Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Royal Wardrobe

As monochrome hits the shops we've had plenty of black and white from Europe's royal ladies as well as a spring like palette of pastels and a good dose of green. Best outfit of this week has to go to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark who looked stunning on her last day in Germany in a pale mushroom dress that was on trend and royal enough - a hard combination to pull off. She takes the starring role in this week's Royal Wardrobe.

There were nude accessories with the outfit and Mary wore her hair pulled back off her face to impress with a standout look that might have come straight from a magazine.

The other outfit from the German visit that got lots of attention was her Queen Sofia inspired floral trouser outfit worn for a banquet towards the end of the tour. Flowery trousers might be on trend but in the world of royalty this is a look that belongs to Sofia and hot evenings in Mallorca when Spain's royals were hugely popular. Mary gave it a good go but the royal women of Europe need to back away from this one, Sofia owns it.

A hint of Spain could also be seen in the outfit Mary chose for her arrival in Germany. She paired black trousers with a cream top and jacket that looked very similar to the now world famous embellished white coat that Letizia chose for her husband's accession to the throne in June 2014. Mary's peachy coloured stones were bigger and bolder but there was a definite feel of that Spanish look there.


The other outfit from the visit was classic Mary with the Crown Princess choosing a knee length black skirt with simple white top. While the concept was basic enough the overall effect was pretty stunning and gave us another chance to see Mary's favourite snakeskin shoes in action. As well as being Denmark's contribution to the monochrome mania currently covering Europe's royals.


Back home in Denmark, Queen Margrethe was rocking a seriously regal look as she visited a pottery museum. Wearing a classic powder blue suit with matching hat this was an outfit that screamed royalty from every seam.

Princess Marie chose a less formal look for her engagement with DanChurchAid in the week. Wearing black trousers, a floral print top and a dark cardigan she got stuck into some baking and hoped her apron would hide the flour marks.

There was no end of fabulous fashion on display in Stockholm this week as preparations for the Royal Wedding of the year picked up. The Royal Family and the family of Sofia Hellqvist attended the reading of the banns for her marriage to Prince Carl Philip at the Royal Palace Chapel and yet again it was Princess Estelle who stole the show. She was dressed in a cream dress and coat by Marie-Chantal of Greece and with her signature bow in her hair there was only one outfit everyone was talking about.

Her mum, Crown Princess Victoria, looked pretty stunning as well in a pale mauve grey dress with matching hat that was easily the best of the grown up royal ladies' outfits.

Bride to be Sofia Hellqvist looked sweet in a cream outfit with black accessories, ticking that monochrome box for the first time this week for Sweden. Besides, she walked to her seat safe in the knowledge that next time they are all in that Chapel she'll be in a bridal dress and no one else will get a look in.


Princess Madeleine, now eight months pregnant. chose a golden cream coloured coat that matched perfectly with the outfit worn by her little girl, Princess Leonore, who was also in Marie-Chantal.

Mother of the groom, Queen Silvia, went for a cream suit with hat and did real royal recycling by wearing the same outfit the next day - minus topper - to present diplomas to her Silvia doctors.

No one does a burst of bright colour to catch the eye better than Silvia and she was showing everyone else how it's done again in the week by choosing a bright green jacket for a meeting at the Royal Palace.

Crown Princess Victoria was smiling for the cameras while sat behind a royal table for another meeting in the week but she's got a lot to learn from mum. Her burgundy top with black cardigan didn't have her mum's eye catching factor.

But it was all about monochrome for a lunch at the Royal Palace for Victoria - in stark contrast to her mum who was again bright and light in a lilac jacket with dark purple skirt. Although Victoria's dress had all the hallmarks of a Summer 2015 classic.

Victoria's appearance with her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, at the WWF annual meeting in Ulriksdal saw the princess back to her new fashion icon status best with a black and white mix that is up there with the best royal takes on the trend this year. 

And showing that this queen in waiting can learn from a queen in action, her mum, Victoria matched Silvia on the colour scale as they made a joint appearance at a conference on dementia in the week. Silvia was regal in purple, Victoria was vivid in green and if the styles were a bit so so, the splash of brightness was worth noting.

And there was plenty bright and beautiful about the wardrobe of Queen Maxima this past week. We had vibrant rainbow shades from the consort as well as some pretty stunning pastel outfits to contrast with the obligatory nod to monochrome thrown in for good measure. Maxima got her black and white moment out of the way early on with a floral print dress and matching scarf for a visit to Utrecht on Monday. 

There was a pastel mix to follow that perhaps only Maxima could pull off. The yellow skirt, pale pink top and shawl and beigey pink large brimmed hat shouldn't have worked but just did as the queen stole the show on a visit to Zeeland Flanders with her husband.

And there was more pastel at the end of the week when Maxima chose an oatmeal trouser suit with matching blouse and quirky fascinator come hat for a trip to an education centre for people with visual or hearing problems. It was a stunner.

But the most memorable Maxima outfits from the week were bright and out there. First there was a yellow print dress worn with possibly the most yellow shoes ever chosen by a royal for the presentation of the Apples of Orange awards in The Hague. The fact that Princess Beatrix chose a burnt orange dress with floral print only added to the effect.

But while her husband chose an orange tie for that event and her mother in law cornered the market in subtle shades of the hue for proper, out there and proud use of tangerine in royal clothing no one could touch Maxima this week. Her bright orange coat and hat with blue trim was striking and showed just how much the queen's strong personality shines through in her clothes. Add it to the (already long) list of things that really shouldn't have worked but did because it was Maxima wearing them.


The Queen of the Netherlands had competition on the colourful front in the shape of her neighbouring consort, the Queen of the Belgians. The day of the orange dress was a shared engagement in The Hague to open an art exhibition and Mathilde chose a blue and orange mix with blue hat, shoes and bag. Again, a hard one to pull off but a fashion win for Belgium's queen.


Earlier that same day, Mathilde had donned another bright frock for an engagement at the Belgian Ambassador's Residence in The Hague. Her blue and white print dress was another striking look for a queen showing an increasing confidence in her wardrobe.

It was back to orange for Mathilde at the end of the week in a peach and pink print dress as she opened a children's centre. She wore one of her favourite bandeau style hats, this one in a bright orange that didn't seem to appear anywhere else in the outfit, and the accessories were nude. Close up the clashes are obvious.

But just when we thought we were safe from the monochrome obsession out came another Mathilde favourite. For a dinner with the Asia Society, ahead of a royal visit to China, the queen picked a well used cocktail dress in black lace with white underlay. It's pretty, it's familiar, it's very Mathilde. It's also monochrome and we need a royal break from that.

That didn't come courtesy of Queen Letizia of Spain who always keeps pace with the fashion pack and and who was in black and white for a ceremony in Madrid at the end of the week. It was a simple print dress with plain black shoes and held its own with the other monochrome choices of the week.


We were back to black and white for a series of audiences Letizia held at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The queen chose a striking knee length dress of solid colour blocks with a slight flare before adding strappy sandals which should have worked and sort of didn't.


There was another strange shoe moment in Letizia's biggest outfit of the week. For the First Communion of her elder daughter, Princess Leonor, she chose a new white crochet coat over a green dress and had her snazzy bob curled up.


But then she added a pair of (admittedly very on trend) clear plastic sandals and the whole thing sort of fell at that moment. The shoes, although almost invisible, dominated the outfit and turned it from a classic in the making to a so so special.

Proud granny, Queen Sofia, went for her usual business like but feminine two piece suit and looked elegant and classic as ever. Even if it was, you've guessed it, in monochrome.


Princess Charlene of Monaco did her own take on monochrome as she attended the Grand Prix. The white dress was stunning and needed more than a second look as the clever use of skin toned shoulders made it appear, from a distance, as if it was floating in air. The black in this black and white combo came courtesy of her shoes.


The Countess of Wessex went black jacket, white top for her monochrome contribution - she was in Prague as an ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

But there was also a rather lovely outfit in blush pink to enjoy from Sophie this week - yet another style choice from the countess that would win worldwide acclaim if worn by Kate.

But that sartorial elegance seemed to have deserted Sophie on her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. Her blue print dress didn't seem to go anywhere near matching her black bolero jacket and the overall effect was frumpy rather than fab, a rare occurrence for the countess these days.

It was all about green for the Duchess of Cornwall who undertook a four day tour of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the week. Her debut outfit, chosen for Galway, was jade green and a big hit with fashion writers.


It was palest moss green for her visit to Mullaghmore the following day and Camilla's subdued coat combo was the perfect choice for a poignant and difficult day for her and her husband, Prince Charles, as they visited the place where his beloved great uncle was killed in 1979.


For her first day in Northern Ireland, Camilla went for grey green with quite impressive satin insets on the coat. It was a winner for the duchess and marked a move away from her green theme.


Her only evening engagement in Northern Ireland was at Hillsborough Castle and for that she chose midnight blue with a lace cocktail dress that stayed just the right side of not being monochrome. Even if the jewellery was white pearls.

The final day in Northern Ireland saw Camilla in powder blue. The two piece suit was also the most impressive of the whole tour and is sure to be seen again and again.

It had been palest blue for the duchess for her visit to Chelsea earlier in the week. And she matched her mother in law as the Queen also chose the shade albeit a much stronger version with contrasting collar on her coat.


There was more of the same for the Queen during an audience in the week when she wore a white dress with blue floral patterning.


Her final outfit of the last seven days was an oatmeal coloured textured coat and hat, worn several times before, and this time used for a garden party at Buckingham Palace.


The Royal Wardrobe was distinctly cultural in Norway this week as the ruling house took part in celebrations for flag day which involved Crown Princess Mette-Marit being up bright and early and smiling while wearing her country's traditional costume for the annual Children's Parade that marks the day. They did all look more interested at different parts of the day, honestly.


Later on there was an appearance on the balcony of the Royal Palace for King Harald and Queen Sonja with the consort picking mid blue with white trim and hat to wave to the crowds. And alongside her was Crown Princess Mette-Marit who had lost the traditional costume and gone 21st century. Spring Summer 2015 in fact - she was in monochrome. The week's royal fashion, in black and white.


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