Imperial Royals Set Off For Vietnam

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko departed Japan yesterday en route to Vietnam where they will take part in a six-day visit. The royal couple were seen off at the airport for this historic visit (Akihito is the first emperor to visit Vietnam) by members of their extended family. Empress Michiko looked very smart in her repeated black saucer hat trimmed in origami folded bow, backed in the same black and white hound’s tooth check as her skirt.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Empress Michiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 16, 2015

Crown Princess Masako topped her emerald coat with a matching hat in velvet felt. The flat crown and upturned brim shape of this hat is one we’ve seen on Masako before but in a saturated colour and with the addition of braid around the brim edge, the familiar shape is transformed into something special.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Kiko wore a cloche variation in camel felt with diagonally upturned brim. The brim shape is an unexpectedly pert departure for Kiko that works well for her.

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Princess Kiko and Princess Masako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Mako and Princess Kako both sported bowler variations with rolled brims and squared crowns in chocolate brown felt. This side-by-side view of these two very similar pieces shows the significant difference that subtle changes in crown height or tightness of brim roll can make to the overall look of a hat.

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: unknown
Princess Mako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016 and Nov 29, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016. I believe it was also worn by her mother, Princess Kiko on Nov 29, 2013 

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako both sported navy and white hats (far left, below). Princess Nobuko’s winter white felt ddesign (a fedora variation maybe?) featured an upturned brim and navy hatband while Princess Hanako’s hat contrasted a cream brim against a navy crown. Both hats are sharp, stylish pieces that I wish we could see up close.

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe both hats are new

Princess Akiko repeated her winter white cloche hat with an upturned cuff brim while her sister, Princess Yoko topped her yellow coat with a matching bowler variation with yellow squared crown and rolled ivory brim. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado wore what looks like an ecru bumper hat with large bow trim at the side.

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: all are unknown 
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s hat was worn Jan 26, 2016. I believe Princess Yoko and Princes Tsuguko’s hats are new. 

When the royal couple touched down in Hanoi, Empress Michiko embarked in a mushroom grey hued suit with coordinating hat. One of her larger saucer shapes, the hat is simply trimmed with a curling ribbon in the same two shades of grey as her silk suit. It’s a simple hat but one that works really well with this ensemble.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images  Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
There are some nice surprises in this group of hats- which designs stand out to you?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Shizou Kambayashi via Associated Press; Kazuhiro Nogi via Getty; REUTERS/Issei Kato

17 thoughts on “Imperial Royals Set Off For Vietnam

  1. I am so sick of the Empress’ little flat pancake hats and do not think they flatter her. Obviously she likes them, but for goodness sakes, woman, vary the styles you wear! You have the money to experiment a bit more! This is 2017 not 2047!
    The trim on Masako’s is nice.

    • It is widely understood that, as a result of severe headaches, Empress Michiko’s late milliner, Akio Hirata, developed the lightweight saucer shapes for her many years ago. She has completely given up wearing tiaras for the same reason and while the saucer hats are very predictable, I think it’s admirable that she and her milliner have come up with a unique style that works for her health.

      • I did not know that, and then of course the saucer makes total sense! Thank you for explaining.
        But if her headaches are so bad that she cannot bear the weight of a hat of any other kind, shouldn’t she be in bed rather than performing public duties? I feel bad that she has had to suffer for so many years for the sake of duty.

  2. Princess Masako looks beautiful! I love her green coat and matching hat with added touch of embellishment. Princess Kiko’s hat and coat are modern and chic, very much her. The Empress is, as always, perfect.

    • Agree with all! It’s wonderful to see Masako looking so happy and I want Kiko’s hat! The Empress can do no wrong in my book!

  3. The Empress’ houndstooth hats are among my favorites for her, and this black is so striking and elegant! The Empress is certainly an underrated millinery icon. I do wonder if her gloves are brown, or if it’s just the lighting; if they are brown, it’s a very odd choice for an otherwise very black ensemble.

    The shape of Masako’s hat is nothing new or terribly exciting, but that emerald color is to die for (granted, I’m biased since green is my favorite color, and emerald is my favorite shade of green). The braided brim binding and super-wide hatband keep this hat from being too boring. I do wish her coat was more tailored, but the collar and sleeve cuffs have subtle design details I enjoy.

    It’s nice to see Kiko in a hat that’s not a pillbox, but I’m disappointed she continues with her neutral color palette. Nevertheless, this is one of her best looks in a long time.

    While Mako and Kako both look nice, I can’t find much to say beyond that it’s odd they are dressed so similarly.

    Nobuko’s white hat with navy hatband is a classic choice, and personally I think the crown on her hat is just more squared off than most of the other princesses’ in that photo (although I could be wrong without closer inspection). I like the contrast of a navy crown with a white brim for Hanako. We definitely need more views of these hats!

    Again, Akiko and Yoko look nice, but I’m not super excited about their hats. Tsuguko, on the other hand, is rudely being covered by PM Abe so we can’t see her hat, which looks magnificent! Tsuguko clearly takes after her mother’s style of millinery and is one of the most underrated hat wearers in the Japanese Imperial Family.

    Finally, the Empress’ arrival hat coordinates so well with her skirt suit, and I love how well they’ve paired the taupe and light clay grey.

    Overall, an excellent showing of millinery by the Japanese Imperials!

  4. Everyone is true to form. The braid around the brim of Princess Masako’s hat is excellent. The Empress’s two hats are just what one would expect: restrained but exquisite.
    I particularly appreciate that fabulous send-off picture at the airport. (It can be difficult to get eight people to wave and smile simultaneously!)

  5. Before I comment on the the hats, I want to say how much better I think Prince Fumhito looks with his hair blown off his face. As for the hats, I love the deep green on The Crown Princess. It’s a wonderful colour on her. But Princess Kiko looks particularly fetching in the asymmetrical camel felt hat. I do find it odd that the Princesss Kako and Mako dress alike. The Empress is as elegant as ever. I find the seeing off and welcoming back home idea quite charming,

  6. Add Princess Tsuguko’s bumper to the list of hats I wish we could see better. The Empress looks lovely, as always, but I agree that Princess Kiko’s cloche is the best of the bunch.

  7. These are all nice hats, easily dismissed as predictable, but you, Hat Queen, have taught us to look at the details and appreciate the small things. My favorite of these is the cloche variation.

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