Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2019

Members of the Imperial family attended the annual Imperial New Year’s Lectures today at the Imperial Royal Palace in Tokyo.

While the Empress did not wear a hat (as hostess of the event in her home), the Imperial princesses all followed the traditional daytime court dress code (gowns and hats) which continues to be used for this event.  
This event brings us a rainbow of Imperial royal millinery and this year was no different:
Princess Kiko: navy straight-sided pillbox she wore to this same event in 2014
Princess Mako: turquoise silk bumper hat with back bow she wore for the 2018 New Year’s poetry readings
Princess Nobuko: oxblood rounded pillbox with side feather I suspect is new
Princess Akiko: pink silk calot previously worn for the 2016 poetry readings and 2015 New Year’s lectures
Princess Yoko: ice blue silk straight-sided silk pillbox she wore to this event in 2015 and in 2014 
Princess Hisako: purple velvet bumper hat with ostrich feather pompomworn for the 2013 & 2015 poetry readings
Princess Tsuguko: repeated cream or pale yellow hat with very short, kettle brim and feather trim 
It’s difficult to tell based on this view (jump back to previous wearings) but what hats stand out to you most?
Photos from social media as indicated

Imperial Royals Celebrate Emporer’s 85th Birthday

Emperor Akihito marked his 85th birthday yesterday with an annual greeting from the Imperial Palace balcony and a special birthday lunch which included members of the extended Imperial royal family.

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While the Empress did not wear a hat (as other monarchs usually do not when hosting an event in their home), Crown Princess Masako wore a matching midnight blue velvet ruched dress and bumper hat. The same bugle bead embroidery on the cuffs and collar of the dress trims one side of the hat, adding a lovely bit of sparkle against the dark colour which is glorious on Masako.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: While very similar to this hat, I believe this is new

The ladies of the Akishino family wore a trio of calot hats, all which I think are new. Princess Kiko’s royal blue design features a cuff and bow (or butterfly) trim at the side while Princess Mako’s narrower design (a bandeau-calot hybrid) in pale seafoam green silk is trimmed with pale pink roses on the side. Princess Kako completed the trio in a pale aqua silk covered calot with cuff brim and silk floral trim at the side.

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Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko of Takamado and Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko of Mikasa joined the family for a celebration lunch, all of them in brimless pillbox or bumper designs. Princess Hisako stood out in a vibrant blue feather trimmed bumper hat previously worn to the 2014 annual New Year’s Poetry Reading. Princess Tsuguko repeated her peach silk covered bumper hat trimmed with large abstract leaves in the same hue (worn for the New Year Poetry Reading last January). Princess Nobuko’s hat, in pale celery green, features a bumper brim that overlaps on one side and a crown covered in the same lace as the bodice of her gown. Princess Akiko’s pale yellow bumper hat is lavishly trimmed with what looks like a large silk flower and net ruffles in the back while Princess Yoko repeated the textured salmon pink pillbox trimmed with chevron stripes of ostrich feathers that she wore for the New Year’s Poetry Reading in 2016. 


It’s wonderful to see most of the Imperial royal family in attendance for this celebration- the Emperor’s last before the throne is passed to Prince Naruhito in April. What do you think of these festive brimless hats yesterday in Japan?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Imperial Princess Takes on Presidency of Turkish-Japanese Archaeology Foundation

Japanese Princess Akiko of Mikasa became the honorary president of ‘Prince Mikasa Foundation in Istanbul’ yesterday at a reception at Sakip Sabanci Museum. The foundation was established last year with the permission of the Turkish Government to provide continuous support for the study of Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology. For this appointment, Princess Akiko topped her pale, celery green silk dress and jacket with a white brimmed hat, trimmed with a celery silk hatband

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While the hat coordinates with the ensemble well, it also offers some subtle contrast through colour and its smooth, curving lines, which play well against the sharp cut of the jacket. Much was debated yesterday about what shape and scale of hat flatters Akiko best- I think this shape works well on her and ADORE that she placed the hat at a slightly jaunty angle!


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 6, 2018; April 27, 2016
It’s been great to see more of Princess Akiko during this week’s Turkish visit- this hat is my top pick of the trio she has worn. What do you think?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Imperial Princess Visits Turkey

Princess Akiko is visiting Turkey this week, primarily to attend an event organized by her late father’s foundation at Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul. On Monday, she began her trip in the capital, Ankara, where she visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as well as the Turkish-Japanese Foundation. She topped her navy and white suit with a prim white silk hat with short, kettle brim and straight-sided, domed crown, trimmed with a wide navy hatband

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Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: October 4, 2015 

On Tuesday, the young princess visited at the Naval Museum in Istanbul where she oversaw the the receipt of replicate of the Japanese Seiki warship that first visited the Ottoman Empire in 1878. For this event, she repeated a white (or palest grey?) cloche variation with wider, upturned kettle brim. The hat is trimmed in a wide dove grey hatband (the top of which shows a navy stripe close to the top of the crown) and a small bow in the same blue tweed as Akiko’s jacket.
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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 20, 2017
Perhaps not the most exciting of hats but it’s wonderful to see one of the young Imperial princesses out on a higher profile diplomatic tour. 
Photos from Getty as indicated

Takamado Princess Officially Announces Engagement

On Monday, Princess Ayako of Takamado and Kei Moriya held a press conference at the Imperial Household Agency in Tokyo to officially announce their engagement.

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Princess Ayoko wore a pink dress and coordinating hat for the event (matched adorably by her fiance’s striped tie!). The button based percher hat is covered in woven fabric (or very finely woven straw?) that contrasts slightly with her crepe embroidered dress, a great use of different textures not often employed with Imperial royal hats. The hat is trimmed with a folded crepe silk bow, edged with a stripe of the shiny side of the fabric and embroidered with tiny pink seed pearls. We don’t see many percher hats on Imperial royals and this one is a great choice for Ayako, particularly for this joy-filled announcement.

July 2, 2017 | Royal Hats July 2, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Princess Hisako was on hand to support her daughter in a smart hat covered in the same wheat-coloured silk as her suit. The design features a short brim that turns up around the back, similar to a trilby, a flat crown. The hat is simply trimmed with a hatband and front bow in the same fabric. 
July 2, 2017 | Royal Hats
I thought this was a wonderful hat for Ayako- my only disappointment here is that after her October wedding, her public role will end. I’m sure you all join me in wishing the young couple much happiness- what do you think of this pink percher hat?
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Embed from Getty Images
Photos from Getty as indicated; Kyodo News, The Asahi Shimbun, and Kyodo News via Getty; FNN

Imperial Royals Visit Fukushima & Celebrate Milestone Anniversary

Over the weekend, the Emperor and Empress visited the Fukushima region to attend the 69th National Tree-Planting Festival and review the area still greatly impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The visit was of particular note as it is the last one the Imperial couple will pay to this area before the Emperor’s abdication next year. On Saturday, for the couple’s arrival in Koriyama, Empress Michiko repeated a pale mushroom grey large saucer hat trimmed with a two-tone silk twist. While there’s never much to say about the Empress’ many grey hats, the neckline on her jacket plays beautifully against this one.


June 9, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 9, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hiarata
Previously Worn: Feb 28, 2017
For Sunday’s National Tree-Planting Festival, the Empress repeated her lovely pale slate blue-grey rimmed petite saucer hat trimmed with overlapping silk bow loops around one side of the piece. I love the different shades and sheens on the bow trim and the shape of the raised rim around the back. It’s a delicate design that Michiko wears very well.

  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 29, 2018Mar 7, 2018Oct 29, 2017

On Monday, the royal couple attended a number of events related to memorials for and rebuilding from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The Empress repeated her recently deubted slate grey hat with silver lattice printed white crin underbrim, trimmed with a darker grey bow.

  

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 28, 2018

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako were spotted arriving at the Imperial Royal Palace for a celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. Princess Masako repeated a pleated buttercup yellow silk covered bumper hat with pleated brim for the occasion.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: October 20, 2015

It’s amazing to think that in less than a year, Masako will step into the role of Empress. I know many of us have cheered her return to public life, and continue to wish her well moving forward. It will be interesting to see how her upcoming new role impacts her hats!

Takamado Princess Supports Animal Welfare

Princess Tsuguko of Takamado took part in a “Panel Life” event yesterday which promoted animal welfare and encouraged the adoption of rescue cats and dogs. For this event (see part of her speech here), she wore a textured white pillbox hat in the same white boucle as her suit. The hat’s trim is a more unique story- there appears to be a wide binding around the bottom of the hat in palest blue that is also used to make a layered fan that is attached to the side. I’m always intrigued by new motifs used for hat trimmings and find the tall fan on this one quite fascinating.

May 22, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new
It’s an interesting hat, isn’t it?
Photos from Oricon News