Tiara
Badisches Landesmuesum
Made in the early 20th century by German jeweler Schmidt-Staub, this tiara is a classical design featuring a diamond ribbon undulating between swags of laurel wreaths, with a triple tier base and the solid top line of a kokoshnik shape. The platinum and gold diadem includes 367 brilliant diamonds in an à jour setting, meaning the back of the setting is left open to allow the maximum amount of light to filter through the diamonds. There are also diamond pendants in the design, another feature that will pick up extra light. Light makes diamonds come alive, so the tiara must have been far more spectacular in use than it ever could be in a photograph. (That's almost always true anyway, but especially with construction like this).

Grand Duchess Hilda
The tiara was commissioned for Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden (1864-1952), who was the daughter of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg. Although the exact timing of the tiara’s commission is unknown, it was likely created around 1907 for Hilda for her husband’s coronation as Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden. The couple were the last Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden; they were deposed in 1918, along with the rest of the German monarchs.

Princess Editha
Hilda, who had no children of her own, gave this tiara to her niece, Crown Princess Antoinette of Bavaria (1899-1954). Antoinette’s daughter, Princess Editha of Bavaria (1924-2013), was the last known family member to wear the tiara publicly. Grand Duchess Hilda’s Tiara was first sold in 1973; later, in 1984, it was purchased by the state-run Badisches Landesmuesum in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Badisches Landesmuesum
The museum placed the tiara on public display, where it remained until a couple weeks ago. On April 29, museum staff got an unfortunate shock when they discovered that the tiara was missing. It had been taken from inside its locked display cabinet in the museum's throne room. The stolen tiara has been valued at $1.31 million (€1.2 million), and the Baden-Württemberg police are still seeking any information about the theft. You don't often hear about stolen tiaras being found intact, but let’s hope this one finds its way back home.

What grade would you give this grand diadem?