Takamado Princess Supports Animal Welfare

Princess Tsuguko of Takamado took part in a “Panel Life” event yesterday which promoted animal welfare and encouraged the adoption of rescue cats and dogs. For this event (see part of her speech here), she wore a textured white pillbox hat in the same white boucle as her suit. The hat’s trim is a more unique story- there appears to be a wide binding around the bottom of the hat in palest blue that is also used to make a layered fan that is attached to the side. I’m always intrigued by new motifs used for hat trimmings and find the tall fan on this one quite fascinating.

May 22, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new
It’s an interesting hat, isn’t it?
Photos from Oricon News
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Imperial Royals Attend Spring Garden Party

On Wednesday, members of the Imperial royal family joined the emperor and empress at the the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo for the spring garden party, an annual event that brings us a parade of Imperial royal hats.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Empress Michiko topped her ice blue silk suit with a small saucer hat in the same hue, trimmed with blue camellia flowers and a flat bow around the front.

Embed from Getty Images

Crown Princess Masako wore a pale pink straw hat with domed crown and short kettle brim, trimmed with a wide ruched straw hatband that finished in a large bow at the side. The bow makes the hat, I think, softening the angular lines of the crown and giving the piece some much needed energy.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako wore hats in the same domed crown and kettle upturned brim shape. Princess Kiko’s hat, in pale blue, is delicately trimmed with a wide silk ruched hatband and silk blossoms on the side. Princess Mako’s white design, which has a wider brim than her mother’s design, is trimmed with a wide turquoise hatband and origami flowers that circle the hat. The combination of wider brim and higher contrast trim (with interesting origami) makes this a winner for me.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko stood out in a light purpley-grey hat with gentle side upsweep on the brim. The hat is exuberantly trimmed in a side spray of feathers and a wide swath of lavender and dark purple net tulle wrapped around the base of the crown that gives great movement to the design and links so well with the sheen of purple shades visible across the weave of her silk suit. Prinkess Akiko topped her pink suit with a matching hat with button crown, short cartwheel brim and bow on the side. Princess Yoko matched her pale yellow suit in a coordinating silk wrapped pillbox hat.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako wore a peach hat with square crown and widely rolled brim (the brim looks to be in the same silk jacquard print as her jacket while the crown looks to be a solid colour). Princess Tsuguko paired her burgundy silk dress in a matching bumper hat wonderfully trimmed with a wide silk bow and flowers on the side. Princess Ayako topped her yellow dress with a white button percher hat embellished with yellow and white flowers around the top half of the hat’s circumference. The floral trim on the hat references the ruffle on the hem of her dress, making a wonderfully coordinated and balanced head-to-hem look.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

How great it is to see a variety of colour, trimmings and shapes on the Imperial Royals?! These nine hats, each of which I believe is a new piece, certainly made for a colourful millinery parade. Which designs stand out most to you?

Imperial New Years Poetry Reading

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.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal 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.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn:Dec 23, 2012
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 11, 2017 and Dec 23, 2013

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.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

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.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

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?
Photos from ntv.co.jp; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

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?

Imperial Royal Memorial and Tour

Last Friday, Princess Yuriko of Mikasa attended a service at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the death of her late husband, Prince Takahito. For this memorial, she wore a veiled black bumper hat.

Princess Yuriko, Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, Princesses Akiko and Yoko of Mikasa and Princesses Hisako, Tsuguko and Ayako of Takamado all wore veiled black bumper hats.

Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

On October 29, Princess Akiko braved the rain in a repeated a white pillbox hat for the enshrinement of Prince Mikasa’s spirit at the Imperial Palace.

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Over the weekend, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures. For a visit to a robotics innovation center on Saturday in Kitakyushu City, the Empress wore a large white (or cream? oyster?) domed saucer trimmed with a large bow that looked to be embroidered in a lattice pattern with metallic thread.

Oct 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: the bow seems new… who knows about the saucer. 

The focus of the visit, the 37th National Meeting for the Healthy Ocean, took place Sunday in Munakata City. Empress Michiko wore a smaller scale saucer in pale bluey-grey trimmed with a multi-looped silk bow that circled around the left side of the design. The sheen of the silk bow gave a bit of contrast to the hat, which was, I suspect, covered in the same fabric as Michiko’s suit and caped jacket. The shade of blue is more becoming on her than the dull grey we often see her wear.

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe the hat is new

The visit concluded yesterday with a stop in Kitakyushu Eco-Town Center. Empress Michiko repeated a familiar hat for this leg of the visit, a denim blue saucer trimmed with an angular, flat folded blue and gold bow.

Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats 

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Oct 26; 2016; Sep 28, 2016Jan 29, 2016Oct 30, 2015May 21, 2015Apr 9, 2015
The last hat has made seven appearances during the past two years, leading me to wonder if the Empress’ larger saucer hats (like the first one) are repeated with interchangeable trims to coordinate with her attire. I seldom see them repeated as much as the blue hat… but perhaps, it is simply a favourite. What do you think of this group of hats?
Photos from Sankei; AsahiAsahi and Asahi via Getty; JijiAsahi; Asahi; Kyodo NewsKyodo News and Kyodo News via Getty; Sankei, Mainichi and Asahi

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.

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