In Defense of the Dress – Maxima in Beccaria Blue

Welcome back to In Defense of the Dress, where we take a another look at dresses that brought on the divisiveness the first – or second, or third – time around.

The Facts

Queen Maxima attended the benefit gala dinner for the Princess Maxima Center for children’s oncology in the Concert building on September 5, 2017. She wore a Luisa Beccaria organza printed dress, in a light blue over white print. The dress sported a flowing skirt, deep v-neck and wide, sheer sleeves. She had the neckline modified from the plunging version of the original, no doubt for the sake of modesty. She accessorized with a diamond, sapphire and moonstone necklace.

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Luisa Beccaria Organza Printed Wide Sleeves Dress

The Case for the Dress

The Handbag: Just look at her! It’s floating! It’s feminine. It’s summery and flattering. Busy? Well, yes, but who can tame busy-ness better than Maxima? And she chose just the right accessories. I not only approve, I want to see Catharina-Amalia or Alexia swirl in wearing this one day. Chef’s kiss.

LG: Love it! It’s everything I want in Max gown. Great fit, beautiful design and bell sleeves. The fact that its blue just adds to the perfection!

LiL: OC is on her own here because I LOVE THIS. It’s just the right amount of BoHo for me. Lively pattern, fabulous shades of blue, and…AND… A DROP DEAD GORGEOUS NECKLACE to boot. Okay, so maybe the necklace isn’t technically part of the dress, but who cares, am I right? Max nailed it.

The Case Against the Dress


OC: I don’t have much here. It’s ok. Nothing really to swing me either way in any sort of grand fashion swing.

How do you feel about Max in Beccaria?

Defense of the Event – Polar Music Prize

The Polar Music Prize is a prestigious honor, spanning all musical boundaries. It is awarded yearly to individuals, groups, and institutions. Grandmaster Flash, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Playing For Change Foundation were the Laureates of 2019. As usual, members of the Swedish Royal Family were there to lend support. Head here to read more about the prize.

We decided that the Handbag Community would want to defend (or not!) all of the dresses from yesterday’s ceremony in Stockholm. Lots to talk about here….so let’s not dilly dally further.

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Crown Princess Victoria

Designer Selam Fessahaye created this bespoke gown for Victoria, but we have no further information beyond that. We’ll just let you gaze upon the photos to make your own judgment.

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The Handbag: A very large pink explosion, that somehow got cut off above the knee in the front; however, I don’t hate it. I don’t want to get near it, but I admire it in its unabashed commitment to both pink and tulle.

OC: Love it in all its frothiness. The earrings are a step too far. All she needed was a decent size diamond stud.

LG: Usually Vickan goes a bit outside her comfort zone for this one, and this time it worked! Agree with OC about the earrings, but I love it as is!

LiL: It might be okay if the tulle was restricted to the bottom half and it wasn’t so overwhelmingly pink. As is, no.

Princess Sofia

Sofia is wearing a new to her Dolce & Gabbana floral midi dress with sheer sleeves and decorative daisies around the neckline and waistline.

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The Handbag: Yeah, well, I don’t understand the trim. I don’t understand the fabric. I do like the sheer sleeves. Overall, though, I don’t understand why such a gorgeous woman would want to disguise herself like a hippie heading to the entrance gates at Woodstock.

LG: This is my usual complaint about head to toe floral frocks, its just too much. Shorter sleeves, more open neck and maybe…

LiL: The worst thing this gorgeous woman has ever done to herself. There isn’t one good thing to say about any of it.

Queen Silvia

Another gown on which there is not a lot of intel floating around. Here are the photos, you decide what you think.

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The Handbag: If I could see past that schmatta of a shawl, I might actually like it. I think the print looks as if it might be super spring-like and pretty.

LG: From what I can see…no. Get rid of the shawl and I’ll reconsider.

LiL: Oh, no. No no no.

How do you feel about these dresses at this event?

Defense of the Dress – Sophie Wessex Wears Coral

Welcome back to In Defense of the Dress, where we take another look at dresses that brought on the divisiveness the first – or second, or third – time around. This entry, as you will see, has very definitively split the hofdame family. You weigh in and tell us what you see because we can’t reach a consensus to save our sartorial souls.

The Facts

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wore this one-shoulder, slinky coral gown to the Paralympic Ball in September 2012. I have very few facts on the dress, so we have to work with what we see here: it’s very definitely one shoulder, and that shoulder strap is gathered into a decorative clip. The dress is fitted through the bodice and falls smoothly to the floor. Sophie accessorized the dress with pearl drop earrings, a small clutch, and a great tan.

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The Case for the Dress

OC: I think she looks foxy and I wish we’d see more of this gorgeous, healthy woman.

LG: Love this! Yes, there is a lot of Mary action going on here, but this dress is perfection in every other way. The fit is amazing and the color is smashing.

The Case Against the Dress

The Handbag: I have one word for this dress: BOSOM. It’s all I see. I try to cast my eye over the rest of the dress to evaluate it objectively and I just come back to BOSOM. There is nothing wrong with Sophie’s fine figure at all – I should be so lucky myself – but when a dress draws the eye to one part of the body I feel it’s letting the wearer down.

LiL: Where to begin. I don’t like this AT ALL. The color is all wrong for her, and does very little if anything for her figure. Except to draw the eye to her chestal region as Sudsy stated above. She can do so much better.

What do you think of Sophie's coral number?

In Defense of the Dress – Beatrice in a Bow

Welcome to In Defense of the Dress, where we tackle dresses that caused conflicts of the sartorial soul when we first saw them. Today we take on Princess Beatrice, all wrapped up in a sparkly bow.

The Facts

On November 2, 2018, Beatrice attended The 9th Annual Global Gift Gala held at The Rosewood Hotel in London. She wore a black-and-white Gucci gown, accented (boldly) with a sparkly trompe l’oeil bow at the waist. The gown is from from the Gucci Pre-Fall 2018 collection. She accessorized with long curly hair and kept everything else simple.

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The Case for the Dress

The Handbag: I think this is among the best of Beatrice’s evening looks. The cream contrasts softly with her skin, and the faux bow at the waist is fun embellishment. It flatters her figure, too. She often goes overboard in an effort to be different, and this is a nice way to stand out and be very slightly funky, but stay within the flattering zone.

OC: Loved it unabashedly then, love it unabashedly now. I can’t even hold the fact that it is Gucci against despite really wanting to.

LiL: Everything they said above me. I think it’s great. She looks fabulous!

The Case Against the Dress

LG: No. Big, fake, embellished bows are not for me.

What do you think about Beatrice and her sparkly bow?

Defense of the Dress – Princess of Boho

Welcome to In Defense of the Dress, where we fearlessly take on dresses that caused controversy on their first (and sometimes second, and third!) appearances.

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The Facts

Today we turn our eyes to that Scandinavian beauty with the propensity for ruffles and prints, Crown Princess Mette-Marit. At the 2015 wedding of Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo, Mette-Marit wore a bespoke Giambattista Valli gown. The dress featured several of Mette-Marit’s signature touches: a high neck, long sleeves, and a flowing, printed skirt. The bodice and skirt fabric is chiffon, and the neck and waist are embellished with black lace.

As you can see, the dress fit in with the attire of the other attendees very nicely. She wore flat sandals to complete the easy breezy summer effect.

Cwn Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Franca Sozzani meet LApo Elkan. COPYRIGHT STELLA PICTURES

The Case For the Dress

The Handbag – Ok, so bear with me. It’s a pretty dress, and it really reflects the wearer. It is flowing and soft and it suits her glowing skin. It is a lovely, summery color. The black accents enhance the subtle flower pattern, and do not overwhelm. It may ping prairie to North American eyes, but for a glamorous European island wedding, I think it telegraphs summer sunlight and celebration.

LiL: She’s worn worse. Is that defense enough? LOL

The Case Against the Dress

OC: Newp. It’s a black bib gone too far. I agree with the esteemed Handbag that the black accents don’t overwhelm the dress. For me, they are just plain ugly. Honestly, I’d prefer no black. But if I have to I could live with the black belt and the black clutch. Otherwise, no thanks.

LG: Just no. Black, crocheted bibs do not belong with a floaty, summery floral.

What do you think of Mette-Marit's bohemian wedding guest dress?