The week's not over yet, but we have things to discuss. So without further ado, here's what Kate wore from 20-26 February (and I shall add on if necessary):
a) Christening an RNLI lifeboat in Anglesey, 24 February, b) the fascinator, c) the SHOOTIES, and d) the coat from its 2006 appearance at Cheltenham (crafty with the re-cutting, I must say).
The trip back to St. Andrews University, 25 February.
Signing the New Zealand earthquake condolence book, 25 February. A double outfit day already! This is Royal Prep 101: Advanced, I guess.
Best and Worst of the Week
All signs point to me hating outfit 1: I mean, it's all neutrals. And SHOOTIES. But...I kind of dig it. I can't believe I'm saying this about something including that footwear, but this is the best of the week for me. I think I've been swayed by the video from this appearance. I thought she was adorable, and I'm not a born Kate fan. Just chatty and happy to be there, none of that stiff trying-too-hard-to-be-regal thing. Also: HAIR UP! (Out of necessity, but still: victory!)
On the other hand, I should adore outfit 2, for it is RED and the belt/jacket flare is giving her pencil-thin physique some curve. Plus, she's working the timeless angle in a suit that she'll be able to recycle, Princess Anne-styles, for decades to come. But...I'm not feeling it. It's aging her too much? Turtlenecks worn like this terrify me because I can't tell if they're dickeys or not? Am I confusing you as much as I'm confusing myself?
And outfit 3, well, I don't know what she was going to wear to such an occasion (no, I do: I'd have preferred a smart navy suit) but this is alright. Except for the hair. Too much wind in one day = worst of the week.
Oh, friends, I don't know. This week is defying all my Laws of Sartorial Splendor. Do chime in and straighten me out.
They were referring, of course, to the Grand Transformation that occurred when Mary married her Crown Prince. Though the changes to her appearance were gradual enough in real time, the overall effect is really quite startling:
Some things were obviously going to change about Mary Donaldson of Australia when she became Crown Princess Mary of Denmark back in 2004. Learning Danish, for one. She was bound to grow in public poise, of course. But Mary took it a step further, and used the new resources available to her to execute a full-on makeover. Just plopping a tiara on top doesn't begin to cover the extent of this change.
New Mary is visibly slimmer than Old Mary. Personal trainers? Personal chefs? Whatever she did, it certainly was effective. If the Danish royal family ever gets a little skint in the funds department, Mary could market her own diet and exercise program.
The days of cheesy prom hair for formal occasions, unkempt hair for casual occasions, and heavy-handed makeup gave way to the whims of on-call hairdressers, professional skin care, and pro makeup artists. (A glimmer of hope, perhaps, for those of you that fret over Kate and her eyeliner addiction?)Personal appearance taken care of, next up is the fashion. The new Crown Princess took advantage of both the Danish fashion industry's desire to dress her to the nines and her new access to international designers (plus, you know, personal stylists and the like) to go from wearing ill-fitting and ill-coordinated off the rack fashions to pure couture.
It's worth noting, too, that this great change did not go into full effect until after her marriage. She had some good appearances during her engagement (notably the pre-wedding events which were no doubt styled for her and yielded that bottom left red dress that I love so much). That top left Goth-inspired appearance was during Princess Benedikte's birthday celebrations while Mary was engaged. The next two pictures are from Luxembourg's state visit to Denmark during the engagement: trousers at an event where Maria Teresa, at least, wore a tiara; and a rather severe and prom-esque green dress for a state banquet. Something to keep in mind when Kate or Charlene - ladies that have been on their Princes' arms for 867 years or whatever (read: with ample time to prepare for the onslaught of a royal engagement) - turn up in something a little disappointing.
Not even casual wear was immune to the makeover, showing just how far a transformation really can extend.
Quite a difference, right?
I think these dueling appearances sum it up best:
At left: Mary and Frederick's engagement dinner. At right: Queen Margrethe's April 2010 birthday celebrations. Softer makeup, less J.Lo. hair, better jewel selection. Same dress, different girl.
It's not just Mary, either. Many royal ladies have undergone similar transformations. (Look for more on those in future flashbacks.) All signs point to the next few years bringing an Extreme Princess Makeover for Kate Middleton and Charlene Wittstock. Personally, I'm all for it. (Although, good grief, nobody better lose any weight. Middleton's about to disappear as it is.)
What do you make of Mary's transformation? And what are you hoping for in a Kate/Charlene makeover?
I'm sure a lot of you have watched or heard of Baba Ali on YouTube, he makes these neat videos with nice Islamic reminders in a very un-holier-than-thou way. The haram police guy at the beginning craaaacked me up :D
a, b and c) in Vanity Fair (Spain). What's up with the leafy bits around the neck in 1a, huh?
a and b) Attending Samantha Cameron's reception for London Fashion Week at 10 Downing Street, 18 February. As per usual, I care only about the shoes, which are hot enough I'm willing to overlook the red bra peeking out from under the dress in 2a. You know I love Tatiana, but it has to be said: tone down the posing, please! You're at 10 Downing Street, not on the runway.
Best and Worst of the Week
Well, ball gowns always win, so 1b gets the week from me. (What a gorgeous pic, right?) I usually expect photoshoots to be styled to the top, which is why I am extra confused by 1c. Long sleeved shirt under a not-vest not-shirt contraption. No thank you.
Welcome to our new feature, Tiara Thursdays! Created specifically for the indulgence of my inner magpie. (And yours, too!) Every Thursday until Kate and Will's Big Day, I'm highlighting some of the British royal family's tiaras that I'd like to see on Miss Catherine. Pure speculation and crossed fingers, of course. Won't you join in?
The only downside to being an ardent royal jewel fan: the secrecy. Those royal vaults are sealed so tightly, and no one wants to talk about these explicit markers of majesty - particularly not in these sorts of economic times. So we guess, and we hope that our favorite pieces have survived through the years.
This one, I'm afraid, might be pure hope.
On her wedding day, Queen Elizabeth received quite the sparkly avalanche of presents. Among the spoils were a diamond tiara and matching necklace from the Nizam of Hyderabad. Made by Cartier, the design is appropriately based on English roses.
Excuse me while I quietly sob in the corner and long for the days when wedding gifts could be as over-the-top as the sender wanted, without fear of media hoopla and public backlash. Sigh.
Okay, I'm back now, and I'm ready to discuss the fate of this diadem.
(Deep breath.) Queen Elizabeth may have dismantled this tiara. Potentially in favor of assembling this...gem:
Argh, the Burmese ruby tiara. Honestly, I just don't get her taste in jewels sometimes. Excuse me, I need to get my tissues again.
These are the facts, or "facts" more accurately, given the absence of official information:
The Queen hasn't worn the tiara publicly since about the early 1950s. (The last public appearance including the Nizam tiara that I've seen was 1952.)
Of the Burmese ruby tiara's creation, Leslie Field says in The Queen's Jewels: "The diamonds came from a tiara the Queen had been given as a wedding gift by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar." (p.69, 1987 ed.) This statement is the main source of the dismantling rumors.
However, in Tiaras: A History of Splendour, Geoffrey Munn does not include that detail in his description of the Burmese ruby tiara. He writes only briefly of the Nizam piece, saying: "There is also a tiara in bandeau form that was a wedding gift from the Nizam of Hyderabad," implying by use of the present tense that the piece still exists. (p. 1965, 2003 printing)
The Royal Jewels by Suzy Menkes also neglects to mention the dismantling of the tiara, thus implying it still exists.
In honor of the 60th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace's 2007 summer exhibition included a selection of wedding gifts. On display: the necklace, but not the tiara. Indeed, no mention of the tiara was made.
We do know the set hasn't gone away entirely. The Queen still wears the necklace:
Also, she wears pieces of the tiara: one larger rose brooch and two smaller brooches.
I say, if the tiara has been dismantled, let's put it back together. Though they may have removed the original diamonds, I'm going to make a leap of faith and assume the frame is still knocking about somewhere. It'd be rude to totally throw a wedding gift away, right? One doesn't want to be rude.
I think this would be a great choice for Kate. Based on her past tiara-giving behavior, the Queen opts to gift pieces that haven't been seen in a long time (or ever), rather than her favorites. It's got some heft without being overly large and ostentatious, and heaven knows Kate's got the hair to display it right. This one comes with options, which is perfect for a royal that probably won't have a large jewel collection to start out with: the three brooches within the tiara, and the necklace which has a detachable pendant. Also, it's nice and neutral. All diamond and floral, which is easily matched with lots of gowns.
Your thoughts, dear readers? The Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara for Kate: Yes or No?
International day for children with cancer, 15 February, a) outside and b) inside. I genuinely don't get the gray + beige thing. Máxima seems to think it matches too. Hmm.
Opening the ARCO modern art fair, 17 February. In some pictures, this looks red, in some it looks hot pink, and in others it's almost orange-ish. So, take your pick. I'm partial to hot pink!
Number two gets my vote; you know how much I love it when we get some color up in here. And it's a good thing she did opt for some color, otherwise she would have downright disappeared standing next to this magnificent lady:
(The purple wonder is Juana de Aizpuru, gallery owner. I know nothing about her, but I already love her for all the obvious reasons.)
Anyways, last week I got all excited over a wee bit of color on Letizia and you guys were all: "Whoa, OoS, settle down." So you tell me: thumbs up or down this week?
This guy... Wow. He's insane. I honestly think he is messed up in the head. Also, I wish, for the love of God, that he would stop going on about Osma Bin Laden and "Islamic extremists". Seriously, at least Bin Laden doesn't massacre his own people. This lunatic is the biggest terrorist there is.
My solution is decidedly simpler than his. . . A noose.
Family ski vacation in Lech, 19 February. Kudos to Princess Pink and Purple there (also known as Princess Ariane) for busting out some personal style on the slopes. Amalia (in the middle) isn't doing so bad either, with her silver take on giraffe print.
If I could get Ariane's coat in my size, that'd by my ski style. But if I couldn't find that, I might go with Mabel's style instead (and it's not very often that I say that!). Glam ski bunny all the way:
Opening the Paralympic Winter World Cup and visiting a heath care home, 15 February, a) with coat and b) without. That's a pretty casual coat for an official engagement, but if it's really as cold out as it looks like it must have been, I'll give it a pass. It is a sporting event, after all. On the other hand, I do not give the double scarf a pass. Nor will I give the fact that outfit 1b could be worn by her mother a pass. Be young while you can!
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