Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2021

Last Friday, The New Year’s Poetry Reading (Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime) took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Closeup views of the hats worn to this event again show their beautiful detail, something which I thought warranted a second look!

Crown Princess Kiko Kiko repeated the pale lime silk jacquard floral gown with matching bumper hat she first wore last November for the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi. It’s an impeccably made piece with cuffed brim covered in wide bias alternating sections of  smooth and smocked silk, the same lime silk jacquard of her gown. Smocking is not something we see on many royal hats and it lends such textural dimension to the piece. Princess Mako repeated her turquoise silk covered bumper hat with, as this picture shows, a wonderful layered, striped silk bow at the back. Princess Kako repeated her lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau trimmed with silk flowers on the sides.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Nov 18, 2019; Jan 11, 2019; Jan 12, 2018; Jan 11, 2017; Dec 23, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 10, 2020; Nov 18, 2019; Feb 26, 2019;
Feb 24, 2019; Jan 14, 2015

Princess Nobuko topped her denim blue beaded gown with a matching pillbox covered entirely in feathers and worn back on the crown of her head. It’s a lovely scale and colour on Nobuko and the movement and texture provided by the feathers makes it a fantastic piece to accompany her gown. Princess Akiko repeated her pale yellow bumper hat trimmed in a wrap of pleated crin and generous spray of silk flowers at the back.

Designer: unknown
Princess Nobuko’s hat:  I believe it is new
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 8, 2020;  Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019

 

Princess Hisako repeated her vibrant green low-crowned bowler hat with curved brim and slim hatband, trimmed wiht a mass of green feathers at the back. The different shades of green on the feather trim makes this hat come alive, linking with the green embroidery on Hisako’s gown and giving the monochrome ensemble lightness and lift.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: Oct 29, 2019; Jan 16, 2019

The only new hat at this event was an ice blue, short-brimmed design on Princess Tsuguko. The small scale design gets visual impact from the trilby-esque curved brim and hatband of silk leaves that encircle it, linking with the vine pattern in the silk jacquard of her jacket and skirt. It looks to me like the hat is covered in plain silk and the leaves cut from the printed jacquard silk (same as the gown), a subtle touch that makes the all blue ensemble less one note.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: I believe this is new

Again, these closer views of these hats show great detail and utterly impeccable finishing. They are so very, very,  beautifully made.

Which hats here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2021

The Imperial New Year’s Lectures (Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime) were finally held Tuesday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a grey-blue silk brocade gown with shimmering beaded bodice. Her half hat, in the same silk, features crisp pointed corners on each side and stripes of slim silver beads across the crown. Princess Mako repeated an ice blue silk jacquard and matching half hat with short, upfolded brim. The closeup photo seen below shows beautiful detail on the hat- tiny sparkling beads around the brim edge like those around the collar of Mako’s gown, and the loveliest white and blue silk flowers. Princess Kako rounded out the Akishino’s trio of blue in her deep royal silk gown and matching bumper hat with intricately beaded brim edge.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Jan 12, 2016; Jan 15, 2014
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 15, 2016
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Oct 29, 2019; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 9, 2015

Princess Nobuko paired her terra cotta pink gown with an oversize silk floral headpiece. It’s a departure from much of the Imperial millinery we see, making it a favourite for me!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Oct 29, 2019

Princess Akiko Princess Yoko repeated pillbox hats, Akiko’s in lime-yellow silk with beaded detail on the side and Yoko’s in salmon pink with layered stripes of feather trim.

Designer: unknown
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn: April 30, 2019; Jan 14, 2015; Jan 10, 2014
Princess Yoko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020; Oct 25, 2019Apr 10, 2019

Princess Hisako wore a deep purple stylized bowler hat with ostrich plume at the back. The lattice printed silk of her gown is repeated on the hat’s wide hatband. Princess Tsuguko repeated her green silk jacquard covered pillbox hat with layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown. The lily-of-the-valley blooms that originally embellished this hat have been removed, a detail I’m a little sorry to see.

Designer: unknown
Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: I believe this hat is new
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; May 4, 2019

The views of these hats show more detail than we usually see and my, are these details impeccable. The beading is particularly fine and makes me wish we could see all Imperial hats at close view simply to admire how beautifully they are made.

It’s been a long while since we had such a group of hats to admire- which designs here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

Imperial Crown Prince Proclaimed

Last Sunday, the Imperial royal family celebrated Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi, the final ceremony in the Emperor’s enthronement that officially proclaims the new crown prince which had been postponed seven months due to the global pandemic.

Empress Masako arrived early in the morning to prepare for the day of ceremonies in her oyster silk covered bumper hat.

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Kiko followed an hour later, Kiko in a pale lime silk jacquard floral gown with matching bumper hat. The cuffed bumper brim on this design is covered in wide bias stripes of smooth silk and silk smocked in the same fine pattern as the waist on Kiko’s dress. This smocking gives some textural dimension to the hat, especially when punctuated with the small shiny silk stripe between each section. While a subtle detail, it is impeccably executed and once again, shows incredible quality and millinery skill.

At eleven o’clock that morning, the Imperial royal family gathered for the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi ceremony where the new Crown Prince was officially proclaimed. Emperor Naruhito and Crown Prince Akishino wore traditional sokutai robesand the distinctive black kanmuri hat. Empress Masako and Crown Princess Kiko wore junihitoe multi-layered kimonos with the triple pronged golden headpiece and elaborate sculpted sweeping ponytail that is worn with this costume.


Members of the extended Imperial Royal family were in attendance, the ladies in court dress (gowns and hats).

Princess Mako repeated a blush dotted silk jacquard gown and matching bumper brimmed calot hat. Princess Kako repeated a scarlet bandeau headpiece trimmed with silk flowers.
Princess Mako’s hat previously worn: Nov 16, 2019; Jan 13, 2017; December 23, 2015;
Princess Kako’s hat previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019
Princess Hanako topped her apple silk gown with a matching saucer percher hat with pleated rim, embellished with ivory feathers and silk leaves. Princess Nobuko wore a bandeau headpiece covered in periwinkle blue silk, trimmed with feather flowers on the side.
Princess Nobuko’s hat previously worn: Feb 23, 2020
Princess Akiko of Mikasa wore a lemon yellow bumper hat wrapped in a swath of pleated crin and trimmed with a spray of silk flowers across the back. Princess Yoko repeated a pale coral textured pillbox.
Princess Akiko’s hat previously worn: Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019
Princess Yoko’s hat previously worn: Oct 25, 2019Apr 10, 2019
Princess Hisako wore a standout hat with crown in the same vibrant green silk as the cuffs on her gown. The hat’s cartwheel brim appears to be  covered in overlapping ombre leaves and an overlay of veil. Princess Tsuguko repeated her burgundy bumper hat with veil and side silk floral trim.
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Princess Hisako’s hat: I believe this hat is new
Princess Tsuguko’s hat previously worn: Apr 30, 2019; Feb 26, 2019; Jan 10, 2018 
Following the ceremony, the Crown Prince and Princess worshipped at Kashiko-dokoro shrine which is located on the grounds of the Imperial Palace. They were joined by several of the Imperial princesses who wore pale gowns and repeated ivory hats.

That evening, the emperor, empress, crown prince and princess took part in the Choken-no-Gi (First Audience ceremony), the women in glittering diamond parures complete with impressive tiaras.

The vibrant hats worn by the Imperial princesses at the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi stood out to me- weren’t they wonderful?!
Photos from social media as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; 

Imperial Royals Marks Shrine’s Centenary

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended a ceremony at Meiji shrine in Tokyo today to mark 100 years since it was founded. The shrine,  founded on November 1, 1920, is dedicated to the Emperor Meij, who died in 1912, and his wife Empress Shoken. For this event, Empress Masako was white, head to toe, with a new hat.

Covered in the same textured pique as her ensemble, the hat follows a familiar bowler-ish shape for Masako with straight-sided, slightly domed crown and short, primly upturned brim. What’s unique here is the embellishment – oversize, overlapping petals around the hat, in place of a hatband. We’ve not seen this on any of Masako’s other hats and it lends a distinctive look that seems to reference the scalloped hem of her jacket. It’s an interesting one.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

What do you think of Empress Masako’s new hat today?

Embed from Getty Images

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial New Years Poetry Reading 2020

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years poetry reading yesterday at the Royal Palace in some colourful and interesting hats.


Crown Princess Kiko repeated a mint green silk covered bumper hat, trimmed with a diamond of the same woven lattice silk as the bodice of her gown.  Princess Mako repeated a pale, ice blue silk floral jacquard covered calot hat with narrow, upturned, cuffed brim. Princess Kako repeated a royal blue silk bumper hat with beaded edge on the top of the upturned brim.

Princess Nobuko wore a new apricot silk covered bumper hat studded with tiny sparkle beads. The silk on the bumper brim is covered in bias stripes, giving a subtle diagonal movement to the design. Princess Akiko topped her cornflower blue gown with a matching hat. The hat’s button crown is covered in what looks like appliqued silk in the same hue, and a slim bumper brim circles the design.

Princess Hisako repeated hat with saddle shaped brim covered in cream silk and an avocado green narrow crown embellished with the same applique cutouts as on her coordinating gown. Green silk flowers and leaves cascade from below the brim’s raised back – a design feature I don’t recall seeing before on a royal hat. Princess Tsuguko also had a new headpiece in teal, gold and taupe with peach silk roses.

This event usually shows us some of the most colourful and memorable Imperial royal hats of the year and yesterday did not disappoint! Which ensembles stand out to you most here?

Photos from social media as indicated