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, 2019; Apr 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 Tsuguko wore a chic green hat with vibrant feathered trim on February 27 to attend a UN Youth Forum in Tokyo.

Princess Hisako in a large black beret on Wednesday to open a photo exhibition and a purple silk jacquard covered hat today for the first day of the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto.

 

The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Scarlet tall-crowned trilby covered in guipure lace by Norwegian milliner Mona Strand
Fantastic felt fedora in the juiciest shade of orange by British milliner Dillon Wallwork
Exquisite headpiece of beaded white rolled sinamay leaves by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit
Black woven leather halo bandeau with back bow by Australian milliner Sophie Allport
Beret percher covered in ombre folded ribbon with feather trim by UK milliner Louise Pocock
Chocolate fedora with bias stripe hatband, stitched star and leopard underbrim by Danish brand Hornskov Hats
White paper sparterie  hat with triple layered brim and cotton organdy ruffles by London milliner Anna Stefanou
Stunning bumper and percher designs both with leather flowers from Australian milliner Jill Humphries
Adore the braid trimmed brim edge on this acid yellow design with feathers by Norwegian milliner Ingrid H. Braten
Three toned pink and white sinamay hat with Dior brim and bow by US brand Amy Jo Original Hats
Striking red take on a cloche shape with high upturned brim by Estonian milliner Emma-Elfriide Kübarad
Mint straw hat with pleated crin brim overlay and fan by British milliner Sarah Ross
Such a creative scalloped petal crown shape on this aubergine felt cap by American milliner Mamie Raynaud
Quirky shape on this navy trilby with avocado hatband by British brand Little Sister Millinery
Wonderful autumnal ombre statement in this dyed sinamay design by German milliner Ulrike Strelow

 

Sweet snaps of Prince Oscar released by the Swedish Court to mark his 5th birthday

 

Nod of respect to the Duchess of Gloucestershire who are walking 11,000 steps each day this month to highlight prostate cancer

Commonwealth day message from the Queen

Images from social media as indicated 

This Week’s Extras

Queen Margrethe in her royal blue felt beanie hat with black patent leather cuffed brim on Wednesday to award the “Queen’s Clock” military honour
Princess Hisako and her eldest daughter, Princess Tsuguko, wore cream hats to visit the Meiji Shrine this week. Earlier in November, Princess Hisako wore a streamlined black hat to present the Emperor’s Cup at the 75th All Japan Rubber Baseball Tournament in Okayama.

The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Black felt trilby with the most perfect bow by British milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan

 

Green straw beret percher with cut feathers and surprise applique lace flowers by British milliner Rachel Dunn
Grey felt trilby with coral embroidered flowers and silk hatband by Kenyan milliner Lali Heath
Sky blue scalloped straw disk with raised back, silk bow and veil by British milliner Stephen Jones
Navy felt button percher with lovely velvet butterflies by American brand Art of Hats
Burgundy felt hat with extended, pointed brim (love the zigzaggy slim hatband!) by Russian milliner Lia Gureeva

 

Angular felt hat with fantastic felt and patent leather twists by British brand Rebecca Couture Millinery
Tweed and velvet halo bandeaux headpieces with stunning floral spray trims by London-based milliner Guilia MIo
Tall cloche in cognac felt with double black hatbands with folded bow by Russian milliner Svetlana Kvarta
Black beret percher cocktail hat with waterfall diamond trim by British milliner Victoria Grant
Dramatic black straw saucer overlaid in floral embroidered tulle by British milliner Lucy Bowler

 

Wonderful new photo of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh taken by British photographer Chris Jackson and released for their 73rd wedding anniversary this week. The card they are reading was from their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
To further celebrate this anniversary, The Royal Collection Trust shared this wonderful overhead shot of the Queen on her wedding day.

Photos 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, 2019; Apr 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;