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

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

On Tuesday, January 14, Princess Margriet arrived at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam for the annual New Year’s reception in a casual, navy hat (she and other members of the Dutch royal family changed into formal attire inside the Palace!)
Embed from Getty Images
Burgundy felt brimmed hat on Empress Masako for the the 40th anniversary ceremony of the National Rehabilitation Center for Disabled People & the National Occupational Rehabilitation Center on January 22. The windowpane pleated silk on her lapel is repeated on the hatband for an interesting touch.
Fun connection made for Princess Tsuguko’s burgundy hat- it seems to date back as far as 1993
Zara Tindall in a heathered grey felt fedora with darker grey hatband today at the Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham Racecourse
Embed from Getty Images
British milliner Jane Corbett shared this photo of a bespoke hat she created and was shipping off to a lucky client. Many of you will recognize it…
The following new millinery designs caught my eye over the past two weeks:
Layered black and red sinamay straw hat by Zambian Dutch milliner Alice Ng’andwe Vermeulen
Stunning headpiece in purple and pink hand rolled organdie by British milliner Bee Smith
Beautiful bugle bead embroidery on this cherry red felt calot by Tasmania-based milliner Meghan Briton
For our dear gents, this handsome chocolate fedora with silk hatband by Danish brand Hornskov København
Deep claret felt beret percher with very fun feather pompoms by British milliner Awon Golding
Pink and purple felt fedoras with lovely pleated hatbands by German brand Bedacht Millinery
Love the sparkle on this sequin covered beret percher by Texas-based brand The Mad Duchess
Australian milliner Jill Humphries’ feather covered percher with flame twist in midnight blue
Beautiful colour and shape on this claret red felt fedora from British brand Christys Hats
From Dutch milliner Eugenie van Oirschot, this showstopping hat in navy and royal blue silk that leaves me at a loss of words to describe.

 

I suspect I’ve missed a number of noteable royal events and hat outings over the past week but trust you’ll share them here to catch me up!

Photos from social media as indicated

Imperial New Years Lectures 2020

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years lectures on Tuesday at the Royal Palace.

The Akishino princesses all repeated silk covered hats, Princess Kiko in an ivory bumper hat with gold threaded brocade fabric covering the crown; Princess Mako in her peacock blue wide bandeau with large diamond pattern and multi side bow; and Princess Kaiko in a buttercup yellow bandeau with silk blossoms on the side.

Princess Nobuko repeated an aubergine silk bumper hat with beaded split brim. The colour is divine and I adore the subtle bit of sparkle dressing up the split brim. Princess Akiko repeated a pale blue Breton wrapped in an ostrich feather hatband and frothy veil. Princess Yoko wore an ice blue silk covered bumper hat studded with pears that I don’t think we’ve seen before.

Princess Hisako repeated the peach hat that wowed us at the Imperial inauguration. This improved view of the piece shows it to be a boater base covered in apricot silk. The beaded applique around the neckline of Hisako’s gown is repeated on the top of the crown and the brim is overlaid in ombre dyed layers of silk (maybe layered with crin?). Silk calla lilies in the same ombre shades adorn the side of the hat, studded with pearls. Princess Tsuguko repeated a headpiece of overlapping silk leaves in various shades of purple, trimmed in gold, anchored around the back of her head.

We see few royal events attended in traditional court dress which is a shame, because the combination of gown and hat can be spectacular. Which ensembles stand out to you most here?

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

This Week’s Extras

Princess Yoko repeated her Zarny circle tiara headpiece last Sunday during her visit to Myanmar.
Crown Princess Kiko in a pale, neutral modified bowler hat last Sunday for the 43rd National Tree Growing Festival opening ceremony in Ginowan
On Monday, Princess Beatrix attended a symposium at the Council of State in The Hague in a repeated iridescent plum straw bumper hat.
Queen Mathilde added a new red hat this week- see how it compares with her other red hats in this updated post.
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Magenta parisisal straw blocked beret percher with unique coiled flying twist by Australian milliner Jill Humphries
Two galleries (here and here) of impeccable felt hats by Japanese millinery brand Maxim
Amazing vintage shape on this dark green bumper hat with scalloped brim by British milliner Beverley Edmondson
Raspberry felt rounded beret percher with streamlined felt flower trim from London-based milliner Siana Yewdall

Chic midnight blue felt hat with off-center peaked crown and wide hatband from Czech milliner Jolanta Kotabova  

Lovely photo holiday greeting from the Norwegian (the adorable gingerbread Royal Palace model was made by children from Fridheim kindergarten in Oslo), and Belgian royal families


Happy news from Bhutan- during a speech on the nation’s 112th National holiday, King Jigme announced that he and Queen Jetsun are expecting their second child early next summer
 More lovely Christmas photo greetings (both involving vintage transport!) from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall


The Duke of Sussex sent a cheery message to a children’s bereavement charity

This year’s sweet video greeting from Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar

We wrap things up this weekend with new photos of the Queen, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George, preparing Christmas puddings for a charity supporting the Armed Forces.

Photos from social media as indicated