Imperial New Years Lectures 2018

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.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

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.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2014Dec 23, 2013; Dec 9 2010; Dec 23, 2009; Dec 9, 2006Dec 23, 2005

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.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Previously Worn: I believe Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako wore this to this same event in 2016  

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.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

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?
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Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s Birthday

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.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 9, 2015; Dec 23, 2009
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.  
Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats
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?
Photos from Asahi Shimbun,Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

The Imperial royal ladies have been on a vibrant and creative streak with their millinery the past week and a half, something I thought we needed to admire in a dedicated post. Brace yourselves, dearest readers, for some saturated colour!

On  December 1st, the Imperial House Council met to set the date of Emperor Akihito’s abdication for April 30, 2019. Princess Hanako attended the meeting in the most unusual and unique of hats. The design builds on a silk covered helmet shaped base with a very short, flat brim over which lies a voluminous wrap of loosely pleated dark green organza. The design is further trimmed with a vine of green silk leaves wrapped over the crown. It’s a little out there in terms of royal hat designs we’ve seen this year and that it appeared on an Imperial royal head makes me happier than I can express. We’ve called for Imperial royal millinery experimentation and dearest readers- THIS IS IT! Yes, the shape is odd and not terribly flattering but it’s not a standard bowler hat in a pale pastel. The colour is lovely on Hanako and while don’t particularly like the avant garde design, I absolutely adore that Hanako wore it. Happy claps.

Dec 1, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats

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

Last Tuesday, December 5, another jewel toned hat appeared at an Imperial royal function. For a Tokyo ceremony honouring individuals making significant contributions in support for persons with disabilities, Crown Princess Masako donned an deep purply-burgundy felt hat with oxblood pleated hatband in the same fabric as her suit. The brim on this design is a little larger than Masako usually wears and the larger scale is a great change on her. It’s a simple hat but the classically elegant shape is one that works really well for Masako. More happy claps!

Dec 5, 2017 | Royal Hats  Dec 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Nov 10, 2014; Nov 18, 1996

Last Thursday, December 7, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended a ceremony marking completion of Tokyo’s new public square New Square in front of Tokyo Station. For this event, the Empress repeated an apricot hued flat saucer hat with hound’s tooth bow and silk flower. It’s not my favourite colour on her but it’s also not grey, something I’m always happy to see! The link between the hat base, the lapels and sleeve panel on the jacket and the skirt does make for a characteristically unified ensemble and the high contrast pattern adds a bit of punch. Happy claps again.

Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 7, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: March 28, 2014
Last Saturday, on the occasion of her 54th birthday, Princess Masako paid a customary visit to the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Royal Palace. For this visit, she repeated a simple bumper hat covered in blue silk. This style and colour is a more traditional choice but there’s something so calmly beautiful about the subtle sheen on the smooth edges of this hat that makes me really like it on Masako. 
Dec 9, 2017 | Royal Hats 
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2015
And finally, yesterday Princess Hisako attended the 130th anniversary of the Japan Red Cross Society Aichi Prefecture Branch. For her visit to a blood collection center and keynote address at the celebration ceremony, HIsako topped her ice blue jaquard patterned suit with a matching bowler hat variation covering in the same fabric. The hat is trimmed with a slim blue silk hatband that links to the collar on her suit, and a blue net veil wrap studded in blue silk leaves. The leaves on the veil is make an interesting textural addition that I’ve not seen closeup before and their effect keep me going in for a closer look- not something that Imperial royal hats often inspire me to do. I’m not such a fan of the repeated pattern on both the suit and hat but the leaf studded net wrap somehow makes it work.
Dec 12, 2017 | Royal Hats   Dec 12, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: September 8, 2015May 13, 2015
Dearest readers, there is much here to discuss. We’ve got interesting shape, different proportions and unexpected colour. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these hats!

Luxembourg State Visit to Japan

Grand Duke Henri and Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg arrived in Japan today for a three day state visit.

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Embed from Getty Images

For the official welcome, Empress Michiko  ventured away from of her usual grey toward some colour! She topped her muted canteloupe (or peach? pumpkin? amber?) orange silk suit with a matching saucer hat trimmed in a folded bow. The high-sheen silk on the bow links with a panel of the same fabric on her jacket, drawing the pieces together and making a characteristically unified ensemble. While there’s nothing surprising about the saucer shape, the change of colour is a welcome one.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Princess Alexandra stepped in for her mother (whose fear of flying prevented her from making the long trip) in a white suit with a feathered bandeau headpiece worn on the back of her head as a calot. It’s a more demure look than we’re used to on the young princess, likely chosen to fit with the Imperial Royal Family’s fairly conservative style. The most exciting thing about this headpiece is that it is same one that Princess Tessy wore in June 2013 for Luxembourg National Day, making me strongly suspect that it originated in the Grand Duchess’ closet.

    

  

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: June 23, 2013 by Princess Tessy 
Crown Princess Masako topped her royal blue coat with a matching hat. There are many things to like here- the hat’s wide black hatband coordinates beautifully with the black velvet collar and cuffs on Masako’s coat and the colour is SO lovely on her. I’d much prefer sharper lines on the hat (I’m not such a fan of the thick, curved brim  and a slightly different shape (nix the the slightly bulbous crown) but will settle for contentment over the saturated colour, which carries the piece.
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:  January 26, 2016
It’s always nice to see the Imperial royal ladies venture out a bit with their millinery choices- what do you think of this trio of hats today in Tokyo?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Imperial Royals Attend Tree Festival

On Sunday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended the 41st National Tree Growing Festival in Mannō where the couple viewed and tended trees planted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 1988. This appearance marked Princess Masako’s return to this event for the first time in 14 years and for it, she wore a midnight blue velvet hat with rounded crown, upfolded Bretton brim and wide hatband in the same royal blue as her coat.

Nov 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

Nov 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Masako wears dark shades of blue so well and the balance of shades between the hat and coat work beautifully here. It’s not the most exciting of hat shapes but considering its age (at least 23 years), it’s faring fashion trends fairly well.


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: November 30, 2016;  February 7, 2016January 1995
Photos from Asahi and ANN News

Imperial Royals Celebrate Cosmos Prize

Last Friday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended the ceremony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Cosmos Prize, an award given each year to outstanding research work and/or achievement which promotes the philosophy of the 1990 Japan expo theme of “The Harmonious Coexistence between Nature and Mankind.” For this event, Princess Masako repeated her white hat with pork pie crown and upfolded kettle brim, trimmed with a wide royal blue hatband. The hat is a sharp topper for Masako’s royal blue suit, a colour that is fantastic on her.

Nov 10, 2017 | Royal Hats

Nov 10, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: 
Previously Worn: Nov 10, 2016 
We’ve seen Masako’s attendance at royal events steadily increase, something which is wonderful to see. What do you think of this high contrast hat?
Photos from  Sankei

October Review: Week 3

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.

Oct 17, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 17, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Oct 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Oct 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats  Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

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.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

That, I believe, catches us up to today! Do any of these designs receive your nomination for top hats worn this month?

Photos from Asahi ShimbunSankei; News 24