Princess Hisako At Football Championship

Back on January 1st, Princess Hisako was at Saitama Stadium to present the winning trophy after the 97th All Japan Football Championship final. For this event, she wore an interesting new black hat. The design features a close fitting rounded crown (similar to a bowler or cloche) with upfolded brim trimmed with a hatband that appears to buckle on the side through a series of grommets. The brim is vented on one side, giving it  relaxed points and a lovely sense of movement around the hat.

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

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
We see so few royal hats with brims cut open the way this one is- a simple design feature that gives such a different look and energy to the hat. Thanks to reader Avery for bringing this hat to my attention!
Photos from Getty as indicated
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Imperial New Years Poetry Reading

Last Friday, the Emperor and Empress hosted Utakai Hajime, which translates as ‘First Poetry Reading’, a gathering at the Imperial Royal Palace at the beginning of each new year where participants read traditional Japanese poetry on a common theme before a wider audience. Like the New Years Lectures, the dress code for this event is Court Dress, giving us another opportunity to see the Imperial royal ladies (except the hostess, Empress Michiko) in gowns with hats.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko repeated a pale yellow hat with double bumper brim in the same pale yellow silk as her gown. Princess Mako topped her turquoise gown with a matching bumper hat trimmed with a bow at the back.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn:Dec 23, 2012
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 11, 2017 and Dec 23, 2013

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore the most interesting design of the event, a open crowned headpiece of large pink silk flowers. Her daughter, Princess Akiko, wore a smart cream hat with short brim. I believe both of these hats are new additions.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her high necked bright blue skirt and jacket with a matching hat trimmed in blue and white flowers, a wide hatband and white piping around the brim. Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako wore brimless designs in peach and pale seafoam green silk to match their respective gowns. I believe these three hats are new as well.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Photos of this event are scarce which is such a pity as there are numerous hats that would greatly benefit with closer views. Princess Hanako, who usually brings the most daring millinery designs to these New Years events, did not attend and was certainly missed. From what we can see here, what hats stand out to you most?
Photos from ntv.co.jp; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

Imperial New Years Lectures 2018

Yesterday, members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the Ceremony of Kosho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures)  at Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A tradition of royal enlightenment since 1869, these Imperial New Year’s Lectures saw experts in the field of human, social and natural sciences address the royal delegation in their respective fields. When the lectures began 149 years ago, the daytime dress code across royal courts for ladies reflected the prevailing Victorian fashions of the time- long gowns with hats. This event is one of a handful each year that maintains this dress code, giving us the rare opportunity to see hats with full length gowns.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako made her first appearance at this event in 15 years in a repeated Breton hat. Made of the same hint-of-blue silk jacquard as her gown, the hat features a pork pie style crown and characteristic rolled Breton brim.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2014Dec 23, 2013; Dec 9 2010; Dec 23, 2009; Dec 9, 2006Dec 23, 2005

Princess Kiko topped her celery green gown with a matching capulet style hat that I believe is a new addition to her wardrobe. Following a classic capulet shape (a calot with extended front combined with a bumper brim around the front and sides of the piece), the hat is trimmed with a small back bow and covered in the same lace that adorns the top of Kiko’s gown. Princess Mako made her last appearance at this event in a repeated navy velvet, rounded edge pillbox hat trimmed with a bow on the side in the same blue silk as her gown.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Previously Worn: I believe Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako wore this to this same event in 2016  

The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended this event. Princess Nobuko wore a wonderful pale green pillbox trimmed with a giant ivory silk flower that I believe is new. Princess Akiko repeated a pale pink silk calot trimmed with silk rosettes. Princess Yoko wore a majenta textured pillbox. Princess Hisako topped her elegant dove grey gown with a matching bumper hat with side feather trim that I believe is new. Pricess Tsuguko also went with a new design that looks to be a burgundy silk tam variation trimmed with flowers on the side. Princess Ayoko repeated her pale yellow silk jacquard gown and matching calot bandeau trimmed with silk flowers and leaves on each side.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

These lectures always brings some millinery surprises and such is the case this year, even with a few repeated pieces. I missed seeing Princess Hanako, who always stands out at this event. What hats stand out to you here this year?

Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s Birthday

Members of the Imperial royal family celebrated the Emperor’s 84th birthday on Saturday with an annual balcony appearance at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo where they greeted thousands of well wishers.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako wore a new bumper hat in deep maroon velvet scattered with tiny beads over the crown. The beads, which are repeated on the smocked Elizabethan style ruff collar on Masako’s dress, are not something we see on hat crowns – their use as trim here offers subtle textural contrast to the all velvet ensemble. The hat shape on its own isn’t terribly exciting but it balances well with a high collar and the colour… OH THE COLOUR. It’s not only perfect for this time of year and a fantastic backdrop for showing off jewels but just stunning Masako.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
Princess Kiko repeated the pale slate blue silk covered pillbox she first wore for the 2015 Imperial New Years lectures. The hat is trimmed with a back bow (visible here at its first outing) which makes it a little too twee for my liking, although the subtle placement of it on the diagonal to mix up the pattern between the dress and the hat is a nice touch. It’s classic Kiko- simple, pale and demure.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 9, 2015; Dec 23, 2009
Princess Mako chose an ensemble in a more saturated shade of blue. Her coordinating hat repeated the silk and diamond beaded applique motif on the belt of her dress, giving some graphic punch to the monochrome ensemble. It looks like the hat was further finished with a twisted ruffle in the same silk and velvet on the side. We’ve not seen Mako in a calot shape and it works well with her sideswept hairstyle; the colour is also one she wears particularly well.  
Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
There are a handful of events each year that retain traditional court dress and it’s always fun to see royal women in the hats and gowns required by this dress code. Thoughts on the new hats we saw at this event?
Photos from Asahi Shimbun,Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

The Imperial royal ladies have been on a vibrant and creative streak with their millinery the past week and a half, something I thought we needed to admire in a dedicated post. Brace yourselves, dearest readers, for some saturated colour!

On  December 1st, the Imperial House Council met to set the date of Emperor Akihito’s abdication for April 30, 2019. Princess Hanako attended the meeting in the most unusual and unique of hats. The design builds on a silk covered helmet shaped base with a very short, flat brim over which lies a voluminous wrap of loosely pleated dark green organza. The design is further trimmed with a vine of green silk leaves wrapped over the crown. It’s a little out there in terms of royal hat designs we’ve seen this year and that it appeared on an Imperial royal head makes me happier than I can express. We’ve called for Imperial royal millinery experimentation and dearest readers- THIS IS IT! Yes, the shape is odd and not terribly flattering but it’s not a standard bowler hat in a pale pastel. The colour is lovely on Hanako and while don’t particularly like the avant garde design, I absolutely adore that Hanako wore it. Happy claps.

Dec 1, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats

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

Last Tuesday, December 5, another jewel toned hat appeared at an Imperial royal function. For a Tokyo ceremony honouring individuals making significant contributions in support for persons with disabilities, Crown Princess Masako donned an deep purply-burgundy felt hat with oxblood pleated hatband in the same fabric as her suit. The brim on this design is a little larger than Masako usually wears and the larger scale is a great change on her. It’s a simple hat but the classically elegant shape is one that works really well for Masako. More happy claps!

Dec 5, 2017 | Royal Hats  Dec 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Nov 10, 2014; Nov 18, 1996

Last Thursday, December 7, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended a ceremony marking completion of Tokyo’s new public square New Square in front of Tokyo Station. For this event, the Empress repeated an apricot hued flat saucer hat with hound’s tooth bow and silk flower. It’s not my favourite colour on her but it’s also not grey, something I’m always happy to see! The link between the hat base, the lapels and sleeve panel on the jacket and the skirt does make for a characteristically unified ensemble and the high contrast pattern adds a bit of punch. Happy claps again.

Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: March 28, 2014
Last Saturday, on the occasion of her 54th birthday, Princess Masako paid a customary visit to the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Royal Palace. For this visit, she repeated a simple bumper hat covered in blue silk. This style and colour is a more traditional choice but there’s something so calmly beautiful about the subtle sheen on the smooth edges of this hat that makes me really like it on Masako. 
Dec 9, 2017 | Royal Hats 
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2015
And finally, yesterday Princess Hisako attended the 130th anniversary of the Japan Red Cross Society Aichi Prefecture Branch. For her visit to a blood collection center and keynote address at the celebration ceremony, HIsako topped her ice blue jaquard patterned suit with a matching bowler hat variation covering in the same fabric. The hat is trimmed with a slim blue silk hatband that links to the collar on her suit, and a blue net veil wrap studded in blue silk leaves. The leaves on the veil is make an interesting textural addition that I’ve not seen closeup before and their effect keep me going in for a closer look- not something that Imperial royal hats often inspire me to do. I’m not such a fan of the repeated pattern on both the suit and hat but the leaf studded net wrap somehow makes it work.
Dec 12, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 12, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: September 8, 2015May 13, 2015
Dearest readers, there is much here to discuss. We’ve got interesting shape, different proportions and unexpected colour. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these hats!

Luxembourg State Visit to Japan

Grand Duke Henri and Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg arrived in Japan today for a three day state visit.

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Embed from Getty Images

For the official welcome, Empress Michiko  ventured away from of her usual grey toward some colour! She topped her muted canteloupe (or peach? pumpkin? amber?) orange silk suit with a matching saucer hat trimmed in a folded bow. The high-sheen silk on the bow links with a panel of the same fabric on her jacket, drawing the pieces together and making a characteristically unified ensemble. While there’s nothing surprising about the saucer shape, the change of colour is a welcome one.

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

Princess Alexandra stepped in for her mother (whose fear of flying prevented her from making the long trip) in a white suit with a feathered bandeau headpiece worn on the back of her head as a calot. It’s a more demure look than we’re used to on the young princess, likely chosen to fit with the Imperial Royal Family’s fairly conservative style. The most exciting thing about this headpiece is that it is same one that Princess Tessy wore in June 2013 for Luxembourg National Day, making me strongly suspect that it originated in the Grand Duchess’ closet.

    

  

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: June 23, 2013 by Princess Tessy 
Crown Princess Masako topped her royal blue coat with a matching hat. There are many things to like here- the hat’s wide black hatband coordinates beautifully with the black velvet collar and cuffs on Masako’s coat and the colour is SO lovely on her. I’d much prefer sharper lines on the hat (I’m not such a fan of the thick, curved brim  and a slightly different shape (nix the the slightly bulbous crown) but will settle for contentment over the saturated colour, which carries the piece.
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:  January 26, 2016
It’s always nice to see the Imperial royal ladies venture out a bit with their millinery choices- what do you think of this trio of hats today in Tokyo?
Photos from Getty as indicated