Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako enjoyed a joint engagement today at the Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual meeting in Tokyo. For Masako’s first solo official duty as empress, she repeated a cream bowler variation hat with domed, straight-sided crown and upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a wide navy hatband folded into a flat bow at the back. It’s a prim hat that pairs well with her navy and cream suit.



Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This is tricky by my guess is it’s the same as the one worn May 26, 2018

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in the same finely striped ice blue silk as a matching suit. Bias placement on the brim give a diagonal contrast to the stripes, breaking up the one-note ensemble. Views from this hat’s last outing show it also has a small posy of silk flowers tucked behind the brim on one side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 26, 2016

Princess Hanako repeated her ecru square crowned hat with double sidesweeping brim, simply trimmed with a wide silk hatband in the same colour. The brim shape and tall, angular crown are elements we don’t often see on Imperial royal hats and Hanako caries it very well.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: May 13, 2015; July 10, 2014 

Princess Nobuko paired a white hat with flat crown and rolled brim with her blue silk, the two pieces drawn together with a blue silk hatband and side bow.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Hisako repeated a pale grey hat with flat crown and gently curved saddle brim. The hat appears to have undergone tweaking since its first appearance last fall- gone is the flat hatband in the same fabric as the matching jacquard suit and in its place are stacked applique cutouts from the floral fabric (maybe with some lace as well?). The resulting 3D hatband gives fantastic interest and dimension to the small scaled hat and leaves me wondering why such embellishment isn’t seen on hats, more.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: October 1, 2018

I can’t imagine that the all cream and blue/grey palate worn by the Empress and Imperial princesses is a coincidence and one wonders the behind-the-scenes logistics that accompanies such planning (I suppose the Empress can’t wake up and say, “No, I think I’ll wear the pink instead….”!). Thoughts about this quintet of Imperial royal hats?

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

Imperial Royals Appear On Palace Balcony

On Friday, the Japanese royal family appeared balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for the emperor and empress’ first official public appearance.

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Empress Masako chose vibrant yellow for this debut, a colour we’ve not seen on her in recent memory. Her silk covered hat features a domed crown and tightly upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a hatband embroidered with diagonal stripes of gold and saffron bugle beads.

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The beaded hatband links with the exquisite starburst (or rising sun?!) motif around the collar and cuffs of her gown with a slight but very welcome contrast provided by the diagonal direction. It’s a matched ensemble, for certain, but such is the Imperial way at events as high profile as this and it’s wonderful to see something on the empress as sunny as her smile has been this week. Dare we hope it’s a foretaste of more vibrant hats to come?!

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in cream silk printed with a small floral jacquard pattern. The hat is simply trimmed with the same finely braided trim as on the bodice seams and cuffs of her gown. Kiko’s ensembles are always impeccably finished and I suspect the subtle detail in this hat is best viewed at closer range.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 15, 2016; December 23, 2011

Princess Mako repeated her cuffed calot hat and gown in printed pale gold silk. The hat is simply trimmed with a bow at the back.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 16, 2017; December 23, 2015

Princess Kako followed her sister’s lead, repeating a cuffed calot hat and gown in pink silk printed with a small floral motif. As far as calots go, this has a lovely shape emphasized by the cuff. The right side of the hat is trimmed with pink silk flowers.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 23, 2015

Princess Hanako brought some of her characteristic millinery pizzazz with a heart shaped hat in the same periwinkle blue silk as her gown. The hat’s crown features an inlay of pleats- a unique detail I can’t remember seeing on another royal hat. The pleats emphasize the unusual heart shape; the hat is finished with a small, rolled brim and spray of silk lilies of the valley at the back. The design feels rather creative for an Imperial hat, something I’ll always applaud!


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Yuriko, who will celebrate her 96th birthday next month, looked regally elegant in her deep green pillbox hat trimmed with a silk rose at the side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 10, 2019

Princess Nobuko topped her melon hued gown with a pleated bandeau-calot in a slightly lighter shade, trimmed with orange silk rolled rosettes and bow loops on the side. The different shades of peach, melon and orange work so well to create a look that is interestingly nuanced but still, very coordinated


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this is nes

Princess Akiko repeated her pale blues silk covered Breton hat trimed with ostrich feather wrap that fills the surface of the brim, and a dotted net veil.  The hat’s narrow brim suits petite Akiko very well and, as I’ve mentioned before, does not overwhelm the amazing cutwork on the collar of her gown.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: February 24, 2019; January 16, 2019

Princess Hisako paired her salmon pink paisley floral high necked gown with a beautiful brimmed hat. The design, which features a shallow crown, is trimmed with a lace hatband and delicately patterned veil that overlays the brim. The plain salmon silk covered hat is further trimmed with a spray of silk blooms and leaves on the side. We consistently see the Imperial royals in hats and gowns of the same hue but the different materials used on the two pieces here give such lovely contrast and interest to the ensemble. It’s just exquisite.

Designer:
Previously Worn:

Princess Tsuguko wore a percher hat in a beautifully patterned green silk. The teardrop shaped base is trimmed with a layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown, and is finished with a trailing spray of blossoms on the side. The embroidered detail gives lovely dimension to the pieces and the balance of high collar, hairstyle and angle of hat placement (set off by that stunning aquamarine brooch) is just superb.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

This event leaves me hope-filled for an increase of more colourful and creative millinery on the Imperial royal ladies during this Reiwa era. There are some wonderful hats here- which ones stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; Newsletter Communication Center; Jiji; Mainich

Imperial Enthronement

Emperor Naruhito was enthroned yesterday in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, attended by the royal family. The Imperial princesses all wore sparkling tiaras (jump over to this post at The Court Jeweller for an excellent review of the tiaras). Crown Princess Kiko appeared, for the first time, in the Crown Princess Parure with scrolled tiara while Empress Masako looked wonderfully regally (and beamingly happy) in the the Meiji Tiara, a tiara reserved for the empress.

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Following the enthronement ceremony, Imperial family members greeted the new Imperial couple (see this in full in the first embedded video at the bottom). Crown Princess Kiko paired her cream jacquard silk gown with a matching bumper hat, covered in the same fabric and simply trimmed with an embroidered cuff at the back. Princess Mako repeated her seafoam cream bandeau-calot, covered in the same dotted silk as her gown. The hat is beautifully finished with a bias silk binding and spray of silk flowers on the right side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Crown Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 24, 2019; September 4, 2017

Princess Kako repeated her buttercup yellow padded bandeau headpiece. The design is covered in the same floral jacquard silk as her gown and trimmed with silk blooms behind her ears. Princess Hanako of Hitachi was also in yellow silk with a statement hat. The straw base of this design has a rolled brim that looks to be covered, on both sides, with tiny, individual silk blossoms and is finished with a feather pouf at the back.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 26, 2019; February 24, 2019;October 20, 2018; January 14, 2015 I believe Princess Hanako’s hat is new.

Princess Yuriko of Mikasa wore a slate blue silk covered pillbox embellished twisted silk roses and leaves. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her oxblood lace gown with a lace and silk organza striped turban trimmed with a large flower with wired starburst organza petals on the side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I don’t believe we’ve seen either hat before

Princess Akiko repeated her pink silk gown and crescent bandeau headpiece. Yesterday’s video finally gives us a view at the bandeau’s detail, showing a wonderful lattice pattern woven in silk ribbon anchored with pearls. Princess Yoko continued with more millinery surprises, topping her flowing gown with a percher hat in pink silk, worn on the right side of her yead. The design looks to be trimmed with cream beads- a detail we’ll have to wait for a better angled look to see for certain.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s headpiece was worn January 11, 2018; I believe Princess Yoko’s hat is new

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her vibrant cereulean blue silk gown with a matching domed bumper hat. The upturned edge of the brim is covered in matching blue feathers and there looks to be a spray of silk flowers on the right side of the design. Princess Tsuguko repeated a purple floral headpiece that wraps around the right side of her head- a headpiece I can’t wait to see in greater detail!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Princess Hisako’s hat is new. Princess Tsuguko wore this headpiece January 16, 2019 (I still think it’s a reworked version of the headpiece she wore January 14, 2015)

Finally, the new emperor and empress ended the day with a return to the Imperial Palace to greet Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. For this visit, Empress Masako donned a bumper hat covered in the same dotted jaquard silk print as her warm ivory hued gown. The left side of the brim is beautifully draped in four pleats that echo a simlar detail on the gown’s waist- subtle touches, indeed, but ones that are impeccably executed.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

There seems to be an overall feeling of goodwill toward the emperor and empress- I’m sure you join me in wishing them the very best as they transition into their new roles.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Newsletter Communication Center

Abdication Marks Start of Reiwa Era

The 30-year Heisei reign officially ended today with the abdication of Emperor Akihito. The abdication ceremony was held in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.


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Crown Princess Masako looked radiant in an exquisite new hat. The design features a domed crown covered in pearlescent silk and a lace covered bumper brim- the same scroll patterned lace as was on her gown. The hat shape works well with the high collared gown and the pieces combine to make an elegant and very regal look.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat news

Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat in palest celery green silk. The raised brim is overlaid in the same lace as on Kiko’s gown. I prefer Kiko in more saturated colours but it’s not surprising to see her in a pale hue for such high profile events. The lace overlay on the hat’s brim provides a lovely, textural frame around Kiko’s face.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 23, 2014

Princess Mako repeated a cuffed calot hat covered in the same ice blue floral printed jacquard silk as her gown. The blue silk flowers that adorned this hat at its first outing are visible in the photo below.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 15, 2016

Princess Kako repeated a royal blue bumper hat with brim edge embroidered with the same royal blue bugle beads that trim the basque waist of her gown.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 10, 2015

Princess Hanako wore a pillbox hat with domed crown, wrapped in a pleated silk wrap (or bumper brim?) and trimmed with a multi-looped bow. I believe this hat is new (the gown was paired, at its last outing, with a different hat). Princess Hisako repeated the deep purple bumper hat with ostrich feather pouf at the back we last saw her wear at the 2015 New Year’s Poetry Readings. Princess Tsuguko repeated the burgundy silk covered beret she wore for the 30th anniversary celebration of the emperor’s reign back in February. This view shows lavish floral and feather trim on the side of the design and a burgundy net veil that, I suspect, swaths the entire hat.

Princess Yoko topped her mint green silk gown with a matching veiled percher hat worn at a wonderfully rakish angle on the side of her head. The ensemble has a vintage, 1940s vibe to it that she wears very well. Princess Akiko repeated her lime-yellow silk gown with matching bumper hat with what looks like inlaid silk stripes on the side of the raised brim. Princess Nobuko paired her pale sage green silk gown with a matching brimless hat trimmed with a large ecru silk flower and veil. Princess Yuriko (Yoko and Akiko’s grandmother) repeated her deep eggplant purple, low profile bumper hat with bow at the back.

The Imperial royals know how to do retrained, elegant looks better than any other royal house and today was no exception. You can watch highlights of today’s abdication ceremony here along with commentary and an interesting overview of the Emperor’s life (start at 12:00). In recent days, NHK World also broadcast a 3-part documentary on Emperor Emeritus Akihito that I found informative, enjoyable and highly recommend:

Part I: Emperor of A Defeated Nation
Part 2: The Two Of Us
Part 3: The Symbol Of A Nation

The Reiwa reign of Emperor Naruhito began at the stroke of midnight (Japanese time) on May 1. His enthronement ceremony will follow tomorrow.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Kyodo News, Kyodo News and Kyodo News via Getty; NHK World

Imperial Anniversary Celebrations Continue at Tea Party

On Tuesday morning, a tea party for notable persons of the Heisei era was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in continued celebration of Emperor Akihito’s 30 years on the throne. As hostess of the event, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat and as Crown Princess Masako did not attend, the most senior Imperial family member in a hat was Princess Kiko. We don’t associate Princess Kiko with millinery surprises but that’s exactly what she delivered at this event, joining her daughters in the bandeau trend that’s sweeping the globe!

In fact, all of the Akishino princesses appeared in bandeau headpieces- Kiko in a new cream one while Princess Mako repeated her beautiful peacock blue design with diamond pattern and Princess Mako repeated her pale lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau with floral trim behind the ears.

 

The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended the tea party. Princess Nobuko wore a new pleated burgundy calot (it photographed as deep scarlet in some light but read as more purple on video footage) with single feather trim. Princess Akiko repeated a cream hat with short brim and pleated hatband and Princess Yoko repeated a tall, ruched dusty pink pillbox trimmed in wispy feathers.

Princess Hisako wore an interesting leaf green flat hat with what looks like square points and feather trim while Princess Tsuguko looked lovely in an orchid purple formed beret (covered in silk, I would imagine) with feathers on the side.

I suspect the emperor’s upcoming abdication has made this anniversary celebration into such a large, multi-day event but no matter the reason, it’s great to see the Imperial family lend their support (and their hats!) and I was particularly happy to see Mrs. Sayako Kuroda  in attendance. I wish we could see better views of the Takamado princess’ hats because they look memorable. Which designs here stand out most to you?

Photos from FNN; The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s 30th Anniversary

January 7, 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s accession to the Chrysanthemum throne. This anniversary was officially marked yesterday with a series of celebrations, beginning with the Emperor and Empress receiving family members, all in formal daytime court dress, at the Imperial Royal Palace. Crown Princess Masako repeated a blue silk bumper hat- a short video clip shows this piece has an interesting twisted brim around the back, something I don’t think we’ve been able to see until now.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2018; Dec 9, 2017; Dec 9, 2015
Princess Kiko wore a cuffed calot hat covered in peach silk that I think is a new design for her. Princess Mako repeated the bandeau calot she wore on the day of her engagement announcement back in September 2017. Not visible here, the piece is trimmed with silk roses and leaves on the right side. It’s an interesting choice, particularly as her dotted silk gown has previously been worn with a matching bespoke calot covered in the same fabric. Princess Kako repeated her soft yellow spadded bandeau trimmed with a trio of silk blossoms on the bottom of each side, tucked behind her ears. Check out this bandeau’s previous outings on October 20, 2018 or January 14, 2015 for a better view. 


I believe Princess Hanako repeated her dark green velvet bowler hat with raised brim around the back, trimmed with ostrich feathers (and is that a bow I see?). Princess Yuriko of Mikasa (grandmother to Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko) wore a low-profile bumper hat in deep eggplant purple with ribbon detail on the back. 

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a n open ring-shaped headpiece wrapped in green velvet. Princess Akiko topped her blue silk suit (with beautiful cutwork collar and yoke) with a matching silk rolled brim hat trimmed with ostrich feathers and blue veil. Princess Yoko’s tall, pale gray-green silk hat with high cuffed bumper brim had a retro 1960s feel, amplified by its placement on the back of her head. 

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her textured pale lilac suit with a matching flat crowned hat with double brim, the outer one wrapped in the same fabric as her suit. Princess Tsuguko was also in a flat-crowned design, her repeated peach silk hat trimmed in looped peach fabric around the bumper brim.

The Emperor and Empress then attended an event hosted by the Japanese government at National Theatre in Tokyo. Empress Michiko repeated her slightly domed saucer hat covered in pale pink silk with white lattice crin underbrim, beautifully trimmed with silk cherry blossoms and a luminous silk bow

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While the hat is not unlike Michiko’s other hats in terms of shape and scale, the colour is a slight departure (so good, right?!) and the trim is simply lovely. It’s a good hat for her as saucer hats go and I’m glad she chose something outside her usual grey palate for this celebration.
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Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Nov 14, 2018

The evening saw a dinner at the Imperial Palace (Crown Princess Masako arrived in plum and Princess Kiko in vibrant blue) while today, most of the extended Imperial royal family was seen at a formal tea party. These photos certainly don’t show great view of these hats- despite these shortcomings, do any hats stand out to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; Sankei News

This Week’s Extras

Back on January 12, Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a black hat with velvet crown and fur trimmed kettle brim to the 55th All Japan University Rugby Championship
Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad was crowned king of Malaysia on Thursday. His ‘crown’ might seem a little unusual to western fashion eyes (at the risk of sounding disrespectful, it seems more like a folded napkin fronted with a tiara) and was not what you might expect for a coronation.
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The funeral of Prince Henri of Orleans, Count of Paris, was held at the Chapelle Royale yesterday in Paris. Guests included:
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The Duchess of Vendôme (the late Count’s daughter-in-law) in a black felt hat with tightly upfolded brim;
Farah Pahlavi, Empress of Iran in a black lace veil
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Duchess of Montpensier (first wife of the late count) in a beautiful black lace veil
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Prince Moulay El Hassan of Morocco in a ceremonial red Fez;
Princess Helene of France and Princess Chantal of France in black brimless fur hats
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Princess Lea of Belgium in a wide brimmed fedora;
Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein in a black mushroom brimmed hat with shallow crown and bow
Crown Princess Mary wore a black bandeau headpiece today to the funeral of Count Frederik Moltke.
Queen Elizabeth attended Sunday Service this morning at St. Peter and St. Paul Church in West Newton in her repeated peach straw hat with bouclé fabric covered crown and brim binding, trimmed with feathers. She was joined by Countess Mountbatten who wore a refined striped tan and chocolate pillbox with bow at the back.
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The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Leaf green felt trilby with blue hatband & feather trim from Belgian milliner Amélie D’Hooghvorst
Two neutral brimmed straw beauties in blush and dove grey from British milliner Dillon Wallwork
For those of you in the throngs of winter, this blue mink hat from Danish milliner Susanne Juul
Red straw textured saucer with crin edge that extends to a neck wrap from Aussie brand Jill & Jack Millinery
Winter white square cloche with exuberant feather trim from British brand Annabel Allen Millinery
Textured statement percher with swirled base and ombre feathers by Aussie Milliner Sandy Aslett
Purple straw percher with crin, net veil and silk flowers from British milliner Edwina Ibbotson
Mustard yellow felt saucer with flower from Czech milliner Jolana Kotabova
Red felt percher with wonderfully curled gold sprayed quills by British milliner Bundle MacLaren
Wide-brimmed, flower trimmed picture hat in the prettiest spring green from Irish milliner Carol Kennelly

And to usher in the Year of the Pig this week, this whimsical embroidered percher with curling bow by Australian brand Amanda Lynn Millinery.

The Prince of Wales visited Tricker’s shoemakers in Northampton this week where he came across a familiar pair of lasts…
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Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and Prince Jacques greeted well wishers from the Monaco Palace balcony during the Celebration Of The Sainte-Devote last Sunday
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And finally, this sweet photo of Prince Carl Philip taking his two young songs, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel, for a winter walk

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated