Today's Memory Monday deals with history but not of the political nature but rather that of style. It is also sometimes good to see relevant topic based photos grouped together for proper comparison. Thus we decided to do a list of the top 10 dress-up ensembles worn by our Royal women over the last 10 years.
The list is limited to outfits worn to events, but not wedding dresses. Dresses worn in State Portraits are excluded from the list unless also worn and photographed at an actual State Event and where the chosen ensemble was deemed best outfit at that particular event.
We will never forget this dress and jewellery ensemble that set the stage and precedent for all events to follow. Lady Arcwhite made her debut wearing this to the 2010 Christmas Ball. The Ice Queen look was fitting to the Christmas theme and the country she represented but was "warmed" with pink tones giving Lady Arcwhite an imposing yet welcome place in our hearts. It is therefore ranked no 1 and has yet to be bettered.
The Annual Christmas Balls always brings out the best in outfits and jewellery. To reign supreme att these events takes something special. For our no 2 spot we selected this ensemble worn by the indomitable Empress Crystobel to the 2011 Christmas Ball. It reflects the awe inspiring glamour and style of a true Empress without taking it to extremes.
As befitting of the Queen of the moment, the 2012 Investiture of King Nikolas III of Syldavia allowed Queen Maxima to dress for the part. being a restored monarchy the balance between regality consideration of practical budget was what this look was all about. Queen Maxima strikes that balance perfectly by wearing a dress made by a local designer with simple lines giving it a very modern feel. White is chosen to allude to a bride committing to her husband, which was in principle the role of the Consort Queen to the King. The long train adds majesty but it's also removable accenting practical use as the dress can be worn again for a different, less formal event. The Queen added traditional jewellery to complete this very successful look.
A new "Empress" has definitely appeared on our red carpet at the 2013 Christmas Ball. The event saw all the guests pulling all the stops and many of the outfits were milestones in style for their wearers. However one lady took the cake, the Crown Princess Imperial. Often the humble Princess, although strictly speaking the highest ranked woman in the world, is over shadowed by more upfront Royals when it comes to dress-up. However the Princess, who does not care to much about outward appearances often hits the ball for a six. This event was her tour-de-force. After the death of Empress Crystobel a period of mourning put a damper on showy events and even the Christmas Ball was under threat of cancellation or at best serious down tone. However, The Scotney and Britanian Governments decided to host it as a diplomatic event in amends for the assassination of the Empress. It was the first time the Crown Prince Imperial and Crown Princess Imperial stepped out in full dress-up in public since he funeral of Empress Crystobel and the diplomatic significance of the event required something special to be worn. The Crown Princess Imperial wore a stunningly appropriate dress of dark tones to hint at mourning but with regal blue shining through in rich brocaded patterns. She paired it with a tiara from the Crown Collection to affirm her rank and also wore some of Empress Crystobel's private jewellery that was left to her husband the Crown Prince Imperial. It is amazing how clothes and jewellery can be such an intimate testament of the state of the heart and state of affairs.
For her Investiture as Queen of Normandia in 2011, Queen Gloria had to face the challenge of blending her own tastes with the requirements of tradition and national symbolism. Light blue is the national colour of Normadia, it combines with the requisite fur trim (albeit fake fur), symbolic of Royal status. The dress was obviously inspired by medieval design to pair respectfully with the medieval Crown Tiara but the entire look has a distinctly modern feel. Traditional dress has never been made to look so stylish with metallic detail and Queen Gloria's brand new earrings made to match.
After the 2010 Christmas Ball Lady Arcwhite retained some style momentum by stealing the show for a second time in a row only a few months later. The 2012 Heads of the Royal House Meeting saw some of the main players gathering for a strategy meeting. here Lady Arcwhite showed her clout to the media with a look akin to 1950's glitz. Pairing the metallic pink with some spectacular jewellery the event was taken from regular to cosmic.
It is allowed to steal the show as a lady at an event that intrinsically is to honour a man. Such was the case at the 2012 15th Anniversary of the Duke of Swann's Ascension. The most eye catching woman of this event and no 7 on our list was undoubtedly Queen maria of Hispania dressed in all white and rubies. The almost iconic look set the precedent for what to expect from Queen Maria who at that stage was still gaining her footing on the world stage.
Lady Arcwhite takes her third slot on our top 10 list but this time the memorability of the ensemble is based purely on the symbolism and not necessarily the purity of style. For the 2012 Christmas Ball Lady Arcwhite was the host and was required by tradition to wear certain official jewellery. The final result was very imposing, spectacular but also a bit creepy. However the look was perfectly in keeping with the event and its host and did leave a lasting impression on us all making it no 8 on our list.
Effortless glamour is the hallmark of style. The Grand Duchess of Hanoveria never seems to try too hard and always looks the part but at the Birthday Ball in 2012 she had all eyes on her. The Grand Duchess paired the spectacular Hanoverian Aquamarines with a gold ball gown that almost gave the effect of a misty hays of gold. The look was truly memorable.
The first internationally published event needed the hostess to look the part. That look has stayed with us as we have come to expect from Princess Augusta. She put all our Royals back on the map and turned public opinion around reigniting public interest in the extravaganza that is Royalty. Her Byzantine inspired dress at the 2009 Birthday Ball burned itself into our minds and now that flame needs constant refueling with more glamour.
Five honourable mentions must be made as they were worn at the same events as the top 10 but as such are strictly disqualified from our limited list. However due to the fact that they came to mind instantly while making the list we thought we would add them for good measure.
Also a true icon of style Princess Xenia of Wallachia dresses impeccably stylish yet she knows her place and never tries to upstage anybody. As such her incredible ensembles are often relegated to the back ground of major events but we do make note of them and this particular one has summed up her look. Worn to the 2013 Christmas Ball the Princess' dramatic personality and penchant for dark tones and purple are obvious.
Queen Maria often plays the white card and does it well as mentioned on our top 10 list however this one is also noteworthy. The dress was actually her second choice and back-up after her original dress was torn badly while exiting her car.
Princess Kirtsen Youssopoff pulls all the stops when the event requires it and when everybody else goes full tilt she does the same but in her own, almost "sexy-yet-regal" manner. Clean lines with a bit of glitz and leg is paired with stylish historic jewellery to give us the Kirsten we have come to expect. Undeniably chic.
For their first major Royal event the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Reichenthal wanted to impress and that they did. Full length evening gown can so easily be frumpy or cake icingy but the Grand Duchess Azantha showed us hoe it should be done. Aquamarine dress hugs the figure yet surrendered full volume and paired with Royal Jewels it was a complete winner also at the 2013 Christmas Ball.
Definitely the 2nd best dressed at this event and one of her most spectacular looks to date the Crown Princess Imperial redeemed her sapphire debut with this perfect pitch of Imperial yet not-stealing-the-limelight dress. The Syldavian Investiture required all the guests to play second fiddle to the new King and Queen. The Crown Princess Imperial was however going to make the most of it and and stayed in our minds as the best dressed after Queen Maxima. It was also the prime opportunity for the Princess to wear her sapphires in a noteworthy manner after they were completely overlooked when they debuted at the same event where Lady Arcwhite stole the show. Revenge is sweet.