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.
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.
Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore the most interesting design of the event, a open crowned headpiece of dusty pink tulle wrapped around a wide rim. Her daughter, Princess Akiko, wore a cream hat with pleated crown and short brim covered in the same silk jacquard as her gown. I believe both of these hats are new additions.
Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her high necked bright blue skirt and jacket with a matching hat with white brim, trimmed with a spray of blue and white flowers on the side. Princess Tsuguko wore a peach bumper hat trimmed with large abstract leaves in the same hue while Princess Ayako wore a brimless design in pale seafoam green silk to match her gown. I believe these three hats are new as well.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Princess Laurentien wrapped up a two day visit to Japan today. Yesterday, she and Princess Kiko were in Nagasaki where they visited Hypocenter Park, Atomic Bomb Museum, and remembered Dutch prisoners of WWII at Kashiwa Camp and Inaza Sosuji International Cemetery, For these events, Princess Laurentien wore a grey felt cloche with a slim charcoal hatband and feather dahlia bloom at the side. Princess Kiko repeated a navy hat with short upturned kettle brim and pleated navy hatband.
Designers: Princess Laurentien’s hat is by Fabiana Filippi Ready To Wear; Princess Kiko’s hat is unknown Previously Worn: Princess Laurentien’s hat is new. Princess Kiko’s hat was wornJanuary 26, 2016
Today’s, the princesses were joined by Prince Akishino for a programme that included opening a new bridge, a ceremony to celebrate the restoration of Dejima Kaimonbashi (Dejima Former Dutch Trading Post) and visits to the Ceramic Bureau and ceramic technology center in Arita. Princess Laurentien repeated her tan straw pillbox hat with feather trim. a hat that made an unexpectedly wonderful match to her Etro embroidered coat. Princess Kiko surprised in a vibrant royal blue ensemble with hat in her signature shape- boxy, rounded crown and short, upturned kettle brim. While I’d love to see Kiko branch out and try a few different hat shapes, her venture out in saturated colour today leaves me smiling.
Last week in royal hats was quieter than the first two weeks this month but still brought us a number of lovely designs. Here are are the royal hats worn between October 15 and 22:
Tuesday, October 17: Princess Nobuko attended the Murayama City Rose Festival in a repeated cream hat with navy hatband.
Tuesday, October 17: Princess Alexandra attended a Service of Celebration for the Centenary of Lady Margaret School at Westminster Abbey. She repeated her dark turquoise blue straw picture hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan with gold silk ruched overlay, trimmed with gold edged blue silk flowers. It’s a hat we’ve not seen since its first wearing at the Cambridge’s wedding in 2011.
Thursday, October 19: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Japanese junior high school education system. Princess Masako repeated a cream felt hat with upturned Kettle brim, simply trimmed with a hatband in the same rosy beige hue as her suit.
Thursday, October 19: Princess Yoko visited Toyama Prefecture October 18-19 to attend the 19th Hokuriku Welfare Golf Tournament. For the event, she repeated a yellow cloche hat with white, upfolded brim.
Thursday, October 19: Queen Elizabeth attended the 70th anniversary parade of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park. She repeated the raspberry pink Rachel Trevor Morgan designed hat with sloped crown, pale grey and pink stacked hatbands and straw flowers with crystal centres we saw her debut earlier this summer.
Friday, October 20: The Imperial Family gathered to celebrate the Empress’ 83rd birthday. Crown Princess Masako repeated a pale blue silk jaquard hat with bumper hatband and rolled brim, Princess Kiko wore a brimless cream hat and Princess Mako wore a peach cuffed calot with side bow detail.
Friday, October 20: Princess Hisako of Takamado opened an exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. She wore a striking new hat with cream crown and grey bumper brim, brimmed with feathers across the front.
Saturday, October 21: Queen Elizabeth attended Champions Day at Ascot Races in her repeated pink felt hat with slim multi-wrap hatband and feather koosh on the side.
A survey of all the hats we saw during the second week this month, October 8 to October 14:
Sunday, October 8: Queen Elizabeth attended Sunday Service at Krathie Kirk in a repeated turquoise straw hat with feather trim. The Duchess of Cornwall was also in attendance in her taupe beret percher with pheasant feather trim.
Monday, October 9: Queen Sonja attended the opening of parliament in Oslo in a repeated black felt cloche hat with upturned brim printed with diamond shapes on the underside.
Tuesday, October 10: Queen Máxima repeated her natural straw picture hat with upswept vertical ‘slice’ brim for her and the king’s first day of state visit to Portugal.
Tuesday, October 10: Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko of Akishino attended the closing of the National Sports Festival in Ehime. Princess Kiko wore what looks to be a new hat with wider than usual brim and pleated cafe-au-lait hued hatband.
Wednesday, October 11: Queen Máxima repeated a silk floral headpiece for Day 2 of the Dutch state visit to Portugal.
Wednesday, October 11: Prince Fumihito, Princess Kiko and Princess Hisako joined the Empeor and Empress for a memorial concert at the Imperial Palace. The princesses wore navy and black brimless hats.
Wednesday, October 11: Princess Akiko of Mikasa attended the 15th commendation ceremony of People’s Self-Defense Force Officers in a sharp navy trilby variation with upturned front brim and wide cream hatband. The same day, Crown Princess Masako attended a memorial in Tokyo for victums of industrial accidents. She wore a navy Breton hat.
Thursday, October 12: Princess Beatrix attended the 250th anniversary celebration of the “Society for the Rescue of People from Drowning” in Amsterdam in a large burgundy straw bumper hat.
Thursday, October 12: Princess Astrid of Belgium joined the Duke of Cambridge for the New Zealand National Commemoration for the Battle of Passchendaele. Her repeated hat in black felt features a flat crown, wide cartwheel brim and slim hatband.
Thursday, October 12: Princess Alexandra repeated her cream straw hat with domed crown, stacked straw hatbands, tulle veil wrap and feather trim to open a learning and development centre at Holy Cross Hospital in Haslemere.
Saturday, October 14: Princess Beatrix opened the renovated windmill “Googermolen” in Roelofarendsveen in a gold straw bumper hat.
Last Thursday, July 27, Princess Hisako of Takamado attended an international calligraphy exhibition in Tokyo. For this event, she paired a black floral suit with a pyramid-centered saucer hat in black straw. This is one of my favourite Imperial royal looks in a long time- the streamlined, modern shaped hat and traditional floral print of the suit are a slightly unexpected combination but so chic.
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
Today, Princess Nobuko, Princess Kiko and Crown Princess Masako joined the Empress at the annual Florence Nightingale awards in Tokyo. Empress Michiko repeated her white raised edge saucer with transparent lattice underbrim, trimmed with a pale celery silk knotted bow and silk leaves. It’s another ensemble of exquisitely subtle touches that the Empress wears, beautifully.
Designer: likely Akio Hirata Previously Worn: Mar 1, 2017
Princess Nobuko looked to be wearing a pillbox in the same grey silk print as her dress. Princess Kiko topped her pale blue suit with a coordinating pillbox and Crown Princess Masako wore a demure cream bumper hat.