Jewels of the Royal World

Make It Modern – The Brooch Challenge, Part 2

Last week we talked a little about making brooches work for the modern royal, and which pieces would work best in a non-traditional placement, whether it be at the neckline, on the bodice, on the skirt, at the waist, or clustered for effect. This week we’ll take a look at the use of brooches as hair ornaments, a topic that requires its own post because of the infinite possibilities!

I think we all know how I feel about hair ornaments. I’ve been known to say that they are criminally underused. Brooches were frequently pinned in the hair up through the nineteenth century. A well dressed coiffure was not complete without fabulous sparkly adornment. The aigrettes and brooches were, in some cases, enormous. The skill and ingenuity used to integrate them into the hair was vast.

When I searched for current examples, I actually found quite a few instances of contemporary brooch-as-tiara-substitute. Both Crown Princess Mary and Crown Princess Victoria have worn brooches as hair ornaments, to great effect. It’s not surprising that Max has taken a stab at it, too.

Even Queen Elizabeth has gotten into the act, wearing Queen Adelaide’s Wheat-Ear brooches (from 1830) as hair slides. It was reported that Princess Eugenie borrowed one of the brooches for her wedding reception hairstyle, and it is one of my great disappointments that we never got a photo of it.

Getty Images

Finally we have the greatest example of brooches as hair ornaments in modern times. For her wedding in 2011, Charlene wore a 19th century diamond hair ornament. The piece was loaned to her by Princess Caroline, who inherited it from her own grandmother, Princess Charlotte. The fabulous execution shows the centuries old piece in a modern and fabulous permutation.

Embed from Getty Images

What do you say? I still say we can expand this wonderful trend. Let’s do this. Pick a few pieces, pick a few royals and let’s get those brooches deployed as hair ornaments. Here are some thought starters:

Great brooches for hair:

Here are a couple of my dreamboards for zhuzzing up the hair. I would like to see the brooch (from the Asturias Fleur de Lys tiara), which Letizia typically wears as a pin for sashes, used in one of her low chignons.

We know Kate loves to wear blue, so the next blue evening gown and updo combo really needs the Prince Albert Sapphire brooch.

Show us examples of past use and give us suggestions for the future!