29 May 2017

Monday Tidbits for May 29: Lux Glam and Tiara Scoop

A short dose of glam on your holiday (or on your regular Monday, whichever)...

--Prince Félix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg attended a charity gala in Cannes, with a lovely pink gown for Claire.

--Princess Claire also took a dive into the world of royal style twins, wearing a Beulah London dress previously seen on the Duchess of Cambridge to the closing of the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg. [Wort, Luxarazzi]

--The Duchess of Cornwall, who avoids interviews whenever possible, gave one to the Mail on Sunday. [Daily Mail]

--Vogue has the scoop on Pippa Middleton's bespoke bridal tiara from Robinson Pelham. Both the tiara and the separate headpiece she wore to anchor her veil are made of diamonds and white gold. [Vogue]
Robinson Pelham, via Vogue

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: QEII opted out of a tiara, went bright and bold for a touching visit to Manchester, and squeezed in with Edward and Louise for Sunday church up in Scotland.


Coming up this week: Mary and Frederik are on a visit to Sweden, so we'll be with them, and more stuff too...


Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

26 May 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Queen Letizia's Trendy Week

What's Letizia been up to this week? Leather, mostly.

Monday: Queen Letizia joined King Felipe, King Juan Carlos, and Queen Sofia for the 40th anniversary of the Reina Sofia Alzheimer Foundation.
How many leather peplum tops does a person need? To its credit, this red leather Carolina Herrera jacket is far superior to the Game of Thrones reject Uterqüe leather peplum top she debuted last year. I like it far more than I thought I could like anything involving the words "leather peplum".

Tuesday: The King and Queen presented the 'La Caixa' Scholarships.
New Hugo Boss dress: HOT. So hot. You know I wish she had resisted the urge to match the shoes and bag. My pet peeve, however, does not negate the hotness one bit.

Wednesday: The Queen attended the 'FameLab España 2017' Scientific Monologues presentation.
House of HM the King
Seems like Queen L has certain events circled on her calendar and designated for her more trendy outfits, like leather leggings and an oversized vest. Here's one such event...for better or for worse.

Thursday: The King and Queen hosted Princess Muna al-Hussein, mother of Jordan's King Abdullah II, for lunch during her private visit to Spain.
House of HM the King
You know what throws this otherwise pretty basic outfit off for me? The purse. The pink purse is an unneeded extra dose of sugar on what was already a sugary sweet dessert to finish out this round up.

25 May 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Manchester Tiara

Wealthy Cuban-American Consuelo Yznaga (1853-1909) married George Montagu, the future 8th Duke of Manchester, in New York City in 1876. She was one of the first of the so-called Dollar Princesses, the eligible American heiresses who married fortune-seeking aristocrats in matches designed to provide titles for the women and funds for the men. The Duchess of Manchester's goddaughter and namesake was Consuelo Vanderbilt, whose marriage to the Duke of Marlborough was among the most famous of these Gilded Age arrangements. Consuelo Montagu was also good friends with Edith Wharton, who chronicled matches like hers in The Buccaneers.

The Manchester Tiara
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
The tiara Consuelo, then the Dowager Duchess of Manchester, commissioned from Cartier in 1903 is as much a symbol of her era as her marriage was. The Belle Epoque design features seven graduated flaming heart motifs of diamonds set in gold and silver. Each heart has three dangling diamonds at the center and is topped by a detachable scroll motif and single collet diamond. The Dowager Duchess provided over 1,000 brilliant-cut diamonds and over 400 rose-cut diamonds for the tiara; Cartier provided additional rose-cut diamonds to make up the design as well as a few paste (glass) stones for the C-scrolls at the ends.

Helena, Duchess of Manchester
The motif is shared with others made around the same time, such as Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara, which is now worn by Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, and the Edward VII Ruby Tiara, now worn by Queen Silvia of Sweden. The massive scale of the tiara was definitely set up for the large hairstyles of the time. It was overwhelming even for Consuelo's daughter-in-law Helena, a fellow American who wore the tiara to the 1911 coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. In his book Tiaras: A History of Splendour, Geoffrey Munn notes that Helena "was said to have supported this enormous jewel with an air of permanent misgiving."

The back side of the tiara
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
The family's wealth and estates were basically gone by the time the 12th Duke, who spent some time in prison for fraud, took the title. The Manchester Tiara was accepted by the British government in 2007 in lieu of inheritance taxes following his death, and the diadem was allocated to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It's on display in the jewelry gallery, which is excellent news because you can visit it anytime you like. And such a beautiful and grand piece deserves to be examined up close and personal.

Which flaming heart tiara is the one for you?

24 May 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Sparkle in the Netherlands & Luxembourg

Kids, the day we all knew was coming has finally arrived: Queen Máxima's gone all in and decided that a business casual dress code should include tiaras too!

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a gala reception for the Diplomatic Corps yesterday.
...or not. As entertaining as the couple are in their mismatched outfits here, that's just them arriving at the Royal Palace for the dinner. They don't actually live at the Royal Palace, you see; the Queen gets ready at home and is all set to go on arrival, while others (including the King, Princess Beatrix, and Princess Margriet) toss on their formal best after arriving. Willem-Alexander was properly white tie attired on the way out of the event. I'll have to keep the dream of business casual tiaras alive for another time.

Anyway, Máxima topped a ten-year-old Natan dress with the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, plus diamond and pearl earrings and a diamond and pearl strawberry leaf brooch from Queen Sophie (1818-1877). Some color would have been nice here, though? Even just a bit? Mega tiara appearances shouldn't be this blergh, is what I'm saying.

Princess Beatrix joined her daughter-in-law in pulling from the family stash of pearls and diamonds. The Pearl Button Tiara is getting around these days, having made its debut on Princess Mabel earlier this month.

And finally, Princess Margriet was looking saucy in sparkly green, with the Dutch Emerald Parure on top and hubby Pieter van Vollenhoven (see? White tie) by her side.


But wait! There's more! Tiaras were also on parade in Luxembourg yesterday.

Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie hosted a state banquet for the President of Portugal during his state visit to Luxembourg.
SIP/Charles Caratini
Go ahead and give Maria Teresa alllllll the structured metallic dresses you've got, please and thank you. And let's hope she continues to accessorize them with massive diamond collet necklaces and the Belgian Scroll Tiara.

Despite her valiant effort to match her sash from Portugal's Order of Merit without looking like a bumblebee, Stéphanie's look suffers one major setback: her tiara. This modern diamond butterfly motif tiara (see it closer here, from another occasion) is never going to convince me it wasn't a clearance rack find at Claire's in another life, and that's that.

23 May 2017

Royal Event of the Day: Windsors at the Chelsea Flower Show

There are things that happen with a soothing regularity, such as: the Windsors will turn up en masse for their annual trip to the Chelsea Flower Show, and they will be the epitome of springtime fashion while they're at it. Yesterday's show was indeed a soothing array of spring.

Royal Family
The Duchess of Cambridge joined the royal party in a pleated silk floral print midi dress. You know, I have several cracks at the ready about florals for flower shows being, well, groundbreaking...
Dress by Rochas (per Japanese Ginger on Twitter)
...but an easy, breezy silk dress and a jaunty ponytail is the perfect choice for this event. Just ask the Queen! (Minus the ponytail part.)

Royal Family
The Queen led the family charge wearing - what else? - a nice floral dress and jacket, plus - what else? - a nice floral brooch (the Chelsea Iris Brooch, her usual pick for this event since the organizers gave it to her. More, as always, at the Vault).

Royal Family
Princess Alexandra hopped on the floral train in a more subtle way with a diamond flower brooch. The Queen has a dead ringer for this brooch in her own collection. It's a pretty common design.

Royal Family
Stepping out of the obvious theme, we asked the Countess of Wessex to give us another chance to see this Valentino dress in action, and she delivered! I can report that I still love it. And yes that is a Mary Berry alert to the side; she also joked around with the Duke of Edinburgh, and I decided over at the Vault that the pair should have their own cooking show. Make it so.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were also at the flower show. (This pic is actually from another event they attended yesterday in the same outfits, so just use your imaginary green screen and throw some flowers in the background.) Just a few days after I reminded everyone how much I enjoy their unconventional shoe choices, we have another perfect example on Princess Beatrice:
French Sole "No Place Like Home" taupe velvet embroidered shoes inspired by gentlemen's opera slippers (per Polka Poppins on Twitter)
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't immediately decided I needed a pair of these myself. Mind you, I really have no idea how they came to be paired with this particular outfit, or for this particular event. But who doesn't need a happy little shoe?