For this Hall of Fame installment, our resident Spanish royal expert, Iselen, submitted the nominees and background on the gowns. We found the information fascinating, and know you will, too. Also look for Iselen’s nominations for Letizia’s daywear in the upcoming weeks. Thank you, Iselen, for your inside intel.
First and Second Runners-Up
Second and first runner ups are the two Lorenzo Caprile gowns, which were worn at Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson’s pre-wedding dinner and wedding itself. These events were Letizia’s first international events as Felipe’s fiancée (her own wedding was two weeks later), and the first time Spanish people got that “Wow!” factor from their future Queen.
The red, swishy, forties inspired dress – inspired by the glamorous Countess of Barcelona – was worn at the ceremony as the result of a last minute change of plans. It was originally designed for the glitzy pre-wedding dinner, accessorized for evening with the sparkly brooches. The cherry satin skirt with a floral jacket embroidered in gold was the wedding outfit, since it is actually richer concerning the materials than the red dress.
According to Caprile, on the first day of festivities, Letizia required the additional coverage of the skirt and jacket design, so she switched gowns. Unfortunately, since Caprile gave out so many details, Letizia never trusted him again and never wore the rest of the outfits he made for her. It is a pity since it’s said that the Queen owns a white evening dress that Caprile labeled the highlight of his career, but we’ve never seen it.
The winner is a gown worn at an event that is simply one of the best royal appearances ever. At the 2017 Spain and UK state visit, Letizia wore a stunning red sparkly Varela gown, and accessorized with her Big Gun, the Fleur de Lys Tiara, the earrings and one of the bracelets from the joyas de pasar. The slightly fuller skirt balances that enormous, airy tiara with grace.
For this entry in the Hofdame Hall of Fame, we are returning to one of our contemporary princesses. Princess Madeleine of Sweden is well known as one who prefers to dress on the very feminine and frilly end of the spectrum. No minimalism in evening dress or jewelry for her, and that makes this Hall of Fame entry fabulous fun.
The Amethyst tiara is not an easy tiara to wear, and hair-down tiara appearances are also tricky. That what makes our second runner up appearance so special. At the 2012 Nobel Ceremony Madeleine rewore an Angel Sanchez gown (first worn at Victoria’s pre-wedding celebrations), and paired it with the amethysts from the Swedish vault. As spectacular as the tiara is, the earrings give it a run for the money in the sparkle sweepstakes, and the entire effect makes it our second runner-up.
Can a royal wear two tiaras at once in the modern age? Yes, as Madeleine demonstrated at the 2016 Nobel Kings Dinner. The blush sequined Valentino is a lovely feminine gown, but it’s the combination of the Modern Fringe on her head and the Connaught as a necklace that brings this effort into Hall of Fame territory.
Our LiL describes this as the greatest evening look in royal history, but the outing that took this blue/gray Fadi El Khoury gown into Hall of Fame territory was not its appearance at the 2015 Nobel Ceremony. The best royal tea party ever was held in February 2016, and Maddie did it up right for Min Stora Dag by wearing the Aquamarine Tiara, earrings, and, of course, the sparkly gown. The gown and tiara combination is also featured in one of her official photographs.
Welcome back to the Hofdame Hall of Fame, historical division. Let’s look back at the beautiful Queen Ingrid, mother of the current Queen of Denmark and aunt of the current King of Sweden. Born a princess of Sweden, the daughter of a British royal, and married to the King of Denmark, the Queen was thoroughly royal every minute of her life. By all accounts, she was a warm and charming person. Looking through photos, she was also a fantastically stylish woman.
Second Runner Up
During the 1920s and early 1930s, Princess Ingrid was considered a highly desirable match, and it’s easy to understand why. Look at the young Ingrid in her glamorous single years. It might be that with her slim figure, she wore the fashions of the twenties and thirties with particular elegance. Then again, it might just be the enormous feathered fan that made this look earn a second runner up in our estimation. It’s no wonder Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was smitten.
First Runner Up
Between 1935 and 1947, Ingrid was the Crown Princess of Denmark. The 1930s silk gown with slim straps flattered her immensely. She paired it with the Danish Pearl Poire tiara and a three strand pearl necklace. Extra points for her deployment of a brooch at the neckline and strap insertion. This entire ensemble is our first runner-up.
Ingrid became Queen Consort of Denmark in 1947, and her stylish ways continued. So much so, it was hard to pick a winner from her outings, but the gold Sevilla gown finally won out. The color, the soft draping, and the overall flattering effect just won us over. It appears to be gown that would work on many figures – in fact, our LiL has a popular Photoshop of Mary wearing the gown. It’s unfortunate we don’t a color photo of Ingrid in the gown, but we do have her escorting Queen Ena while wearing the ruby parure, shown below, a charming substition.
The poll is closed and the winner is in. The community is all about Horrocks!
Welcome to the Hofdame Hall of Fame, where we all weigh in on iconic looks of our favorite royals. We are changing it up a bit this week by reaching back into history and stepping away from evening wear. Let’s all weigh in on Princess Margaret and her day wear. For purposes of this very loosely defined activity, we are calling anything worn during the day, daywear.
I will say, for me, it was a pleasant and glamorous look back. Pearls, gloves and hats galore! Margaret’s heyday was definitely the fifties, when the tight-waisted and full skirted silhouette really flattered her incredible figure.
Our first place winner is this lovely lightly patterned dress with an inset at the neckline and full skirt. She wore this on at least two occasions in the early fifties, the wedding of Angela Dowding and a trip to Ascot. It was full of interesting detail, incredibly flattering to her figure, and accessorized to perfection.
A very, very close second – in fact it was neck and neck – was this Horrocks dress, which she wore during her East African tour in 1956. Again, the fitted bodice and the full skirt were intensely flattering. That hat was a delight! The pattern was also a nice nod to the region without being in the least bit of a costume. And she looks neat as a bandbox, unruffled, and cool.
Three coat entries tied for third. At the top, the full skirted coat with a button waistline detail worn in 1956, to Westminster Abbey is both fashionable and demure enough for the event. The middle photo was taken in 1949 when a very young Margaret wore a fur trimmed coat of extreme snazzy-ness to visit the youth in Bristol. The bottom photo shows a glamourous Margo visiting the House of Dior.
As the Japanese enthronement approaches, we turn our eyes to the last Empress, currently the Empress Emeritus. Empress Michiko wore some stellar evening wear during her husband’s long reign. We have tried to nominate dresses from several of her sartorial eras.
Before you ask, “What, no kimonos?”, let us explain. It seems that the kimono was a form of dress that the Empress wore for daytime events, for the most part. So we will circle back when we review her day wear. That should *not* stop the community from nominating a kimono, if you do find one that was also terrific evening wear. Let’s jump in!
Our Hofdame Hall of Fame winner is the dress worn for the enthronement ceremonies in 1990. In the official photos, it seems the dress was either blue or white, but either way, it’s a favorite ; ). We believe that the dress was re-worn for a state dinner with the U.S., and it appeared white in those photos.
We love the simplicity and sumptuousness, coupled with her signature sheer cape.
The first runner up is the dress Empress MIchiko wore to a 2007 dinner held at Uppsala Castle, Sweden, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Swedish biologist Carolus Linnaeus. What we particularly love about this are three things: the sheer extended sleeve, the sophistication of the tailored dress as an evening gown, and the fact that she wore a tiara, outblinging the blingy Swedes.
Our second runner up is young MIchiko in a ballgown worn at her wedding to Prince Akihito. The Western style gown was seen in photos taken after their April 10, 1959 nuptials at the Imperial Palace. She was indeed a perfect princess.