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.

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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.

Embed from Getty Images

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

Conclusion of Imperial Visit to Philippines

After a successful 3-day visit to the Philippines, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko returned home to Japan on Saturday. For their departure, the Empress repeated a grey saucer hat with bow trim. While a nice enough hat, it pales in comparison to the other pieces we saw her wear during the Philippine visit.

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: June 10, 2015May 16, 2015

The royal couple were met by family members at Tokyo airport. Princess Kiko wore a simple black felt hat with upturned brim while Princess Mako repeated a chocolate bowler hat. Princess Kako topped her military-style beige coat in a dark felt hat with flat brim, straight-sided crown and simple ribbon trim while Princess Nobuko wore a stylish navy felt cloche variation with asymmetrical upturned brim and cream sash around the base of the crown. Crown Princess Masako wore a more traditionally shaped cloche in the same winter white as her coat, trimmed with a wide ribbon and side bow.

Princess Kiko, Princess Mako, Princess Kako and Princess Nobuko, January 30, 2016 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Masako, January 30, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Yoko repeated a black bowler with jade green bow trim (see a clearer view here during a previous outing) while Princess Hisako topped her rust coat with a flat crowned black felt hat that looks to have feather trim on the side. I strongly suspect that Princess Tsuguko repeated the chic winter white wool fedora that wowed many of us at the Emperor and Empress’ departure last week (see it here).

Imperial Royal Family, January 30, 2016 | Royal Hats

That wraps up a successful Philippine visit for the Imperial couple. My favourite hat worn on this tour was the white saucer with pale blue flowers that Empress Michiko wore on the second day. Which hat on this foreign visit stood out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; EPA/Francis R. Malasig; Asahi; NNN News and ANN News

New Royal Hats Of 2015: Japan Part 1

2015 best hat small

As per your request, here is a review of some of the new hats we saw this year worn by members of the Imperial Royal Family. The Japanese royals are one of the most prolific hat wearing royal houses- there are too many hats here for a poll so I have numbered each one and invite you to name which hats are your favourites in the comments. Click on each photo to jump back to the original post with additional information, views and detail on each hat.

While I don’t think any of these hats are in the running for best overall new royal hat of the year, there are some beautiful millinery details not to be missed  (the lace trim and lattice outer brim of #5 is exquisite while the braided trim on #27 is so smart). The wonderfully saturated colour makes #12 and #18 stand out as my favourites- Which hats or details on hats here stand out most to you?

Empress Michiko

1.Empress Michiko, January 16, 2015 | Royal Hats   2.Empress Michiko, March 13, 2015 | Royal Hats   3.Empress Michiko, March 13, 2015 | Royal Hats   4.Empress Michiko, April 8, 2015 | Royal Hats   5.Empress Michiko, April 9, 2015 | Royal Hats

6.Empress Michiko, May 13, 2015 | Royal Hats   7.Empress Michiko, June 10, 2015 | Royal Hats   8.Empress Michiko, August 5, 2015 | Royal Hats   9.Empress Michiko, September 25, 2015 | Royal Hats 10.Empress Michiko, September 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

11.Empress Michiko, October 3, 2015  12.Empress Michiko, October 26, 2015 | Royal Hats  13.Empress Michiko, October 30, 2015 | Royal Hats  14.Empess Michiko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako

15.Crown Princess Masako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats 16.Crown Princess Masako, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats 17.Crown Princess Masako, October 20, 2015 | Royal Hats 18.Crown Princess Masako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats 19.Crown Princess Masako, December 9, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko of Akishino

20.Princess Kiko of Akishino, January 9, 2015 | Royal Hats 21.Princess Kiko, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats 22.Princess Kiko, January 21, 2015 | Royal Hats 23.Princess Kiko, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats 24.Princess Kiko, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

25.Princess Kiko, October 28, 2015 | Royal Hats 26.Princess Kiko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats 27.Princess Kiko, November 24, 2015 |Royal Hats 28.Princess Kiko, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako of Akishino

29.Princess Mako, November 8, 2015 | Royal Hats  30.Princess Mako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats  31.Princess Mako, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Kako of Akishino

32.Princess Kako of Akishino, January 9, 2015 | Royal Hats 33.Princess Kako, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats 34.Princess Kako, March 6, 2015 | Royal Hats

35.Princess Kako, January 15, 2015 | Royal Hats 36. Princess Kako, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats 37.Princess Kako, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s Birthday

Members of Imperial Family gathered at the Imperial Palace today to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday. For their annual appearance on the balcony, the princesses of the family all sported brimless hats.

Imperial Royal Family, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako wowed in a cranberry velvet beaded cocktail hat that she has not worn since 1999! After hoping she would bring it out again, I am thrilled to see the vibrant 1940s styled piece again. It’s a beautiful colour on her and it’s great fun to see an Imperial royal hat with a bit of sparkle.

Crown Princess Masako, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko wore a citrus green silk covered hat with bumper brim and rounded crown (I think it is the same hat she wore earlier this year).

Princess Masako, and others celebrating Emperor Akihitos 82nd birthday at the Imperial Palace

Princess Mako and Princess Kako followed their mother’s lead in a pair of blush and pale pink bumper hats. Both hats are covered in the same patterned silk as the princess’ gowns and decorated with demure bow and floral trims. While conservative in style, the colour makes for a lovely contrast with the young princess’ dark hair.

Princess Mako and Princess Kako, December 23, 2015 | Royal HatsPrincess Kako, December 23, 2015 | Royal Hats

It is always lovely to see the Imperial family together. I was thrilled to see Crown Princess Masako in a vibrant hat- which one stood out as your favourite?

Photos from Asahi and Aflo/Splash News via Corbis

Imperial Family Attend Birthday Concert

Last Friday, members of the Imperial Royal family gathered at the Peace Flower Music Hall inside Imperial Palace to attend a concert in celebration of the Empress’ birthday. As might be expected, the Imperial Princesses wore a bevy of petite hats in light colours.

Imperial Royal Family, June 26, 2015 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako topped her pale beige suit with hat in the same hue (presumably, made of the same fabric!) The crown of the hat, with straight sides and a domed top, was surrounded in a tightly upfolded brim. The only embellishment on the piece was a wide stripe of silk ribbon which edged the brim and gave the piece subtle contrast.

Crown Princess Masako, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

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

Princess Kiko wore a white silk calot hat trimmed in a wide pleated cuff and flat bow at the back. Her youngest daughter, Princess Kako, wore a pale blue bowler style hat trimmed with a white band and back bow around the base of the crown. Both hats are overly sweet for my liking but are very much in keeping with these Princesses’ millinery styles.

Princess Kiko, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Kako, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Kako and Princess Kiko, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: I suspect both hats were new

Princess Hisako (below right, behind Princess Kako) wore a white bowler-style hat with upturned brim around the back. The jaunty brim, similar to that on a Trilby, downplays the dowdy shape of the bowler crown and gives the hat some personality. Hisako’s daughter, Princess Tsuguko, wore a simple apricot coloured hat with embroidered band around the base of the crown. The colour of the hat is quite pretty with her colouring.

Princess Tsuguko and Princess Hisako, June 26, 2016 | Royal HatsDesigners: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Hisako wore this hat
 July 3, 2014. I believe Princess Tsuguko’s hat is new

We can usually count on Princess Hanako and Princess Nobuko to bring some variety to the Imperial royal hats and they did not disappoint. Both wore hats with lace overlays –  Princess Nobuko’s lilac-grey toque style hat was covered in the same grey lace as was used on her dress while Princess Hanako’s pale sage green hat featured a flared brim wrapped in monochrome lace. The use of lace on the brim of Hanako’s hat gave it some much needed textural contrast from the rest of her ensemble and the unusual shape of her hat was a welcome surprise.

Princess Nobuko, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Hanako, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Hanako first wore this hat May 19, 2015. I believe Princess Nobuko’s hat is new.

What did you think of this group of Imperial royal hats?

Photos from FNN News and Asahi

Imperial Family Attend Recital

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended a music recital today in the Imperial Palace’s Peach Bloom Music Hall performed by the graduating students of five university music programs. This event brought out a number of new hats on their first outings. Crown Princess Masako’s  hat, with a domed crown and and upfolded brim, was covered in pink silk and edged with pointed pink lace trim around the edge of the brim. The same lace edged her jacket, tying the ensemble together. We don’t commonly see lace trim used in this way on royal hats and while it is almost too sweet, it gives some much needed texture to this new hat.

Crown Princess Masako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko and her daughter, Princess Kako, both chose new brimless white hats. Pricess Kiko’s rounded pillbox was made of the same same embroidered white silk as her jacket. The wave pattern, embroidered into the fabric, tied the two pieces together and gave a little interest to the perimeter of the otherwise plain hat. Princess Kako’s bumper hat was trimmed by a silk ribbon wedged between the brim and crown of the hat. The same ribbon was used for a flat bow at the back.

Princess Kiko, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats Princess Kako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

As usual, the remaining Imperial princesses showed a little more colour and variety in their millinery. Princess Hanako of Hitachi wore a new brimless teal bumper hat in the same fabric as her suit jacket. The bumper shape, which creates a rolled ‘ring’ around the hat’s crown, and the ruched fabric wrapped around the side of the hat, gave this petite piece considerable interest and movement. I thought the colour was particularly becoming on Princess Hanako.

Princess Hanako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats  Princess Hanako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a navy hat with curled brim and large, multi-looped bow on the side. The brim was slightly raised on one side, giving the illusion of a jaunty, diagonal brim. Princess Akiko of Mikasa wore a pale pink with squared crown. The hat looks to have a very petite flared brim, making it look like a very modern version of a cloche and giving marvellous contrast to her feminine, ruffled suit.

Princess Nobuko and Princess Akiko, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado (seen behind Princess Akiko, above) wore a simple black felt boater style hat. The hat was trimmed in a dark olive green crushed silk band that coordinated with her suit. While I think this ensemble is also new, I believe it is a replica of the purple and black ensemble we saw Princess Hisako wear back in December. 

Imperial Family, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

Photos from FNN News and Sankei