02 May 2015

Saturday Tidbits: Baby Cambridge Edition

Hellloooo! Sunday tidbits comes a day early in the form of an edition devoted entirely to the newest member of the Windsor clan. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby girl!

--Here's how it went down, tweet-style. All this happened while I was asleep, and I woke up to tweets for articles about all the ways lives have gone wrong for those in the "spare" position - TOO SOON, PEOPLE, GAWD - which left me totally confused until I kept scrolling. But total confusion is my normal morning state, so nothing out of the ordinary there.

--By the way, count me among the, like, five or so people in the world today that were surprised it was a girl. Only because when everyone is united in a prediction, I always assume it will be the opposite. But YAY FOR FUTURE TIARA WEARERS!

--Prince Cheeks Part 1 a.k.a. George came to visit his little sister, matching his dad in blues. He didn't really seem to understand all the fuss outside, but who among us truly does?

--His wee wave on video for you:

--Speaking of George: His name was announced two days after he was born, which was one day after he left the hospital and after QEII had stopped by to see him. So that's an FYI for those wondering when we'll get a name for Cambridge No. 4. I would like to officially sign the petition in favor of Princess Consuela Bananahammock.

--And then, lickety-split, it was time to take the new princess home to her palace. Here's a big gallery for you. [Zimbio]

--The Duchess wore a bespoke Jenny Packham silk shift dress with a yellow buttercup print. She also wore Jenny Packham when leaving the hospital with Prince George, so it's now the Official Royal Baby Carrying Label. Obviously Kate looked better than I do on any given day in which I have not given birth to a child just hours before, so that's not fair.

--The new mum didn't wear pink, but The Queen had an engagement today, and she did! She also wore a brooch with a skull and crossbones on it - yes! - which I find entirely too entertaining. You can read the full story behind the brooch and the very good reason she had for wearing it today over at the Jewel Vault. Or you can just decide she was having a Mette-Marit kind of day and leave it at that. YOUR CALL.

--And one more thing before we go:

We'll be back on Monday with a return to the non-Cambridge royal world, including the answer to this question: Which royal went out in public knowingly dressed like a banana? Stay tuned.

Photos: Telegraph video and via Getty Images and Twitter as indicated

01 May 2015

Royal Wedding of the Week: May 1

Update: It's a girl! Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George on the birth of a new princess!

I am always a fan of goofing off on a Friday and if you can do it in royal wedding format, well, HEY WHY NOT? Therefore I present to you the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on April 29, 2011 because I'm sure you needed another excuse to relive it this week. By which I mean in celebration of their wedding anniversary, because that's definitely the only thing they've got going on right now.

Video: The whole dang thing. Tell your boss you're busy for the next three hours.

I'll add another video here too, one I included when this wedding gown hit your top 10 list, featuring the dress on exhibit at Buckingham Palace with details worthy of a couple minutes of your time:

Happy Friday, y'all!

30 April 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Swedish Diamond Bandeau

The Swedish Diamond Bandeau
We've featured a few tiaras here that have sparked debate as to whether they should even qualify as a "tiara" proper, and not just some kind of sparkly headband. The line between a bandeau tiara and a fancy headband can be a fine one, and today's tiara sits right on that line.
Often referred to as the Swedish Diamond Bandeau, this is probably less of a tiara by design and more of a diamond rivière (a necklace, usually, of a strand of single round diamonds) repurposed as a hair ornament. The bandeau features two such strands across the head.
The Swedish royal ladies do like to get creative with their tiara hair. They often take intricate hairstyles and add more jewels to them, such as brooches or strands of diamonds woven through (a strategy used by Queen Silvia for some of her Nobel Prize Awards hairstyles over the years, including the example above). Crown Princess Victoria has used rivières to further embellish the bases of both the Four and Six Button Tiaras (for Nobel 2011 and 2012). It's hard to differentiate between these, so it's hard to know how many rivières they have available for such experimentation, or just how many different uses each one has had.
Victoria has worn the Diamond Bandeau on a few of the rare occasions when she's worn her hair down at formal events, and Princess Madeleine has also used it to great effect. Since this particular arrangement has been worn multiple times and has been worn to tiara events, seemingly classifying it as another tiara option from plentiful family collection, I'm calling it a tiara here. It's a baby sister to the Dutch Diamond Bandeau, giving you the impact of a tiara without the full weight of one, which seems handy. And I'm all for the dream of being able to play around with your spare diamond strands...

What say you: 
Yay for all gem creativity!
Nay! Just put a proper tiara on already, why don't you?

Photos: Kungahuset and via Getty Images

Royal Duo of the Day: April 30

Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia teamed up for the Reina Sofia Awards yesterday.
So this is basically a handy little summary of all relevant aesthetic differences between current and former queenly generations in Spain, in a single appearance. Two light suits for spring, done in two very different ways.
One floral suit with extra ruffles, extra jewelry, extra flowers, extra extra, and one solid suit with only a tiny touch of texture, a touch of accessories, even just a touch of color overall. One hairstyle that hasn't changed in hoooooow long? and one freshly chopped. Not a case of one being better than the other, but a case of happy contrasts.

By the way, Letizia did show us that she still has plenty of available hair styling mileage with her new 'do:
This was at the Cervantes Prize last week after the big cut, all coiffed up and ready to go. I like it!

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

29 April 2015

Royal Visit of the Day: April 29

Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine, with her husband Chris O'Neill and daughter Princess Leonore, have been in Rome and Vatican City this week. They were there primarily to attend a conference focusing on child trafficking (below), organized in part by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Queen Silvia has been an advocate on this subject for some time and opened the conference; Princess Madeleine is joining in her mother's work in this area and with the World Childhood Foundation.
It also happens to be an area of focus for Pope Francis, and Queen Silvia dropped by for an audience on Monday, and she brought the whole family too. Chris O'Neill is Catholic, no doubt a reason why he and little Leonore tagged along.
I was surprised to see the family put on one of the most formal papal visits we've seen in a while, dress code-wise. Both wearing traditional black, Queen Silvia stuck with a long skirt and heavy pearl jewels, while expectant Princess Madeleine wore a black dress and short jacket with a long single strand of pearls. The royal ladies wore heavy black mantillas and their portrait brooches.
Vatican dress code protocol has gotten much less rigid in recent years. We've gone from the days of tiaras and veils to optional head coverings and daywear; even the color code of white for those with privilège du blanc and black for others has been relaxed under Pope Francis. (The current pope has much more pressing concerns than dress code, like hanging out with his tiny new BFF.)
I always love a good mantilla appearance, but I love it even more as it becomes more of an optional thing, honestly. It's up to them and they chose to go fancy, and that's always a decision I can get behind.
Video: The audience

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

28 April 2015

Royal Fashion Awards: King's Day, 2015

Yesterday was Koningsdag, or King's Day, in the Netherlands - a national holiday and King Willem-Alexander's birthday. The party was already rolling from events in the previous days: a palace reception (video link), and the King Games for schoolchildren.

The King is putting his own spin on the celebration, just as his mother and grandmother did before him. So they visited one town (Dordrecht) instead of two as they did in the Beatrix days and the events were a little different. The King and Queen brought their three daughters along (Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane), and they were joined by Prince Constantijn (Willem-Alexander's brother) and his wife Princess Laurentien, as well as three of their cousins and their respective wives (Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, and Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita).

We had a big royal party, and thus we have a big round of royal fashion awards to give out. Settle in...

Most in Need of a Cape
King Willem-Alexander
Everybody gets a cape except the birthday boy (Princess Alexia had a little wrap for herself later on). Oh well. He seems content enough to just manage the Caped Crusaders for now.

Most Efficient Accessory
Queen Máxima
Máxima looks pretty, no? She's my best dressed for the day, slightly wrinkly dress and all. And as a special bonus, her hat served dual purposes: 1) hatpin weapon storage, as always, and 2) probably a fair bit of confetti storage too. You know, for the after party. She's always thinking, that Máx.

Most in the Spirit
Princess Laurentien
Somebody has to wear orange, right? I'm pretty sure it's in the rules. The rest of this look is entirely random, but that's par for the Laurentien course.

Most in the Season
Princesses Marilène and Anita
A pretty floral on a sunny April day is always right in my books, and I'm loving both of these (that's Marilène above and Anita below). Carry on, ladies.

Most Princess Proper
Princess Annette
Slap a hat on this and she could compete with Máx for the queenliest of them all. But the hat game is not one in which you want to tangle with the Caps Lock Queen, so it's probably smart of everyone else to leave her to it.

Oh yes, and while we're going Dutch...and speaking of caps lock hats...

Most Eccentric Accessories, Other Birthday Division
Queen Máxima
You ever notice how, the crazier the hat gets, the bigger the Queen's expressions get? She knows what she's done. On Saturday, the royal couple continued the celebrations of the kingdom's 200th birthday (not to be confused with the King's birthday, okay, he's only 48) and Máxima repeated a turban she's worn a few times. But it doesn't get any less eye-popping, no matter how many times she sports it.
Didn't your mother ever warn you not to take cake from strangers with teddy bear pelts on their heads??

Photos: RVD/Het Koninklijk Huis, and Getty Images as indicated

27 April 2015

Royal Outfits of the Day: April 27

Two outfits today, one I should like that I don't, and one I shouldn't that I do. It doesn't make any more sense than that sentence did.
Take this, for instance: Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary celebrated the anniversary of the Hotel d'Angleterre, and Mary wore a black dress from Ole Yde's YDE label with a tiered tulle skirt.
So this is basically the little sister to that black Carolina Herrera gown that Queen Letizia wore last year. And I looooved that gown. Therefore...I should like this gown...and yet, NOPE.
I blame the bodice. Maybe just borrow the dress from Leti next time?

And then there's Crown Princess Mette-Marit, still doing her version of wardrobe musical chairs, grabbing whatever's at hand when the music stops.
And much to my surprise, I think I like it this time! Sure, I'd change the skirt, because I can always find something to change. But the sweater manages to feel very much in the M-M style without being a) black or white, b) covered in flowers, or c) covered in ruffles. A change I can get behind.
The sweater is from Burberry Prorsum
The whole world's gone topsy turvy, I'm telling you.

Photos: as indicated and YDE, Style.com