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 domed bumper hat 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 ostric feathers (and is that a bow I see?). Princess Yuriko of Mikasa (grandmother to Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko) wore a brimless hat in deep eggplant purple. 

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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Embed from Getty Images
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

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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This Week’s Extras

King Carl Gustaf, who usually presents awards, found himself on the receiving end yesterday when he caught the largest cod in an Øresund strait fishing derby. He picked up his medal in a casual baseball hat.

Young Prince Hisahito celebrated his 12th birthday on Thursday. He was photographed arriving at the Imperial Royal Palace to visit his grandparents with his mum, Princess Kiko, who wore a streamlined, oyster, brimless hat.

Crown Prince Naruhito departed Japan yesterday for France. He was seen off at the airport by members of the Imperial family including Princess Kiko, Princess Mako, Princess Yoko and Princess Hisako in a coordinated group of cream and blue hats (Crown Princess Masako was also in attendance but did not wear a hat).

Princess Eugenie shared this throw-back snap featuring a pair of back-to-school hats from the mid 1990s

The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:

Beautiful colour and lines on this orchid purple hat with ruffled brim from Brisbane milliner Brenda Lui
British milliner Laura Cathcart in a loden green felt percher pillbox with marvelous pompom trim of her own design
Amazing movement on this cream and pink flying straw turban from Sarah Cant’s SS 2019 collection
Cornflower blue leather floral headpiece from New Zealand milliner Claire Hahn
Stunning copper straw saucer from Irish milliner Aoife Harrison with surprise royal blue trim
Teal silk saucer with black sinamay brim trimmed with crin & roses from British milliner Dillon Wallwork
Statement amethyst straw percher with face-framing knotted bow from Aussie brand Jill and Jack Millinery
The prettiest pink button percher with flowers and curled quills from British milliner Bundle MacLaren

And thanks to Melbourne hat shop The Essential Hat for introducing me to the incredible sculptural headpieces from New York paper artist ChuChu NY. Yes- you read it correctly- it’s paper. Amazing!

 

 

 Royal Hats

Princess Charlene shared this fun snap of Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques meeting a penguin.

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Happy Feet 🐬🐬

A post shared by HSH Princess Charlene (@hshprincesscharlene) on

We end the week with my favourite royal photo of the week, taken yesterday in Scotland when the Duchess of Rothsay (as is her Scottish title) visited the cancer support charity Maggie’s Centers. So sweet.

Photos from social media as indicated 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?