Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2017

The annual ceremony of New Year’s Poetry Reading (Utakai Hajime) was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Friday. As per tradition, the Japanese royal ladies attended this event in court dress, just as they did for the annual New Years lectures last week. As host of the event, Empress Michiko was again not required to wear a hat.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko repeated her pale lime pillbox hat with lattice woven detail to match the bodice of her gown. The lattice looks to give some much needed texture to the hat and ties the ensemble together, beautifully.

Princess Kiko, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2013Dec 23, 2006

Princess Mako topped her gown with a bumper brimmed calot hat. While both pieces are impeccably cut, the head to hem use of the same printed pale gold pink silk is rather sedate.

Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2015

We can usually count on Princess Hanako to spice things up in the Imperial fashion stakes and she certainly delivered! Her rose silk hat featured a pork pie style crown around which was set a moulded brim. While the shape was interesting on its own, the hat was trimmed with feathers at the back and a half overlay of the same lace used on her gown. The half overlay is a wonderfully interesting design detail- not only does it make use of the lace’s beautifully scalloped border, it gives some textural contrast to the hat, saving the ensemble from head-to-toe lace overkill. This hat keeps drawing me in for a closer look, something that rarely happens with Imperial royal hats and that makes me love this piece all the more.

Princess Hanako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

What do you think of this trio of Imperial royal hats?

Photo from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty, NHK and Sankei

5 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2017

  1. I love Hanako’s hat, but I really it that I’ve gained perception about what I’m seeing thanks to this blog. I’m so sorry that my favorite Japanese royal, Princess Hisako, couldn’t attend the events this year.

  2. While I think Kiko looks good in this pale lime green, I have always found her to be the most boring in terms of Japanese imperial millinery. She plays it too safe and rarely ventures beyond this large pillbox shape. I think it’s a pity we find the lattice on her hat exciting.

    Mako looked good as well, but again, I find her choices rather boring.

    Of course, one is never bored with Hanako, and I am eternally grateful to her! I would love to have a much closer look at the details of this hat, because what I can see I find stunning. A great hat should could easily pair with a grey skirt suit and black blouse if she wanted (or a variety of other things, but keep the outfit simpler to maintain focus on the hat). Brava!

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