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

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

Imperial New Year’s Lectures

Members of Imperial Family attended traditional annual Imperial New Year’s Lectures hosted by the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday. One of the few royal occasions that still requires court dress, this event provides us a wonderful opportunity for hat watching every year.

As the Empress hosts the event in her home (and thus, does not wear a hat) and Crown Princess Masako did not attend, we’ll start off a review of this ceremony with Princess Kiko of Akishino who wore a pale grey-blue calot hat. The hat appeared to feature some sort of trim or contrasting fabric on the crown and an unembellished cuff brim around the front. While a fairly typical hat for Kiko, I would have loved to see some of the incredible silver thread detail on the bodice of her gown incorporated into the hat. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a simple black pillbox that I believe is a new hat for her.

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: January 15, 2014

Princess Hanako of Hitachi wore a new jade green brimless hat with pork pie crown and bow trim at the side. While the photo below suggests the hat was a slightly different shade than her lace gown, I suspect that in reality, the two were  a match. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa repeated a ruched toque hat with feather trim at the side made of the same grey silk as her structured gown. Her daughters both wore new hats with unexpected twists- Princess Akiko’s blue headpiece appeared to be made of blue and silver petals (or sequins) perched in a mass on the top of her head while Princess Yoko’s tall pink pillbox was trimmed in chevron stripes of matching faux fur.

Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: January 16, 2015

The Takamado princesses were also in attendance. Princess Hisako topped her goldenrod yellow velvet gown in a brimless pork pie hat covered in the same fabric and trimmed in coordinating feathers. Princess Tsuguko highlighted the taupe sheen in her Victorian style suit with a taupe pillbox hat, also trimmed in feathers. Princess Ayako, who we do not often see as she has been studying in Canada for several years, wore a pale pink calot hat. The calot appeared to be trimmed in monochrome lace around the perimeter which I suspect may frame her face in a lovely way.

Princess Hisako, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

While this event often showcases the most daring of millinery worn by the Imperial Princesses, these hats fit with the more typically demure style we often see worn by the Japanese royals. Are there any pieces that stand out to you in particular?

Photos from Getty as indicated and ANN News

 

New Royal Hats Of 2015: Japan Part 2

2015 best hat small

As per your request, here is a review of the remaining new hats we saw worn this year by members of the Imperial Royal Family. As the first post in this series, I have numbered each one and invite you to name which hats are your favourites in the comments as there are simply too many for a poll. Many of these hats were featured in original posts here- click on photos below jump back to these posts with additional information, views and detail on each hat..

While I still do not think any of these hats are in the running for best overall new royal hat of the year, there are some beautiful millinery details, wonderful shapes and unexpected trimmings not to be missed.

Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko of Takamado

1.Princess Hisako of Takamado, February 1, 2015 | Royal Hats  2.Princess Hisako, February 27, 2015 | Royal Hats  3.Princess Hisako, April 26, 2015 | Royal Hats  4.2015-06-11 departing for Swedish Royal wedding 1  5.Princess Hisako of Takamado, August 2, 2015 | Royal Hats

6.Princess Hisako, August 5, 2015  7.Princess Hisako, August 12, 2015 | Royal Hats 8.Princess Hisako, September 8, 2015 | Royal Hats  9.Princess Hisako, September 9, 2015 | Royal Hats  10.Princess Hisako, September 12, 2015

11.Princess Hisako, October 26, 2015 | Royal Hats  12.Princess Hisako, November 18, 2015  13.Princess Hisako, December 27, 2015  14.Princess Tsuguko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako of Hitachi

15.Princess Hanako of Hitachi, January 9, 2015 | Royal Hats  16.Princess Hanako, January 25, 2015 | Royal Hats  17.Princess Hanako, February 26, 2015 | Royal Hats  18.Princess Hanako, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

19.Princess Hanako, May 13, 2015 | Royal Hats   20.Princess Hanako, May 19, 2015 | Royal Hats   21.Princess Hanako, September 29, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa

22.Princess Nobuko, January 9, 2015 | Royal Hats  23.Princess Nobuko, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats  24.Princess Nobuko, March 14, 2015 | Royal Hats  25.Princess Nobuko, May 13, 2015 | Royal Hats  26.Princess Nobuko, June 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

27.Princess Nobuko, August 5, 2015  28.Princess Nobuko, November 5, 2015 | Royal Hats  29.Princess Nobuko, November 10, 2015  30.Princess Nobuko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Yoko and Akiko of Mikasa (not including these two hats and these two hats)

31.Princess Yoko, October 2, 2015 32.Princess Yoko, October 3, 2015 33.Princess Akiko of Mikasa, January 9, 2015 | Royal Hats 34. Princess Akiko, March 18, 2015 | Royal Hats 35.Princess Akiko, July 20, 2015 | Royal Hats

36.2015-06-03 37.Princess Akiko, August 5, 2015 | Royal Hats 38.Princess Akiko, October 5, 2015 39. Princess Akiko, October 6, 2015 | Royal Hats 40.Princess Akiko, December 2, 2015

Princess Nobuko returned to royal duties this year after an extended absence due to health issues. I’m so pleased to see that she has recovered because her hats have become some of the most interesting among the Imperial royal family. Which hats here stand out most to you?

Imperial Royals Host Annual Autumn Garden Party

The Japanese Royal Family were in attendance yesterday at  Akasaka Palace for the annual autumn garden party held in the palace’s imperial garden. One of two garden parties hosted by the Emperor and Empress each year (one in spring and one in autumn), this event is a highlight on the Imperial Royal calendar. Empress Michiko wore a dove grey suit for the occasion with a matching saucer hat. One of the Empress’ larger scale hats, the flat rimmed piece was simply trimmed with a dove grey and white silk bow.

Empess Michiko, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

The garden party made international news thanks to the presence of Crown Princess Masako who has not attended this event in twelve years. She looked marvellous and relaxed in a Byzantium purple suit and matching hat. The simply shaped hat, with a flat brim and straight sided, domed crown, was given visual and textural interest thanks to a wide sash of draped fabric wrapped around the crown.The sash gave a sense of movement to this hat and, combined with its vibrant colour, made it a stand out piece.

Crown Princess Masako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Masako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Kiko topped her white silk suit with a coordinating hat. The squared crown of the hat, which was wrapped at the base in a wide pleated band, smoothly extended in the characteristic ‘bell’ shape of a cloche out to a rolled brim. A nice enough piece on its own, I found the proportion and scale too large for petite Princess Kiko. Her daughter, Princess Mako, topped her peach silk suit with a brown felt hat with narrow, rolled brim. Trimmed with a peach puff on the side, the simple hat provided an interesting contrast against her feminine, ruffled suit.

Imperial Royal Family, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

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

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a navy Breton hat. The outer side of the hat’s upturned brim was covered in the same navy appliquéd lace as her dress. Princess Akiko dressed up her black bowler hat with a wide sash of the same graphic black and white plaid fabric as her jacket while Princess Yoko took a more classic approach in a white hat with mushroom brim. Princess Yoko’s hat looked to be overlaid in a layer of crin (or organza?) which gave it a decidedly romantic feel. Princess Tsuguko topped her mint suit with a cream bumper hat trimmed in a green silk bloom at the side.

Imperial Royal Family, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe all of these hats are new

Finally, Princess Hanako repeated a sage green silk covered hat we have seen several times before. While not visible on the photo below, the brim of this piece is wrapped in green lace which is repeated on the peplum of her jacket. The unusual shape (a variation from the more common mushroom brim as seen on Princess Yoko above) and the interesting use of lace on this piece has always made it a winner for me.

Princess Hanako, November 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: August 5, 2015June 26, 2015May 19, 2015

These Imperial garden parties often bring out the most vibrant and interesting royal hats we see on the Imperial royals all year. The stand outs today for me were Crown Princess Masako and Princess Nobuko- which hats stood out to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Asahi; Kyodo via the Japan Times; and ANN News