Imperial Royals At Spring Garden Party

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended an annual spring garden party hosted by the Emperor and Empress yesterday at the Akasaka Imperial Garden.

Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko led her family in an elegant white wool suit topped with her large white saucer hat with pink petal trim. Within the realm of the empress’ style, it was a lovely hat for this event.

 Empress Michiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 24, 2014December 2, 2013

Crown Princess Masako was also in white, pairing her suit with a squared bowler hat with short, upturned brim. If you look closely, you will see that the band around the crown of this piece is anchored by very slim braided trim which brings some much needed texture to it.

Crown Princess Masako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: November 5, 2014

From a distance, Princess Kiko’s pale green hat looked to be a silk covered pillbox but closeup, it revealed itself to be a bumper hat with flat, upfolded cuff brim. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a square-crowned pink hat with short rolled brim.The shape of this piece looks like a cross between a bowler hat and a top hat… a hybrid that I’m not keen on.

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako and Princess Kiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat is new. Princess Kiko’s hat was worn April 26, 2007
Princess Hanako of Hitachi, seen below on the left repeated her smart ecru hat with square crown and linear, upturned brim.
Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her pale aqua suit with a whimsical hat wrapped in a swath of coordinating tulle that leaves one thinking of cotton candy. Princess Princess Akiko’s rounded crown white hat featured what looks like a moulded sash and brim combination in the same pale celery as her suit. Princess Yoko wore a pink hat in the same square crowned shape as the one worn by Princess Mako. A wide ruched silk sash wrapped around the crown, ending in a flat bow on the side.
Princess Akiko and Princess Nobuko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats       MIkasa Princesses, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Hisako of Takamado wore an suit and matching hat, both from the same ecru patterned silk. The hat featured a low, flat crown and short, U-shaped curled brim- a shape which, unfortunately, looks like a squashed top hat.
Princess Hisako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
The most dramatic millinery shapes of the day were worn by the younger Takamado Princesses. Princess Tsuguko topped her navy and black printed dress and jacket with a wide brimmed black picture hat trimmed in what looks to be a wide bleu sash (or long navy feathers?) wrapped around the flat sided crown. Princess Ayako topped her pale lilac ensemble with a matching saucer hat, placed at the most rakish angle we’ve seen among the Imperial royals in a long time. Both ensembles showed more personality than we’ve seen in a long time on Imperial Royals, something that fills me with glee!
 Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
It is always fun to see such large scale royal hatted events such as this one, even if the hats are not exciting. The last two certainly piqued my curiosity (oh how I wish we could see them better) which is not something I often can say about Imperial millinery. What do you think of this parade of Japanese royal hats? Are any of them worthy for your nomination of favourite hat worn this month?
Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi ShimbunThe Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and Sankei

17 thoughts on “Imperial Royals At Spring Garden Party

  1. I would actually wear the last 2 hats. And I’ve NEVER said that about one of the Japanese royal hats.

  2. Very intriguing choices from the two younger princesses. Since we can’t see the details very well, I’m selecting the Empress’s as my favorite. The proportions are lovely and the trim is a nice reference to both the season and the event.

  3. “Princess Hanako of Takamado” should be “Princess Hisako of Takamado”

    For hats, I prefer the Empress, CP Masako, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako’s choices. Others are ok. Princess Akiko’s overall look was best. I wish the photographers would take photos of the extended family.

  4. The Empress looks sublime in her off-white sauce over the jacket with its one lapel. Her couturiers and milliners certainly don’t need many patterns.
    Princess Tsuguko obviously didn’t get the “pastels only” memo. I wonder whether the older princesses looked upon her and Princess Ayako with her rakishly angled saucer with shock at their not conforming to tradition or with admiration for their independence. Had anyone seriously disapproved of Princess Tsuguko’s or Princess Asako’s outfits, however, I doubt they would have been included in the photographs.

  5. I looked at all the ladies, and apart from Princess Tsuguko who seems to have flown the coop, the word “demure” came to me. I’m sure it has been used before to describe the fashion of the Imperial ladies, but it seems apt. It is lovely to see CP Masako. My favourite outfit is Princess Akiko’s.

  6. It gave me quite a jolt to see Princess Tsuguko in a navy print. Mostly the ladies of the family wear pastel colours with matching hats, so this one stands out as something different! Do you think the younger Royals are going to start a rebellion, and wear bold colours, patterned fabrics and even the odd jumpsuit in the future?

    • Bold colours? We occasionally see that from time to time already. But jumpsuits…. somehow, I don’t think so!

      As long as the Imperial Household Agency is involved, I think key words for Japanese royal fashion will continue to be ‘sedate’ and ‘demure’.

  7. For the Japanese Imperial Family, their styles rarely change, so it’s really all about the small details. Here, the Empress’ choice of infusing a little light pink into her outfit and hat is a great choice, and breaks the mold from the greys and blues she prefers.

    Always good to see Masako, but I do find the white boring for her, especially since we know she has bolder colors in her closet and can wear them well. I also love how she prefers to wear her hair down while most of the other princesses always have it up.

    I usually find Kiko to be my least favorite-dressed princess, but for the second time in as many weeks I have liked her outfit; I may also be a bit biased since this one was green haha. This may be a new hat for Mako, but her whole ensemble looks like things she has worn before, so there’s nothing more for me to say.

    It’s the extended family that brings out the hattery fun, and, like most photos of other royal families, unfortunately these cousins always escape the closeup shots by photographers (boo!). I would love to have much better views of all of these hats. Akiko’s whole ensemble reminds me of an Audrey Hepburn outfit in “Paris When It Sizzles” a.k.a. the princess looks very chic despite the lack of color. Of course Tsuguko is the one I really wanna see, bringing on the bold color and the bold millinery (at least for the Japanese); finally, very interesting how Ayako is wearing a saucer headpiece, something I can’t recall ever seeing amongst Japanese millinery (excluding the Empress’ own personal style of saucer hats).

  8. I loved HatQueen’s expression “within the realm of the empress’ style.” This admirably articulates the abbreviated deviation of imperial fashion from a very pure and elegant mean. It is beautiful, severe, and serene, but it lacks vivacity. However, within that range, it is fascinating. ( I will say I have never seen the Crown Princess look lovelier or happier. Her hat suits her very well. The width of the band is almost the same as the width of the lapels of her jacket which gives it almost too much unifying effect.) As pleasing as many of these hats are, none seems exciting enough to warrant a favorite hat of the month nomination.

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