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

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

Last Friday, Prince Akishino and Princess Mako visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. For this visit, Princess Mako wore a simple navy hat with short, rolled brim.

Princess Mako, July 29, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, July 29, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, July 29, 2016 | Royal Hats

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

Yesterday, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and Princess Aiko attended a ceremony in celebration of national Water Day. For this event, Crown Princess Masako repeated a white hat with flat brim and squared crown, trimmed with a pale blue hatband to match her suit. It’s not going to win any awards for vibrancy but its a smart hat nonetheless.

Crown Princess Masako, August 1, 2016 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Masako, August 1, 2016 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Masako, August 1, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: July 7, 2016

Photos from Asahi and  Asahi

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

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