Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Royal Wardrobe

There was a rainbow of queens on display this week as the royal women of Europe took the lead at home and abroad. The Royal Wardrobe still had elements of the monochrome that had dominated the week before but as summer began to arrive, the outlook got much brighter. Here are the outfit from the last seven days that made up that Royal Wardrobe - starting with Queen Maxima who has worn some pretty eye catching pieces on her visit to Canada but this red dress chosen for an evening event in Ottawa is easily the most noticeable. Very eighties, very bright and just very, very Maxima.

The Dutch queen chose a full length red dress by Valentino for the concert that she and Willem-Alexander hosted as a thank you for their welcome in Ottawa. Maybe it was the slicked back hair or the fact that her husband seemed to have hit the hair gel as well but the overall look was very glamourous and ever so slightly Dynasty.

It was pretty hard to pick a stand out look for Maxima from her Canadian wardrobe because everything she wore was worthy of a fashion page all on its own. On day three there was a cream fitted dress with gold belt, gold shoes and straw hat that was a wow of an outfit all on its own.

And then there was the unusual but winning look she picked for her arrival outfit. A white dress dress with pink and black feature stripes hidden beneath a black lace coat with black straw hat, pink bag and very pink lipstick. It shouldn't have worked but somehow it did.

There was (a lot) more bright pink for the first gala outfit of the tour as the queen arrived for a dinner in honour of the royal couple in a cerise one shoulder evening dress with fringed skirt. It might have been a bit flamenco but Maxima turned it into a bit stunning.

And it was kind of the essence of what makes Maxima's royal wardrobe so special. Most of the outfits she's worn in Canada have been striking and sometimes stunning but only she could wear them. Imagining any of her fashion choices on anyone else just doesn't work because probably no one else could make them work. The only exception to that rule was the almost ordinary moss green outfit with statement hat she chose for day two of her tour. Still pretty it just lacked the make you stare factor of her other choices so far.


Another of Europe's new queens was on tour this week as Letizia of Spain headed to Honduras and El Salvador for a four day visit to see co-operation projects involving her own country there. Letizia's wardrobe was a mixture of monochrome and colour and many of the outfits were more casual as this was a working visit. Perhaps the most interesting of them was the white trouser, print top combo she topped with a bright green jacket as she carried out her final day of engagements in El Salvador.
As we've come to expect from Letizia, her royal wardrobe was bang on trend. Another of her day outfits on the tour - this time in Honduras - ticked the white with orange mix that's in the shops right now. The queen chose a white fitted top and trousers and a long orange jacket to make her statement - the jacket had to go, it was fashion conscious but far too hot for the conditions.

Letizia's other day outfits for the tour were based around more muted tones. There was a grey trouser suit for a visit to a market in El Salvador.

For a visit to a water and sanitation plant in El Salvador she chose a pair of black trousers, loose white top and navy jacket.

While for a series of meetings at the Spanish Embassy in Honduras, Queen Letizia gave us our major royal monochrome moment of the week with a pair of black trousers and print top that looked pretty much like an outfit every woman has in her holiday suitcase for those days when it's too hot to wear anything else.
Dare we say it but the usually sartorially unstoppable Letizia has had a few odd choices recently and while most of her clothes on this tour have made their way to the hits column, the debut look was another May miss for the queen. To step off the plane in Honduras she chose a white blouse with grey mix skirt that was perfect for a day at the office but seemed out of place for a consort on a major overseas milestone in her royal career. Add in a pair of strappy sandals that didn't match the outfit and were all but impossible to walk down airplane steps in and you have a rare fail for this queen of fashion.
You don't keep Letizia down for long. Hours later she was making her only gala appearance of the tour at a cultural event hosted in her honour by the President of Honduras and his wife. She stepped out in an off the shoulder black sequinned cocktail dress with bundles of wow factor.

And as she ended the tour she rewore her Hugo Boss pink and mauve print dress, first seen just about a year ago as she went solo as a queen for the first time, for a lunch with the President of El Salvador and his wife. It was a bit creased this time round but still catches the eye.

Meanwhile, Queen Sofia was doing was Queen Sofia does best - rocking a metallic effect two piece suit. A bit like the Queen Mother before her, she has settled on a style that works and bought it in just about every colour. This time round it was silver and looked super.

Sofia also opened the Madrid Book Fair in the week and went for a black and white mix that tapped into the monochrome madness that swept the Royal Wardrobe last week. It was quite a modern look for the queen and she looked very relaxed and happy as she talked books in the sizzling summer heat.

The Crown Princess of Norway was also coming over all bookish this week as she hit the Literature Train for 2015 to bring reading to a wider audience. Mette-Marit went for black jacket and skirt combos all the way through with a monochrome attempt the best of the lot.  

There was also a misty mauve pleated chiffon type skirt which looked striking but strange.

And to open the Norwegian Literature Festival, Mette-Marit went for a black and white printed dress with black jacket which was the plainest of the three looks and verging on the drab - not something that's often said about this particular princess.
Queen Sonja, in contrast, added a splash of colour for her engagement of the week, The Norwegian consort wore a bright pink coat with matching hat for the opening of the Bergen International Festival.
For an evening event at the festival, the Norwegian queen chose a fabulous pair of midnight blue wide leg trousers which then got mostly covered up by a massive black shawl type top which was a shame as the matching midnight blue evening shoes held the promise of a superstylish effect.
Princess Martha Louise of Norway made a rare official public appearance this week and was dressed all in cream for the event.   Her pretty lace dress with contrasting jacket looked fresh and spring like and really rather understated for a princess know to hit the bright and out there button sometimes when it comes to getting ready.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's most striking outfit of the week was also an all white affair. The princess picked trousers, top, jacket, ballet pumps and trilby hat in the hue for a trip to sunny Gotland. The white look with the bright sunshine provided some of the most summery royal photos of the year so far and the outfit was so unusual it was a total scene stealer.

She lost the hat but kept the outfit for an audience with the Prime Minister of Estonia on her return from Gotland.  And it might just be the angle of the photograph and white trousers are notoriously unforgiving but is that the beginnings of a bump...
For her other appearance this week, a meeting ahead of the upcoming Indian State Visit, Victoria's tummy was out of sight as she perched at a table with her parents and husband while wearing a white top and beige jacket with oversize black buttons. Queen Silvia went for grey without the slightest hint of a blast of colour from one of her famous scarves. All very low key - maybe they're wardrobed out with wedding preparations going on...
Queen Silvia kept the jacket on for an audience she and King Carl XVI Gustaf had with the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church - a closer look revealed streaks of navy in the weave of the jacket.
Just to show that queens are really in the pink this week, Silvia chose a dress in a shade almost identical to the one worn by Sonja of Norway. The Swedish consort wore her cerise frock for a Children's Day event - somehow, Silvia even managed to make this super bright shade look understated and discreet.
Another queen looking bright and brilliant this week was Mathilde of the Belgians who chose a vibrant apple green dress for a visit to TV and radio studios. Admittedly, the leaves around the neckline were slightly odd but she and King Philippe did do everyone's favourite royal trick of matching his tie to her outfit and all ended well.

The decision of the King of the Belgians to do up his jacket at another engagement for the royal couple almost overshadowed Mathilde's outfit as everyone waited for Philippe to breathe out and send a button flying. He didn't and it didn't meaning UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon could breathe a sigh of relief and we all got a chance to enjoy a very Mathilde outfit of bright orange wrap top, grey and orange floral print skirt and orange shoes.

Mathilde went for a burnished orange bronze mix effect dress as she and her husband met the jury for the Queen Elisabeth Music Prize at the Royal Palace in the week.


For the big final, the Queen of the Belgians chose a simple white dress that came a close second as her best look of the week.

But Mathilde's top outfit was the deep pink shift dress worn to one of the finals of the music competition. It was a simple but effective look but got extra points for co-ordinating perfectly with the cardigan worn by her daughter, Elisabeth, whose pretty butterfly dress was a stylish, chic look perfect for a princess at the start of her teenage years.

There was an unusual burst of green for Denmark's queen in the week. Margrethe's suit was pretty similar to many she's worn, complete with matching hat, but the unusual shade set it apart.

Crown Princess Mary went for royal blue for a meeting in the week. The top of the dress was visible as she sat at a table and looked slimline and chic. There might have been a puffball skirt underneath for all we know but the look, what there was of it, was good.

There were navy blue suede wedges on display when Mary visited a school in the week. They were worn with grey mix cut off trousers, a white shirt and a dark grey jacket and if anyone is still counting points between Mary and Letizia then add some more to Denmark's column. As both women did smart casual in grey this week, Mary edged it.

You know how those Mary copies Kate copies Letizia copies Mary stories love doing the rounds. Well, this week Mary picked a Breton top with jeans for a sporty day out and only a certain duchess being no maternity leave prevented an immediate deluge of Mary copies Kate stories hitting the stands. 

There have been plenty of stories too about the similarity between Mary and her sister-in-law Marie with questions about who picks the looks they seem to share first. There was no danger of that this week as Marie also went to a sports event but went for a petrol green/ grey jacket with her jeans.

There was definitely no dressing down for the British Royal Family in the week. The State Opening of Parliament means full ceremonial and for the ladies that's a white dress and best jewels. Easy for The Queen who chose yet another perfect full length gown for the occasion and popped on the Imperial State Crown. The look was, as ever, breathtakingly splendid and stunning.

The dress without the Crown and the robes of state was equally magnificent and set off to perfection with what, on an ordinary day, would be a cracking set of diamonds but which at this special event is definitely overshadowed.

There wasn't quite so much success for the Duchess of Cornwall who went all white but ended up looking ever so slightly bridal and not in a good way. The dress should have been stunning but finished being a bit Miss Havisham.

But Camilla can wear diamonds and the bigger the tiara, the better it suits her. A close up of her on her way back to Buckingham Palace following the State Opening showed just how well this duchess does diamonds.

The Queen was also in pale shades for the third Buckingham Palace garden party of the season. She went for palest silver on a very grey day in London and looked suitably warm as the chilly weather took hold.

Princess Beatrice tried combining colour schemes at the same event and ended up like she'd put on one outfit with the accessories for another. Not the best.

Not that it mattered because everyone was looking at Princess Michael of Kent. Not only did she crack out a stunner of a cream and black outfit - Marie Christine remains super stylish - she wore an eye patch. It was a medical necessity rather than a sartorial choice and easily the most talked about royal fashion moment of the week.


The Queen chose a simple pale green dress for a series of audiences in the week.

 Her final outfit of the week, worn to a series of engagements in the Duchy of Lancaster, was a turquoise coat with contrasting hat designed by Angela Kelly who has become one of The Queen's favourites. On the strength of this outfit, it's not hard to see why - it's about as good as it gets in royal couture.


And The Duchess of Cornwall ended her week on a high as well as she chose a navy blue dress with huge white spots for the final of the BBC Radio Two #500words competition. She was handing out medals to young people who had won a story writing contest and Camilla went home safe in the knowledge she'd scored a win of her own with this look.

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