Imperial Couple Visit Yamagata

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko’s visit to Yamagata Prefecture over the weekend saw the Empress wore two hats in addition to the one we looked at in this previous post. For their arrival on September 10, Empress Michiko repeated a white mini-pillbox hat trimmed with a white and slate blue folded fabric bow which coordinated with the lapel on her jacket.

Empress Michiko, September 10, 2016 in Akio Hirata | Royal Hats   Empress Michiko, September 10, 2016 in Akio Hirata | Royal Hats

Designer: Akio Hirata 
Previously Worn: July 22, 2014; July 14, 2009

The Imperial couple spent Monday, September 12 visiting the Nezugaseki Port of Tsuruoka and Tsuruoka Matsugaoka reclamation field. The Empress debut a new white saucer hat for these events. While this piece follows the predictable shape and scale of Michiko’s other hats, it dramatically departs in terms of trimming with a blue and orange plaid multi looped bow in the same fabric as the peplum and pocket square on her suit. We rarely see such unexpected hits of colour on Empress Michiko’s ensembles and while I’m not sure this one is entirely successful, I’m going to embrace it because it’s such a welcome change from her usual head-to-hem greys.

 Empress Michiko, September 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, September 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, September 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: this hat is new

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this new hat’s slight design twist!

Photos from Sankei, Yomiuri and Asahi


11 thoughts on “Imperial Couple Visit Yamagata

  1. It’s always so heartwarming to see this beaming happy couple!
    The second hat is fun and summery. The only problem with the second outfit is the sheer size of the peplum — it’s altogether too big and out of proportion, in relation to the dainty hat.
    If the peplum were removed and the check fabric used as a suit trim — say, a 1″ strip along the cuff hems or along the hem of the jacket — the outfit would look just fine with this hat – oh, and with bag and shoes in tan or navy, of course :).

  2. I was trying to discover via the internet whether the ‘peplum’ is a traditional Japanese textile that had been repeated on the hat. To my unschooled eye it looks like a traditional textile. Of course, I was unsuccessful as I didn’t know ‘what’ to ask. But I did come across this set of posts about the Empress, her early life and upbringing, how the couple met and even some comments from her about the rather cloistered way she must live. There are also statements that after her marriage she was ‘bullied’ into a breakdown by her mother-in-law that left her silent for 7 years, and that she had a subsequent second breakdown. Well worth a read. For me, it rounds out a woman I know very little about, beyond thinking that she seems to have a serene, yet friendly, face.!/2011/02/behind-chrysanthemum-curtain-apparent.html

    • Sandra, what a fascinating read about the world into which the young woman, to become Crown Princess and then Empress found herself. It was no doubt made more difficult by the turmoil following World War II in addition to the animosity of her mother-in-law. She deserves our respect for prevailing whilst conforming to the traditions of the Imperial court.

  3. I think both outfits are successful. Considering the very tight restrictions that obviously are placed — for whatever reasons — on the Empress’s dresses and hats, any variety that comes through is appreciated. The first (repeated) outfit shows more color than some. The second (new) outfit shows an unusual bit of color in the peplum is nicely repeated in the hat. This fabric saves an otherwise standard white outfit from total boredom.
    Do you think the skirts of the two outfits could be the same one? Perhaps the Empress is thriftier than we thought.

  4. It’s funny to see what constitutes a color hit for the Empress since the blue is so subdued and the orange barely registers, at least on my screen. I wish I knew something about Japanese textiles because I wonder whether the peplum/trim could be a traditional, handwoven fabric.

    In any case, it’s always a pleasure seeing this couple graciously carrying out their duties. Aren’t they second only to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip for both length of rule and marital longevity?

  5. She must be like HM The Queen always wearing the same shoes Glitter Girl. And I agree the plaid hat is fun. The first one with the bow wedged inside looks like she didn’t notice it was like that when she unpacked her wardrobe.

  6. Love the first hat and entire ensemble — so elegant. Not so sure about the second, particularly the suit.
    Question: why is the Empress dressed formally and the Emperor in casual dress?

  7. I think this hat is very successful! Blue and orange is one of my favorite color combos, and I’ve very glad to see the Empress try it out. What I don’t think is successful is using the plaid for the peplum of her skirt; if her whole skirt was in the plaid fabric, then I think it would work much better.

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