Queen Mathilde of Belgium was at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo this morning to present awards to winners of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition. For this function, Queen repeated a headpiece we have not seen in nearly three years. Some of you might remember this shell-inspired piece in rosy-beige pleated straw from its first appearance at the Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess’ wedding in October 2012. While I was not initially complimentary of this piece, I’m doing an about face thanks to today’s pairing with Queen Mathilde’s white eyelet dress and a less bouffanted hairstyle. While this headpiece is still is a little reminiscent of an underwater creature or folded napkin, it dresses down with a summer dress and neutral accessories so much better than it ‘dressed up’. Seeing it like this enables me to appreciate it for the pretty piece that it really is.
We have seen the young queens of Belgium and the Netherlands experiment widely with brimless daytime hats and I think this piece’s organic and creative shape makes it a success. I adore that Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima have both embraced daytime hat wearing and admire the personal spin and modern style they both place on this tradition.
Queen Mathilde officially opened the new maternity and children’s wing at the ‘Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen’ (UZA) hospital in Edegem yesterday. She carried on her penchant for vibrant hats and frocks with a new headpiece in pale coral pink straw.
In past, I have been rather vocal about my dislike of open-crowned hats. This piece, however, has me eating those words because I think it is beautiful. The colour is lovely on Mathilde and combination of ruched straw and curving lines of the piece lend it the most graceful sense of movement. The fluted edge at the back (faintly reminiscent of this previous hat) is subtle but crucially saves the headpiece from looking like a doughnut.
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne Previously Worn: This headpiece is new
I thought the combination of this hat with Mathilde’s her interesting pink and coral printed dress created a very fresh and modern take on ‘feminine pink from head to toe’. I suspect, however, that not everyone will be as enamoured with this headpiece as I am – what do you think of it?
On Wednesday, an outdoor sculpture exhibition celebrating 20 years of Dutch-Belgian cultural cooperation was officially opened in The Hague by Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde. It’s not often that we see two Queens at work together and it seems that these two decided to mark this special engagement with a pair of coordinating NATAN frocks and two new and very vibrant hats.
Queen Máxima topped her coral coat dress with a large straw saucer hat in the same hue. The hat was cheekily trimmed with a mass of vertically placed rainbow feathers in the center and a wide band of tan straw edged around the brim. The shape of this saucer is a departure for Máxima and it balanced very well with her collarless coat and chic chignon. I suspect that most of us would go to great lengths to avoid wearing an orange saucer hat trimmed with feathers that look to be plucked straight from an Obsk but on Máxima, it just works. In fact, I think her coral coat dress works better with the hat than it would without it.
Designer: unknown Previously Worn: This hat is new
Queen Mathilde topped her orange and royal blue printed dress with a ruched blue straw calot hat. The draping on this particular piece is beautifully done (amazing how the straw looks to have the same fluidity as fabric) and this shade of blue works well for Mathilde.. It is a shape we have seen on both queens numerous times and while I would love to see some more variety, this piece is so well done that it warrants a thumbs up.
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne Previously Worn: This hat is new
Earlier in the day, Queen Mathilde attended a reception for Belgian artists held at the the residence of the Belgian ambassador. For this meeting, she paired the same hat with a blue and white printed Dries van Noten dress. This quick change shows the versatility of this hat and makes me wonder, dear readers, which dress do you prefer with it?
From all accounts, it seems that a wonderful day was had by Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde in The Hague. What did you think of their vibrant hats?
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were in Zeebrugge yesterday to attend the launching of the new navy ship P902 Pollux. The King and Queen were joined by their eldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, who has been named as the official godmother of the vessel. For this event, Queen Mathilde repeated her pale blue calot hat with straw cuff and coordinating suit. This is a great working look for her and the monochrome outfit somehow doesn’t read as flat or one-note as others we have seen recently.
Designer of Queen Mathilde’s hat: Christian Dior. Suit by Dior. Previously Worn:June 6, 2014
Princess Elisabeth wore a braided headband in the same fabric as her dress, trimmed with a side rosette. I thought it was a perfect mini-fascinator for the 13 year old princess on one of her first major engagements and she wore it very well.
Our look back at the marvellous royal hats worn at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge four years ago now moves from family members to royal guests. First up is hats worn by guests from the reigning royal houses of Europe.
The Norwegian Royals (who are cousins to the British Royal family) were represented by the King and Queen. Queen Sonja thoughtfully turned to British hat makers Lock and Co. for her hat. In white straw and trimmed with a simple curled white feather, the ceterpiece of this hat was its lattice brim which was folded up over the crown. The resulting shape was a modern departure for Sonja but it looked wonderful on her.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark topped her Twitter blue wool coat with a brimless calot hat covered in the same fabric. The calot was trimmed in a band of the same patterned blue silk fabric as her dress over which several spiky, spiralled feathers were placed. The hat is a characteristically quirky piece for Margrethe and I thought she wore it well. The overall ensemble, however, was an overkill of the same blue fabric and needed breaks in both colour and texture.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa topped her slate blue dress and jacket with a large dove grey picture hat trimmed with a single, oversize blue ombre rose. The hat is a beautiful one and while I covet it for my own millinery closet, I don’t think it was the right choice for Maria Teresa. Both her suit and the hat seemed to dwarf the Grand Duchess, which was most unfortunate.
The Spanish Royals seldom wear hats and this wedding provided us an opportunity to see their millinery style. Queen Sofia chose a light fascinator to in the same shade as her Margarita Nuez lavender silk suit. Made of layered organza and net tulle, the headpiece was studded with the same periwinkle blossoms that formed the floral pompom buttons on her jacket. The Princess of Asturias (as was her title then) topped her Felipe Varela embroidered pink 1930s inspired dress with a coordinating cloche hat. Designed by Pablo Y Mayaya, the cloche hat was a great scale and colour for Letizia. I’m afraid, however, it suffered from over-trimming. With four kinds of feathers (including large pheasant ones). a wide ruched sash around the crowd, a net tulle veil, rosettes and even bits of appliqué lace, this small hat held everything but the kitchen sink and suffered for it.
Princess Máxima (who was not yet Queen) was the picture of refined elegance in a pale pink lace Valentino suit and a silk calot hat designed by Fabienne Delvigne. Head-to-toe ensembles in pale pink risk looking rather boring and flat but the different textures of lace and draped silk created a look that was as interesting as it was harmonious. The artfully ruched silk on the hat gave it a wonderful sense of movement despite its small footprint. The addition of diamond star brooches to the side of the calot gave it a touch of glamour and we now all associate with Máxima and I adore her for adding this bling.
Princess Mathilde (who also was not yet Queen) chose teal blue for her ensemble. Her Armani dress and jacket was crowned with a large picture hat by Philip Treacy. A similar shape to the navy hat worn by Lady Frederick Windsor, this piece featured a wide round brim, moulded crown and vertical looped Treacy signature bow. While I loved the colour on Mathilde, the impact of the wonderful hat was lost against her overly shiny suit.
Crown Princess Victoria followed the pattern of head-to-toe in a single colour, choosing cantaloupe orange for her ensemble. Her large straw picture hat, designed by Swedish milliner Britta von Koenigsegg, was a welcome departure from the smaller fascinators Victoria usually favours and it looked great on her. This shade of orange is one of the more difficult colours to wear and while Victoria she managed it well, I think the overall ensemble is just too peachy for me.
Rounding out this group of European royals was Charlene Wittstock (just two months later, she would become Princess of Monaco). Her palest-of-pale bluey grey straw picture hat featured a low, rounded crown and gently waved wide brim. With her Akris coat and pearl earrings, the hat made for an extremely elegant and refined ensemble. High collared coats and picture hats can be a tricky combination but the rounded, slightly open neck on this coat and the easy movement of the hat made for such a perfect compliment.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium travelled to Strasbourg today to visit the Council of Europe, the Eurocorps and the European Court of Human Rights. Queen Mathilde wore a new calot hat that was clearly bespoke to match her dress- both pieces are made of the same red silk crepe. The three wide pleats that embellish the hat echo the pleats on the left hip of her dress as well. The hat is not a show piece (vibrant colour aside) but I thought it combined with the dress to make an exceptionally elegant and streamlined ensemble. I prefer it to Mathilde’s other pleated red calot hat– what do you think?
Designer: I suspect Fabienne Delvigne Previously Worn: this hat is new
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were welcomed by Pope Francis for a private audience today at the Vatican. This visit showed that Queen Mathilde has been granted the Privilège du Blanc – special permission given to specifically designated Catholic queens, duchesses and princesses to wear white during an audience with the Pope. Queen Mathilde wore an exquisite white veil of floral patterned Belgian lace over a simple white dress and coat. The clean lines of the dress and coat allowed the veil to stand out and I thought Queen Mathilde looked stunningly elegant.