Imperial New Years Lectures 2020

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years lectures on Tuesday at the Royal Palace.

The Akishino princesses all repeated silk covered hats, Princess Kiko in an ivory bumper hat with gold threaded brocade fabric covering the crown; Princess Mako in her peacock blue wide bandeau with large diamond pattern and multi side bow; and Princess Kaiko in a buttercup yellow bandeau with silk blossoms on the side.

Princess Nobuko repeated an aubergine silk bumper hat with beaded split brim. The colour is divine and I adore the subtle bit of sparkle dressing up the split brim. Princess Akiko repeated a pale blue Breton wrapped in an ostrich feather hatband and frothy veil. Princess Yoko wore an ice blue silk covered bumper hat studded with pears that I don’t think we’ve seen before.

Princess Hisako repeated the peach hat that wowed us at the Imperial inauguration. This improved view of the piece shows it to be a boater base covered in apricot silk. The beaded applique around the neckline of Hisako’s gown is repeated on the top of the crown and the brim is overlaid in ombre dyed layers of silk (maybe layered with crin?). Silk calla lilies in the same ombre shades adorn the side of the hat, studded with pearls. Princess Tsuguko repeated a headpiece of overlapping silk leaves in various shades of purple, trimmed in gold, anchored around the back of her head.

We see few royal events attended in traditional court dress which is a shame, because the combination of gown and hat can be spectacular. Which ensembles stand out to you most here?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and social media as indicated

12 thoughts on “Imperial New Years Lectures 2020

  1. Love these close ups. Beautiful dress for Empress Masako.
    Princess Mako’s peacock diamond pattern hat is one of my favorites. CP Kiko and Princess Kako look nice.
    Princess Nobuko: Good repeat. The split brim is an unusual feature.
    Princess Akiko: Lovely. This outfit used to be Princess Hanako’s and Akiko has worn a yellow dress+hat and kimonos previously worn by Hanako as well. I wonder about other clothes Hanako has given to Akiko.
    Princess Yoko: Wonderful pearl detail on her ice blue hat.
    Princess Hisako: Excited to see a closer view of her peach hat. Superb.
    Princess Tsuguko: I hope we get a better view of her purple headpiece someday. I suspect I’ll love it.

  2. Princess Hisako is my favorite. She seems to quietly go her on way but she clearly supports the emperor and does her fair share of engagements while at the same time letting her daughters show their own personalities within the assigned roles. And she wears great hats!

    The Empress looks great here and at the poetry reading the next day. When I think of the many times she was not up to attending these events it is amazing to see her doing so well.

  3. I still like Mako’s peacock blue, both for the color and the diamond pattern. The use of pearls on Yoko’s ice-blue is lovely. And it’s good to get a better look — and HatQueen’s elegant description — at Hisako’s peach.

    Count me among the fans of the Empress’s blue velvet gown!

  4. I just wanted to add…who else is super excited about the announcement of the State visit to Britain by the new Emperor and Empress? I very much look forward to the hats and tiaras on parade!

  5. So tragic Masako didn’t have to wear a hat because this beautiful dress is calling out for an equally beautiful headpiece! I hope my dream of an accompanying hat comes true.

    Standard looks from the Akishino princesses. All elegant, but as these whole ensembles are nothing new, I’m afraid I can’t say much more about them.

    Nice to have a better look at Nobuko’s raisin purple hat. I love it even more now seeing the details, especially that encrusted split brim. This is certainly one of Akiko’s best looks and nice to see it repeated. Another subtle look from Yoko, but still refined.

    Most excited to see Hisako’s hat is greater detail! I loved it at the enthronement, and I love it even more now! A stunning hat, and Hisako knows how to wear it well. Honestly, Tsuguko was the most disappointing for me; while she looked good, it looks like she’s not even wearing a headpiece, and usually she takes after her mother with some of the best hats.

    Overall this was a good turnout by the Japanese Imperial Family, but I was a bit let down by so many repeats at a high profile event.

    • Yes- I want to throw in my agreement with those of you admiring Empress Masako’s velvet gown. It’s wonderful on her and I really, really hope there is a matching hat!

  6. I’m really starting to appreciate the beauty of these formal day ensembles worn by the Japanese ladies. Princess Hisako’s outfit with that stunning hat is probably my winner. I loved it at the enthronement and voted for it as a winner. I’m also loving that, like the Empress, the gown has swirling embroidery that co-ordinates with the swirly brooch so perfectly placed.
    My runner up (apart from the hatless Empress, who looked fab but doesn’t count!) was Princess Akiko in the frothy blue. Feathers and veiling, but yet subtle in effect. Lovely.

    • Well said trickymum! I agree with your choices. I would also add Princess Nobuko. The color and the unusual beaded split brim are wonderful. Those are my three favorites, but stunning looks all around.

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