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

This Week’s Extras

On Monday, Princess Nobuko wore a white hat to attend the 130th anniversary of the Japanese Red Cross Society’s  Branch in Gunma.
Princess Hisako started out this week in Aichi attending an annual conference on nutrition and dietary improvement. For this event, she wore a cream hat with square crown and curved brim, trimmed with lichen green hatbands and side embellishment.
On Tuesday, Princess Hanako wore a yellow pillbox with embellished sides for the 30th anniversary of the Praemium Imperiale Arts Prize.
On Wednesday, the Duke of Sussex was in military uniform and cap again to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Fiji.
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Also on Wednesday, Princess Mako celebrated her 27th birthday and was spotted arriving at the Imperial Royal Palace in Tokyo to visit her grandparents in a bumper hat covered in beige-pink patterned silk
Yesterday, Princess Ayako worshipped at the Three Palace Sanctuaries in advance of her wedding next week. While She was in traditional dress (and hairstyle), her mother, Princess Hisako, sisters Noriko Senge and Princess Tsuguko and cousin Sayako Kurada all wore white hats.


Today, members of the Takamado and Mikasa families donned brimless black hats to commemorate the second anniversary since Prince Mikasa’s death (Sankei)
Princess Margriet in a red pouf fascinator today to christen a reconstructed expedition ship
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Amazing gravity-defying ombre turban from London-based Awon Golding
Winter white felt angular cloche with exuberant pheasant feathers from British milliner Annabel Allen
Turquoise and tan feather headpiece with net veil from Australian milliner Neil Grigg
Red silk ruched bandeau with pearl trim from British milliner Laura Cathcart
Pale percher with statement sunburst spiky trim from Irish milliner Laura Hanlon
Navy wide brimmed design with red jin sin twists from Australian brand Millinery Jill
Two designs from British milliner Bundle McLaren- a wonderfully modern take on a pillbox in oxblood
with a flying bow
 and a chic black beret percher with silver dipped curling quills
Pale grey sculpted French lace bandeau tiara with dotted net veil from British label Catherine Walker & Co.
Navy straw percher with copper-tipped navy goose feathers from Irish milliner Theresa Nugent
Dramatic, 1950s-inspired blocked straw saucer covered in velvet on top and silk and graphic,
Art-Deco patterned lace on the bottom from from Texan milliner Milli Starr
And from Melbourne-based milliner Louise MacDonald, these wonderfully vibrant and textural bandeau headpieces of woven ribbon.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit shared this week that she has been diagnosed with chronic pulmonary fibrosis. While she is optimistic about treatment and the future, the illness will undoubtedly continue to impact her and her royal role. Living with chronic disease is not easy and as such, I request that all future comments about the Crown Princess’ millinery choices be framed with compassion.
This week had an abundance of state banquets (in Portugal, Fiji and the UK) with some stunning royal looks – including Queen Mathilde here and here, the Norwegian royals, the Danish Royals and Princess Ayako at the formal Choken-no-Gi ceremony- likely the last time we’ll see her in a tiara.
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Princess Nobuko Attends International Botanical Show

We get back to ‘normal’ royal hat coverage with a wonderfully whimsical hat worn by Princess Nobuko to the 20th International Roses and Gardening Show last Thursday. For this event, she wore a wide brimmed white crin picture hat wrapped in a wide swath of white net tulle trimmed with the same embroidered multicoloured dots as embellished her suit.

May 17, 2018 | Royal Hats   May 17, 2018 | Royal Hats
While I’d prefer the hat in more structured straw, it’s a light and lighthearted piece. Yes, it’s a bit twee but and Nobuko still wears it charmingly well.

May 17, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
What do you think of this dotted hat?
Photos from Mainichi and Sponichi

Imperial Royals Attend Red Cross Meeting

The Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual convention took place yesterday in Tokyo, attended by Honorary President Empress Michiko who has been active in the society’s work for more than sixty years. For this event, she repeated a cream silk covered saucer hat with transparent lattice printed underbrim, trimmed with a flat grey and cream bow. She also tucked some greenery into the hat, a touch I’ve not seen her do before.

May 16, 2018 | Royal Hats

For this, Empress Michiko’s last year as Honorary President, she was accompanied by Crown Princess Masako, Princess Kiko, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako. Crown Princess Masako wore a navy silk covered square crowned hat with upturned bumper brim. Princess Kiko topped her grey suit with a matching square crowned bowler with upturned kettle brim and wide silk monochrome hatband. Princess Nobuko paired her black and navy silk jacquard print dress with a repeated cream hat with short, upswept brim and navy silk hatband and side bow. Princess Hisako topped her grey silk jacquard suit in a grey cloche/bucket hat wrapped in a wide wrap of dotted grey tulle. The resulting effect of the tulle wrap is unexpected and rather lovely!

May 16, 2018 | Royal Hats

I wonder what inspired the Empress to add that sprig of greenery to her hat?
Photos from The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty 

Imperial Royals Attend Spring Garden Party

On Wednesday, members of the Imperial royal family joined the emperor and empress at the the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo for the spring garden party, an annual event that brings us a parade of Imperial royal hats.

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Empress Michiko topped her ice blue silk suit with a small saucer hat in the same hue, trimmed with blue camellia flowers and a flat bow around the front.

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Crown Princess Masako wore a pale pink straw hat with domed crown and short kettle brim, trimmed with a wide ruched straw hatband that finished in a large bow at the side. The bow makes the hat, I think, softening the angular lines of the crown and giving the piece some much needed energy.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako wore hats in the same domed crown and kettle upturned brim shape. Princess Kiko’s hat, in pale blue, is delicately trimmed with a wide silk ruched hatband and silk blossoms on the side. Princess Mako’s white design, which has a wider brim than her mother’s design, is trimmed with a wide turquoise hatband and origami flowers that circle the hat. The combination of wider brim and higher contrast trim (with interesting origami) makes this a winner for me.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko stood out in a light purpley-grey hat with gentle side upsweep on the brim. The hat is exuberantly trimmed in a side spray of feathers and a wide swath of lavender and dark purple net tulle wrapped around the base of the crown that gives great movement to the design and links so well with the sheen of purple shades visible across the weave of her silk suit. Prinkess Akiko topped her pink suit with a matching hat with button crown, short cartwheel brim and bow on the side. Princess Yoko matched her pale yellow suit in a coordinating silk wrapped pillbox hat.

Princess Hisako wore a peach hat with square crown and widely rolled brim (the brim looks to be in the same silk jacquard print as her jacket while the crown looks to be a solid colour). Princess Tsuguko paired her burgundy silk dress in a matching bumper hat wonderfully trimmed with a wide silk bow and flowers on the side. Princess Ayako topped her yellow dress with a white button percher hat embellished with yellow and white flowers around the top half of the hat’s circumference. The floral trim on the hat references the ruffle on the hem of her dress, making a wonderfully coordinated and balanced head-to-hem look.

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How great it is to see a variety of colour, trimmings and shapes on the Imperial Royals?! These nine hats, each of which I believe is a new piece, certainly made for a colourful millinery parade. Which designs stand out most to you?

Closer Look at Three New Designs

Three hats came up in discussion in Saturday’s ‘extras’ post that I think warrant greater coverage and discussion here on Royal Hats. So here we go!

Last Thursday, February 1, Princess Margriet attended a ceremony at the Flood Museum in Ouwerkerk to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 1953 flood caused by a storm tide across the northwest European shelf that caused massive flooding in the Netherlands and claimed 1836 Dutch lives. For this national commemoration, Margriet wore a navy blue felt trilby style hat with extended brim. Lengthening a trilby brim doesn’t always work but this one hits the mark and looks wonderfully stylish on Princess Margriet.

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

Last Friday, February 2, Princess Ayako of Takamado and Princess Nobuko of Mikasa attended the 67th Kanto Tokai Flower Exhibition in Tokyo, both in black hats. Princess Ayako’s rounded crown design features a mushroom brim and unique flat fan bow bow on the side of the crown. Princess Nobuko’s brimess hat follows an asymetrical shape emphasized by wide velvet binding on the top and bottom, and is simply trimmed with a bow at the back. It’s a much bolder shape than we’re used to seeing on Imperial royal hats but one that Nobuko carries so well.

Feb 2, 2018 | Royal Hats

Feb 2, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: both are
Previously Worn: I believe both hats are new

I think all three hats are a great example of style by shape- no exuberant trims are needed to make them stand out (perhaps, except Princess Ayako’s hat, which would look amazing with a large Lady Amherst feather wrapped around the brim!). I’m curious to hear what you think. 
Photos from Getty as indicated; Sankei