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

This Week’s Extras

Princess Akiko in a charcoal cloche with wide burgundy hatband on Monday for the National University Rugby final

Nicholas and Alina Medforth-Mills and Princess Tatiana of Greece shared snaps enjoying time outdoors in warm knit winter hats
Buckle up- there’s a long parade of new millinery designs caught my eye this week:

Adore the graphic and colourful hatband on this lemon-lime felt split-crown fedora by US milliner Kristin Silverman
Wonderful hand painted flowers on this pink leather bandeau by Australian milliner Milano Imai
Ivory straw hugger wit black dotted veil studded with feathers by Irish milliner Marie Galvin
Lovely shapes on this blue cloche with leather bands and this felt floral-trimmed bandeau by Italian brand Nadine Millinery
Statement leopard print fedora with asymmetrical brim by British milliner Carrie Jenkinson
Channeling spring with this floral embroidered bandeau from UK brand Emily London
Fantastic texture on this handwoven (not knitted!) wool beret by American milliner Jennifer Hoertz

The prettiest picture hat in layered grey and aqua straw with stacked hatband and lilies by British milliner Kerry Kernan
For our dear gents, a handsome olive Pork Pie hat with lighter green hatband & wind cord by Hornskov København
Dimensional laser printed flowers on the brim of this electric blue Garbo hat by Italian brand Borsalino
Black bound ivory felt cloche with flyaway cutout brim and back twist by Romanian brand Decorina
Deep red velvet bandeau with statement side silk flower and veil by Rachel Trevor Morgan
Ivory felt embroidered fedora with yellow and peacock blue layered hatbands by American milliner Cassie MacGregor
Absolutely wonderful ribbon pleating on these colourful berets by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit

Palest slate blue wool beret with lace applique, embroidery and dimensional silk flowers by French brand Katoushti
Black and tan woven boater with pearl brooch studded hatband and statement bow by British milliner Felicity Gee
Firey tropical floral trim on this ivory straw saucer hat by French milliner Céline Tastevin
Gold lattice embroidered halo bandeau headpiece trimmed in pearls by British brand Stephanie Elizabeth Millinery
Adore the curving seams on this red wool cloche with leather panels by British milliner Karen Henriksen
Sleek petrol blue felt fedora with side knot and saucy angled brim by American milliner Laura Del Villaggio
From British milliner Yuan Li, an uplifting message in ombre-dyed rainbow straw

Charming photos of King Harald and Queen Sonja (at home like all the rest of us!) released to mark the 30th anniversary of the King’s accession today.

Have you seen Carolina Piteira’s recently completed portrait of Queen Elizabeth? It’s so lovely.

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; 

This Week’s Extras

Princess Akiko participated in a bell-ringing ceremony at Zojoji Temple on September 21 in a white cotton cloche hat.
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Grey straw picture hat with wired feather boa brim by US brand Suzanne Couture Millinery
Jewel toned velvet bandeau headpieces with beautiful embroidery by British milliner Lucy Bowler
Navy fedora with large felt twists and inky feathers by German brand Hartung Anneliese
Red straw hat with crin brim extension that rolls into a rosette by Czech milliner Jolana Kotabova
Blue feather embroidered teardrop nestled within a floral laser cut saucer by Irish milliner Susan Magee
Glamorous autumn hat in leopard printed felt with graphic layered hatbands by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit
Striking cereulean blue felt button percher with silver stripe and bow by British brand NDLQ Millinery
Red leather teardrop percher with ruffle trim by Australian milliner Rachel Henry
Notable blue and green painted felt hat with green wool pompoms by Israeli milliner Maor Zabar
Bandeau headpieces of overlapping bows by British milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan
Large navy straw saucer with luminescent lime bow by US brand Art Of Hats Studio
Grey felt modified cloche trimmed with stamps by German milliner Antje Lücke (see the inspiration & front view here)

Statement black feather and flower headpiece by Australian milliner Cynthia Jones-Bryson
Original floral printed straw (hand doodled!) fedora by British milliner Ian Bennett
Midnight blue velvet halo bandeau with silk flower spray and veil by British milliner Justine Bradley-Hill
Red leather teardrop percher with ruffle trim by Australian milliner Rachel Henry
Pale grey spotted straw freeform floral headpiece with lovely lightness by British milliner Marie-Anne Talbott
Beautiful floral headpiece made from used coffee pods! By Singapore brand Heads of State Millinery.

Congratulations to Flora Ogilvy and Timothy Vesterberg who were  privately married at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace last Saturday. Her beautifully streamlined dress was by Emilia Wickstead.
We end this week with the most charming interview with questions posed by the three little Cambridge nuggets to Sir David Attenborough

Photos from social media as indicated