Wrapping Up Imperial Royal Tour

In the midst of a busy schedule of royal events over the past two weeks, I completely forgot to wrap up the Imperial visit to Thailand. My apologies!

On Sunday, March 5, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in Thailand (see their departure from Vietnam earlier that day at this post). The Empress disembarked the flight in a new grey saucer hat with flat bow across the front, trimmed with a dotted black net tulle veil. The addition of the net veil is a trimming departure for the empress, one that gives a bit of textural contrast to the hat.

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

After a quick 24-hour visit, the Imperial couple departed on Monday, March 6 to return home. For their departure, Empress Michiko wore her ninth new hat of the tour. The pale grey rimmed saucer hat is trimmed with a double looped half bow in the same darker grey silk as her dress. This design is not a departure from anything else we’ve seen on the Empress, although the balance between the saucer brim and the side bow is particularly pretty in this piece.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

The royal couple arrived home on the evening of Monday, March 6. The Empress disembarked the Japan airways jet in a repeated saucer hat in the same tiny black and white check as her coat, trimmed with a large curved bow.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:March 18, 2016January 19, 2015

Most of the extended Imperial royal family greeted the Emperor and Empress at the airport. Crown Princess Masako wore a new black (or navy?) hat with upfolded velvet brim, edged in braid trim. Some of you may recall that she wore a green version of this same for the Emperor and Empress’ departure.

 Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko,  Princess Kako both wore variations on bowler hats while Princess Mako repeated a navy cloche with upturned, short trim trimmed with a bow on the side. 

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako repeated a white cloche variation with short mushroom brim and wide grey ruched hatband. Princess Nobuko looked to be wearing a large navy saucer hat (worn at a wonderfully jaunty angle) while her daughters Princess Akiko wore a grey trilby with navy hatband and Princess Yoko sported a white design with short brim and tall crown. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado looked to be wearing her navy indented pillbox with back bow and Princess Ayako topped her camel coat with a matching hat that appears to be trimmed in a Lady Amherst pheasant feather.

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Several of you have commented about the tradition for extended Imperial family members to greet the Emperor and Empress at their departure and arrivals home- it is a lovely tradition and one that allows us to see lots of hats! Which designs here stand out most to you?

The Imperial Household Agency announced last week that the gruelling pace of this tour caused sickness for the Empress, who has now suspended engagements in order to recover. We wish her the very best in her return to health.

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.

Empress Michiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

  

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.

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.

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.

   

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

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

Back on October 12th, , Princess Akiko of Mikasa attended the 14th Commendation Ceremony of People’s Self Defence Officers in Tokyo. For this event, she wore an interesting navy wool top hat with rolled brim and bright turquoise hat band. The shape is a surprise on an Imperial head and while I applaud ANY millinery experimentation in this family, I’m not sure it’s the best shape for Akiko. The bright hat band, however, is a win.

Princess Akiko, Oct 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

On October 14, Princess Hisako of Takamado visited an elementary school while on a trip to Kobe City where she witnessed a disaster preparation drill. She wore a simple black bumper style hat that coordinated well with her black and white suit.

Princess Hisako, Oct 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

And finally, Princess Nobuko of Mikasa was in Kagawa Prefecture over the weekend. On Saturday, she visited the National Leprosy Sanatorium in Takamatsu City in this pale staw pork pie crowned hat with rolled brim, wide grey hat band and pheasant feather trim. It’s a great informal hat that feels stylish on the princess. And how great is it to see some pheasant feathers on an Imperial royal hat? Next time, double the size, please.

Princess Nobuko, Oct 22, 2016 | Royal Hats

What do you think of this trio of Imperial hats?

Photos from SankeiKobe Shimbun; and Yomiuri

Imperial Royals At Spring Garden Party

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended an annual spring garden party hosted by the Emperor and Empress yesterday at the Akasaka Imperial Garden.

Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko led her family in an elegant white wool suit topped with her large white saucer hat with pink petal trim. Within the realm of the empress’ style, it was a lovely hat for this event.

 Empress Michiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 24, 2014December 2, 2013

Crown Princess Masako was also in white, pairing her suit with a squared bowler hat with short, upturned brim. If you look closely, you will see that the band around the crown of this piece is anchored by very slim braided trim which brings some much needed texture to it.

Crown Princess Masako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: November 5, 2014

From a distance, Princess Kiko’s pale green hat looked to be a silk covered pillbox but closeup, it revealed itself to be a bumper hat with flat, upfolded cuff brim. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a square-crowned pink hat with short rolled brim.The shape of this piece looks like a cross between a bowler hat and a top hat… a hybrid that I’m not keen on.

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako and Princess Kiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat is new. Princess Kiko’s hat was worn April 26, 2007
Princess Hanako of Hitachi, seen below on the left repeated her smart ecru hat with square crown and linear, upturned brim.
Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her pale aqua suit with a whimsical hat wrapped in a swath of coordinating tulle that leaves one thinking of cotton candy. Princess Princess Akiko’s rounded crown white hat featured what looks like a moulded sash and brim combination in the same pale celery as her suit. Princess Yoko wore a pink hat in the same square crowned shape as the one worn by Princess Mako. A wide ruched silk sash wrapped around the crown, ending in a flat bow on the side.
Princess Akiko and Princess Nobuko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats       MIkasa Princesses, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Hisako of Takamado wore an suit and matching hat, both from the same ecru patterned silk. The hat featured a low, flat crown and short, U-shaped curled brim- a shape which, unfortunately, looks like a squashed top hat.
Princess Hisako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
The most dramatic millinery shapes of the day were worn by the younger Takamado Princesses. Princess Tsuguko topped her navy and black printed dress and jacket with a wide brimmed black picture hat trimmed in what looks to be a wide bleu sash (or long navy feathers?) wrapped around the flat sided crown. Princess Ayako topped her pale lilac ensemble with a matching saucer hat, placed at the most rakish angle we’ve seen among the Imperial royals in a long time. Both ensembles showed more personality than we’ve seen in a long time on Imperial Royals, something that fills me with glee!
 Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
It is always fun to see such large scale royal hatted events such as this one, even if the hats are not exciting. The last two certainly piqued my curiosity (oh how I wish we could see them better) which is not something I often can say about Imperial millinery. What do you think of this parade of Japanese royal hats? Are any of them worthy for your nomination of favourite hat worn this month?
Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi ShimbunThe Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and Sankei

Imperial Couple Visit Philippines

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko departed Tokyo this morning for the Philippines where they embarked on a four day visit. The Empress looked very smart in a dark slate blue rimmed saucer hat trimmed in a large crepe silk folded bow.

Empress Michiko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

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

The couple were bid farewell by members of the Imperial Family. Crown Princess Masako wore a vibrant blue wool coat with matching hat which features a flat crown and upturned brim. The piece is trimmed with a wide ribbon around the crown that coordinates with the black accents on her coat. She stood out in a sea of neutral toned Imperial royal ensembles and I love her for it.

Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

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

Princess Kiko repeated a simple navy hat with short, upturned brim and a rounded, straight sided hat. The hat is trimmed with a thick navy band around the base of the crown, giving a slight stepped detail to the piece.

Princess Kiko and Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Masako and Princess Kiko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako wore a navy felt cloche hat embellished with a double grosgrain ribbon bow at the side. A band, edged in folded ribbon on both sides, encircled the base of the crown’s hat, giving it some contrast and dimension.
Princess Mako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Tsuguko of Takamado wore a fedora in winter white wool trimmed with a spiky spider mum flower at the back.  It’s a wonderfully chic hat that worked so well with her black and white suit and black cape.
Princess Tsuguko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Yoko of Mikasa wore a cream hat with flat crown, vertical sides and a short, rolled brim. Her sister, Princess Akiko, topped her winter white coat with a matching cloche hat with an upturned cuff brim. Their mother, Princess Nobuko, wore a streamlined grey toque hat that provided interesting style and texture contrast with her fur coat.

Imperial Royal Family, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Arriving in the Philippines, the Empress removed her coat and scarf to reveal a tailored jacket in large plaid to match her hat and skirt. At closer look, the hat also features a layer of the plaid fabric incorporated in the bow, tying the ensemble together. It’s a very predictable hat for the Empress, both in shape and in colour, but one she wears well.

I suspect we’ll see several more new hats from Empress Michiko before the week is done- stay tuned!

Imperial Royals Attend New Years Poetry Reading

Members of Imperial Family joined the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday for the Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime, the annual New Year’s Poetry Reading.

Imperial Royal Family, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

As she hosted the event in her home, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat. Princess Kiko repeated a pale yellow silk covered bumper hat that looks to be trimmed in the same braided detail adorning the bodice seams of her gown. While impeccable, the demure ensemble is a little boring. Princess Mako was slightly more adventurous in a new pale blue calot hat with curved brim that rolled back closely around the hat’s crown. The hat is covered in the same silk as her floral gown and trimmed with two silk blooms at the side. It’s not an exciting hat but the shape looks great on Mako and works particularly well with her fringe.

Princess Kiko, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Mako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko, Princess Mako and Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: December 23, 2011

Princess Hanako of Hitachi stood out in a new vibrant blue gown in a coordinating hat. The hat’s domed crown was covered in plain silk while its small brim was wrapped in the same leopard printed blue silk as Hanako’s gown. It looks like the hat was completed with feather trim at the back. While the ensemble has a slight 1980s air about it, the bold colour and slightly racy pattern is such a departure from most things we see on the Imperial royals that I’m inclined to love it anyway.

Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko topped her pale grey gown with a calot hat trimmed in a huge blossom on the side while her daughter, Princess Akiko, chose a simple calot in the same bubblegum pink as her silk gown. Princess Hisako of Hitachi wowed in a teal suit with lavishly embroidered sleeves and skirt. Her new pillbox hat looked to contain similar embroidery around the perimeter, making for a rather spectacular ensemble. Her daughter, Princess Ayako, topped her pale yellow silk jacquard suit with a matching new calot hat. While I’m all for a calot, the bows on either side of this piece lend a Princess Leia vibe (a vibe that is particularly ironic for a hat worn by a young Imperial princess!)

Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko, Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: August 5, 2015
Previous wearings of Princess Akiko’s hat: January 9, 2015

I always enjoy seeing court dress and thought Princess Hanako and Princess Hisako knocked it out of the park at this event. What did you think of the Japanese royal hats at this poetry reading?

Photos from Asahi, ANN News and NHK

Imperial New Year’s Lectures

Members of Imperial Family attended traditional annual Imperial New Year’s Lectures hosted by the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday. One of the few royal occasions that still requires court dress, this event provides us a wonderful opportunity for hat watching every year.

As the Empress hosts the event in her home (and thus, does not wear a hat) and Crown Princess Masako did not attend, we’ll start off a review of this ceremony with Princess Kiko of Akishino who wore a pale grey-blue calot hat. The hat appeared to feature some sort of trim or contrasting fabric on the crown and an unembellished cuff brim around the front. While a fairly typical hat for Kiko, I would have loved to see some of the incredible silver thread detail on the bodice of her gown incorporated into the hat. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a simple black pillbox that I believe is a new hat for her.

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: January 15, 2014

Princess Hanako of Hitachi wore a new jade green brimless hat with pork pie crown and bow trim at the side. While the photo below suggests the hat was a slightly different shade than her lace gown, I suspect that in reality, the two were  a match. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa repeated a ruched toque hat with feather trim at the side made of the same grey silk as her structured gown. Her daughters both wore new hats with unexpected twists- Princess Akiko’s blue headpiece appeared to be made of blue and silver petals (or sequins) perched in a mass on the top of her head while Princess Yoko’s tall pink pillbox was trimmed in chevron stripes of matching faux fur.

Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: January 16, 2015

The Takamado princesses were also in attendance. Princess Hisako topped her goldenrod yellow velvet gown in a brimless pork pie hat covered in the same fabric and trimmed in coordinating feathers. Princess Tsuguko highlighted the taupe sheen in her Victorian style suit with a taupe pillbox hat, also trimmed in feathers. Princess Ayako, who we do not often see as she has been studying in Canada for several years, wore a pale pink calot hat. The calot appeared to be trimmed in monochrome lace around the perimeter which I suspect may frame her face in a lovely way.

Princess Hisako, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

While this event often showcases the most daring of millinery worn by the Imperial Princesses, these hats fit with the more typically demure style we often see worn by the Japanese royals. Are there any pieces that stand out to you in particular?

Photos from Getty as indicated and ANN News