Imperial Royals Host Annual Autumn Garden Party

The Japanese Royal Family were in attendance yesterday at  Akasaka Palace for the annual autumn garden party held in the palace’s imperial garden. One of two garden parties hosted by the Emperor and Empress each year (one in spring and one in autumn), this event is a highlight on the Imperial Royal calendar. Empress Michiko wore a dove grey suit for the occasion with a matching saucer hat. One of the Empress’ larger scale hats, the flat rimmed piece was simply trimmed with a dove grey and white silk bow.

Empess Michiko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

The garden party made international news thanks to the presence of Crown Princess Masako who has not attended this event in twelve years. She looked marvellous and relaxed in a Byzantium purple suit and matching hat. The simply shaped hat, with a flat brim and straight sided, domed crown, was given visual and textural interest thanks to a wide sash of draped fabric wrapped around the crown.The sash gave a sense of movement to this hat and, combined with its vibrant colour, made it a stand out piece.

Crown Princess Masako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Masako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Kiko topped her white silk suit with a coordinating hat. The squared crown of the hat, which was wrapped at the base in a wide pleated band, smoothly extended in the characteristic ‘bell’ shape of a cloche out to a rolled brim. A nice enough piece on its own, I found the proportion and scale too large for petite Princess Kiko. Her daughter, Princess Mako, topped her peach silk suit with a brown felt hat with narrow, rolled brim. Trimmed with a peach puff on the side, the simple hat provided an interesting contrast against her feminine, ruffled suit.

Imperial Royal Family, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

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

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a navy Breton hat. The outer side of the hat’s upturned brim was covered in the same navy appliquéd lace as her dress. Princess Akiko dressed up her black bowler hat with a wide sash of the same graphic black and white plaid fabric as her jacket while Princess Yoko took a more classic approach in a white hat with mushroom brim. Princess Yoko’s hat looked to be overlaid in a layer of crin (or organza?) which gave it a decidedly romantic feel. Princess Tsuguko topped her mint suit with a cream bumper hat trimmed in a green silk bloom at the side.

Imperial Royal Family, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe all of these hats are new

Finally, Princess Hanako repeated a sage green silk covered hat we have seen several times before. While not visible on the photo below, the brim of this piece is wrapped in green lace which is repeated on the peplum of her jacket. The unusual shape (a variation from the more common mushroom brim as seen on Princess Yoko above) and the interesting use of lace on this piece has always made it a winner for me.

Princess Hanako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: August 5, 2015June 26, 2015May 19, 2015

These Imperial garden parties often bring out the most vibrant and interesting royal hats we see on the Imperial royals all year. The stand outs today for me were Crown Princess Masako and Princess Nobuko- which hats stood out to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Asahi; Kyodo via the Japan Times; and ANN News

9 thoughts on “Imperial Royals Host Annual Autumn Garden Party

  1. This is a Japanese Imperial hat feast! Crown Princess Masako is my favourite hat and suit here, and the vibrant purple looks so great on her! It is wonderful that she is doing more public appearances. Empress Michiko is my second favourite of the group. She looks good in the dove grey suit and although I am a bit bored with her little saucer hats, I like that this is a larger version. My third favourite of the group is Princess Nobuko of Mikasa’s navy Breton hat, and her matching dress looks elegant, and I do like the lace trim on the hat and suit, which you don’t see that often. My fourth favourite in this group is Princess Tsuguko’s outfit and hat. I like the shade of mint green of the suit and trim on her cream bumper hat. My fifth favourite in this group is Princess Yoko’s simple, classic white hat with mushroom brim. The other hats are alright, but not fantastic.

  2. This is a lovely occasion for hat-fans, as it’s such an advance over the imperial ladies’ usual demure and, let’s face it, usually boring hats (I except the Empress, who has created her own unique and immediately recognisable style). I like these hats, and love the colour of Masako’s purple hat, and it seems like a real departure for her to wear something as bold.

  3. The Imperial couple looked so happy, I just love them so much! The Empress knows how to rock dove grey, and she does so quite successfully once again here; it’s nice to see one of her larger hats on parade again. Masako is a very close second to the Empress; the shape isn’t very exciting, but the color of her hat (and outfit) is to die for, especially in terms of Japanese imperial dress! Kiko’s hat is nice, but much too large for her head (which is a common problem she seems to have unfortunately). Princess Mako learned how to wear a brown hat this time, and I like it with the contrasting peachy pink of her outfit and hat trim. Nobuko, Akiko, and Yoko all looked very nice in their hats, and I like the variety each showed. Tsuguko mixed up the pillbox shape favored by the Japanese with her hairstyle and the added green trim to match her outfit. Overall, a most successful outing by all the imperial ladies. Brava!

  4. This is a good display of hats!
    CP Masako’s hat certainly is the most colorful and indeed is beautiful. The draped fabric is stunning. The Empress’s hat has exquisite (and subtle, of course) detail. I don’t see how Princess Kiko can see because her hat looks so low, but it’s a nice hat for someone with a much bigger head.
    I also like Princess Nabuko’s navy hat and Princess Hanako’s sage green hat — and eventually I might learn the names of Japanese royalty without my having to scroll back constantly for names and spellings.

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