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

Imperial Royals Attend New Years Poetry Reading

The annual ceremony of New Year’s Poetry Reading (Utakai Hajime) was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Friday. As per tradition, the Japanese royal ladies attended this event in court dress, just as they did for the annual New Years lectures last week. As host of the event, Empress Michiko was again not required to wear a hat.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko repeated her pale lime pillbox hat with lattice woven detail to match the bodice of her gown. The lattice looks to give some much needed texture to the hat and ties the ensemble together, beautifully.

Princess Kiko, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2013Dec 23, 2006

Princess Mako topped her gown with a bumper brimmed calot hat. While both pieces are impeccably cut, the head to hem use of the same printed blush pink silk makes the ensemble rather bland.

Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2015

We can usually count on Princess Hanako to spice things up in the Imperial fashion stakes and she certainly delivered! Her rose silk hat featured a pork pie style crown around which was set a moulded brim. While the shape was interesting on its own, the hat was trimmed with feathers at the back and a half overlay of the same lace used on her gown. The half overlay is a wonderfully interesting design detail- not only does it make use of the lace’s beautifully scalloped border, it gives some textural contrast to the hat, saving the ensemble from head-to-toe lace overkill. This hat keeps drawing me in for a closer look, something that rarely happens with Imperial royal hats and that makes me love this piece all the more.

Princess Hanako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

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

What do you think of this trio of Imperial royal hats?

Photo from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty, NHK and Sankei

Imperial New Years Lectures 2017

Members of the Imperial Family gathered yesterday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to take part in the Kousho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures).

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Held annually since 1869, the Court Dress code for this event sees all the ladies in gowns and hats except for Empress Michiko, who forgoes a hat as she is officially hosting the event in her home. Princess Kiko repeated the blue grey calot she wore to the lectures last year.

Princess Kiko, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako repeated a turquoise pillbox with bumper-style raised sides she first wore for her grandfather’s 80th birthday three years ago.

Princess Mako, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako of Hitachi repeated the vibrant blue leopard printed silk gown and matching bumper hat with feather trim that she wore for the New Year’s Poetry reading last year.  While the detail on this hat is not visible on this photo, jump over to this post for a better view taken during its first outing.

Princess Hanako, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, and The Asahi Shimbun

Japanese Royals Celebrate Disabled Children & The UN

Last Wednesday, Prince Masahito and Princess Hanako of Hitachi attended the Japanese Society for Disabled Children’s 35th annual Art Exhibition. Princess Hanako wore a smart ivory hat with Pork Pie crown and mushroom brim trimmed with a taupe bow wrapped around the back of the design.

Princess Hanako, Dec 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako, Dec 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

On Monday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attend a symposium in Tokyo commemorating 60 years of Japan’s membership in the United Nations. Princess Masako topped her burgundy suit with a matching felt hat trimmed in a wide velvet hatband with bow at the back. The brim on this piece is slightly wider than we see on most of Masako’s other hats and both the elevated scale and saturated colour work beautifully on her.

Crown Princess Masako, Dec 19, 2016 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako, Dec 19, 2016 | Royal Hats  Crown Princess Masako, Dec 19, 2016 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako, Dec 19, 2016 | Royal Hats

While Imperial royal millinery style usually sticks to its own set of more conservative rules, these pieces both feel more modern and fashionable- what do you think of them?

Photos from Sankei and Kyodo News via Getty; and Sankei

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Yamagata Prefecture over the weekend to take in the 36th National Meeting for the Healthy Ocean. For this event, Empress Michiko repeated her large white saucer hat with curling ribbon detail in the same blue silk as her suit. We don’t often see such a clear side view of Michiko’s hats and this one shows not only how the hat is secured to her head, but how flat (and light weight) the saucer shape is.

Empress Michiko, September 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, September 11, 2016 | Royal Hats   Empress Michiko, September 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: my guess is Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: August 7, 2015July 26, 2015

Last week, Princess Hanako of Hitachi also made her first appearance following a hip replacement earlier this summer. The Princess was in Hokkaido Prefecture to attend the opening of the sixth annual Ikebana Art Exhibition. For this occasion, she wore a new hat. With a squared crown in the same pale peachy-pink silk as her suit, this hat’s focal point is an unusual but beautiful brim made of transparent straw covered in lace.

 Princess Hanako, September 8, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Hanako, September 8, 2016 | Royal Hats

We don’t often see such use of lace on royal hats and the use of lace here creates such a lovely contrast of texture on this piece, significantly lightening its overall feel. I appreciate the gentle curve of the brim and while the repeated use of the lace as applique on Hanako’s suit might be a step too far into matchy-matchy territory, the ensemble is wonderful on her.

Princess Hanako, September 8, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Hanako, September 8, 2016 | Royal Hats

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

While Empress Michiko’s hat is unchanged from her usual style, I’m curious about your responses to Princess Hanko’s more unusual design. What do you think of this lace brimmed hat?

Photos from Mainichi; Asahi and FNN News

Hitachi Couple Attend Memorial

Masihito, Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako attend a WW II memorial ceremony at Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery yesterday (the cemetery holds the ashes of 2,337 Japanese soldiers recovered from Russia and South Pacific Islands). For this event, Princess Hanako wore a smart black hat with square crown and a downward facing lampshade brim. This style of brim can often overwhelm the wearer but the reduced scale of this design works well for Hanako.

Princess Hanako, May 30, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako, May 30, 2016 | Royal Hats

What do you think of this 1950’s inspired design on Princess Hanako?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty