Closer Look At Princess Hisako’s Hats

Princess Hisako recently wore two hats that I think, require a closer look because of their interesting detail. So, I’m going to do something I don’t usually do and bring them forward for discussion! The first was worn back on May 22 to an exhibition at the Finish Embassy in Tokyo celebrating 100 years of Finish-Japanese diplomatic relations. If you open the photos below, both show good views of the scalloped brim of her hat, a design feature we don’t often see but is executed beautifully on this piece.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I think it’s new

The second hat first appeared last summer. It’s a wide-brimmed straw design with pork pie indented crown. At its first outing the hat was trimmed with a green twist in the same fabric as Hisako’s suit and appeared to have a wide stripe of white crin around the brim.

The hat made another appearance on May 25 this year at an African Festival in Yokohama.


Better views (and a helpful guest of wind!) showed that the white crin actually forms a second brim that overlays the black straw. The overlay is just attached at the intersection of brim and crown (where the hatband sits) which allows the crin to gently move on the overhanging edge.


Views of the back (open up the gallery below to see large-size photos) show great views not only of the crin overbrim, but of the indented crown and this hat’s new trim- a slim white hatband that ties in a bow at the back and a spray of black silk flowers. It’s sometimes difficult to tell when Imperial royal hats are renovated but this change is clear and interesting to look at in closer detail.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: August 6, 2018

Both hats have some unique features we don’t usually see on royal hats (much less Imperial ones)- what do you think, after seeing these improved views?

Photos from social media as indicated 

12 thoughts on “Closer Look At Princess Hisako’s Hats

  1. What a great post on one of my favorite Princesses! Princess Hisako always seems to be having the time of her life on these outings as evidenced by her beautiful and infectious smile.

    I adore the print on the second dress and I love her crin hat. Yes, it could be finished better at the back, but the style compliments her so well. The brim is a great size to flatter her.

    I do like the idea behind the scalloped edging on the first hat. I just wish the brim was slightly bigger to give more depth to the hat.

  2. The pale mauve/ cream outfit has the same scallop edges as the hat, the fabric has a pattern of very similar flowers and it is obviously all designed to echo the pretty design of the fabric. I love this look !

  3. Thanks HQ for initiating a discussion about these unusual hats. We are lucky that Princess Hisako is willing to experiment!
    Hat 1: I wish the scalloping on this blush hat was “picked out’ with a contrast colour — the scalloping doesn’t look regular enough from the front view, giving the (inaccurate) impression that something odd is going on with the brim. But, maybe the viewing angles were unlucky choices; so I’ll hold my opinion till we get more pics of this hat at a later wearing
    Hat 2: Ever since this dream of a hat by Treacy made its debut last year…
    Embed from Getty Images
    any subsequent black-and-white hats featuring crin trim are going to have a hard time measuring up. Which is where I’m left with Hisakos’ hat. It’s a wonderfully creative idea, which I feel has struck some practical hurdles. I am never a fan of large parts of a hat moving about unexpectedly, which is what this crin brim appears to be doing in a number of pics.(Ostrich feathers and ribbons are quite different, their movement is a textural effect). Any flapping makes the crin brim appear to be unsecured (even if it isn’t) and is distracting, not in a good way .
    I’m also not a fan of the seam in the back of the crin, and even more so because of the enormous seam allowance. I feel sure there is a millinery solution to this i.e hiding the seam with trim, or working the fabric to avoid a seam altogether.

    • Imperial royal hats are usually impeccably finished but I agree- the large seam allowance on the crin overbrim is a bit of a distraction. Maybe a French seam would be a simple solution?

      • Thanks a lot HQ for sorting out my embed error! hope I get this embedding right this time.
        I notice Philip Treacy has avoided the seam problem altogether for the crin brim of the Duchess’s hat, by tapering the ends so they disappear into the straw (below).
        It’s seeing less polished handling of millinery materials, that really makes me appreciate the skill of masters like Treacy.
        Embed from Getty Images

  4. Thank you HatQueen and the wonderful tweeters. 2 excellent hats. I adore the black and white hat and I’m glad Princess Hisako updated the trim. It’s more versatile now.

  5. Thank you for looking at these in more detail. As frequently happens I wouldn’t have picked up on the difference if not for your eagle eyes. I love love the scalloped brim of the first hat!

    The second trim is delightful. Reminds me a little of the Edwardian hats with all the lace and netting ladies would wear in Merchant Ivory films although not quite as elaborate.

  6. Repeating my comment from This Week’s Extras, when Avery and Maja posted these: I love the scalloped brim. It echoes the neckline and wrists of the suit and jacket without looking too “matchy.”

    Gorgeous print on the second dress. I wonder why Princess Hisako’s wardrobe choices tend to be more adventurous than the other Japanese royal ladies?

  7. The particular braiding of the (presumably straw) on the first hat is not something I’ve ever seen done with a hat’s brim; not my choice of hat for Hisako, but she wears it well and the quality seems to be good.

    The second hat has an old-school Italian elegance about it that I adore. The new trim is an improvement, and allows the hat to be paired with more outfits. My only complaint is how the crinoline comes together in the back; that could look more refined, but it is minor considering how much I love this wide brim for Hisako. The execution of softer material (crinoline, netting, etc.) overlaid on top of the brim can also been seen on a couple of hats as the group gathers outside the church in this clip from the film “Evita”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOO7eX-2yIs (this scene is what I immediately thought of when the crin detail was pointed out for this hat).

    • What an eye for cinematic detail, Jake! That crinoline flutter lends a lot of charm. I like your description: “old-school Italian elegance.”

  8. Princess Hisako seems to be the one Imperial Princess who regularly wears brimmed hats, and she invariably looks very smart. The finish on these hats is beautiful. I particularly like the petal brim of the first, which echoes the floral jacquard of her suit.
    I wonder why the second hat was retrimmed? You would think it would be to wear with a different outfit, but then it is paired with the same dress…

    • The dresses are different. If you open the photos in the August 2018 tweet, the dress looks like a green/white/black tweed.
      In the May 25 (African Festival) tweets, that dress pattern is green leaves on black.
      The hat was updated so it could be paired for multiple outfits.

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