Defense of the Dress – Victoria in Fessahaye

The Facts

Never say we shy away from controversy here. Today we’re taking on Crown Princess Victoria, resplendent in her 2019 Nobel gown by Swedish-Eritrean designer Selam Fessahaye. We allowed everyone a coule months to think about this one. Victoria accessorized with the Baden fringe tiara, the Braganza Rose diamond brooch, and a Bernadotte diamond rivierè. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Prime MInister of Ethiopia for his role in ending the 20 year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the choice of dress designer may have been, in part, a diplomatic nod.

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The Case for the Dress

The Handbag: I always like a troublemaker! In this case, Victoria didn’t play it safe on what is probably her biggest night of the year, and for that I admire her. I like the nod to the Nobel winner, and visually, she was indeed a focal point, with a black and white throwback to Swedish court dress. Not a resounding yes, but a yes nonetheless.

LG: I’m still all in. At first when I thought it was a wrinkled mess, I was still all in. This isn’t just a Princess in a gown at the Nobel Ceremony, the is the Crown Princess and Future Queen. Could it have been toned down a bit, of course, but we all know Victoria loves a dramatic dress for the Nobels, and she didn’t disappoint. I can only hope for more drama for the years to come.

The Case Against the Dress

OC: Newp. Still hideous. Styled poorly though nice to see the Baden and the Bragança Rose. The End.

LiL: I’m with her. Newp. So much newp. It hurts my eyeballs.

Where do you fall on Victoria's last Nobel gown?

In Defense of the Dress – Marie-Chantal in Alexander McQueen

Welcome back to the Defense of the Dress. It’s a new year, and lots of new dresses are just waiting to be defended. Let’s get down to it.

The Facts

The Duchess of Cambridge is NOT the only royal to wear McQueen, thankyouverymuch. Marie-Chantal of Greece, who is, granted, more royal-adjacent than royal, has also worn the designer. In 2015, she appeared at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in this silk printed McQueen, which features a high waistline and strategic cut outs. This dress provoked some very strong reactions among the Hofdames, but we kept in mind the adjacent part of royal-adjacent, and adjusted our judging spectacles accordingly.

Close-ups of the styling and earrings can be found on New My Royals.

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The Case for the Dress

The Handbag: OK, I am going to preface this by saying I placed it in context. It’s worn by a woman who is not part of a current monarchy to an event where she is more celebrity than royal. In that context, I think it’s a good compromise. She was going for 1930s Hollywood, and although it doesn’t reach that level of polish, it’s somewhat stylish, somewhat daring, and flattering.

The Case Against The Dress

LiL: I could honestly go either way, but I’ll take the against for one glaring reason. The bodice doesn’t fit properly. When you have that much money, there’s no excuse for poor tailoring.

Can you defend this dress?

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?