09 May 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday Gala Banquet

The Norwegian royal family promised big sparkle and they – and their guests – delivered today, with a gala banquet at the Royal Palace to celebrate King Harald V and Queen Sonja’s 80th birthdays. (Don’t forget to check out our open post for guest list information as well as tomorrow’s itinerary.)

Thomas Brun, NTB scanpix
Tiaras galore! Click that photo to enlarge and drink in all that splendor. And when you’ve quenched your thirst, come forth and judge:

Biggest Birthday Queen Statement
Queen Sonja of Norway
Ways to avoid being upstaged at your own birthday dinner: 1) wear the biggest parure you’ve got (Empress Joséphine’s Emerald Parure will do nicely), and 2) wear a LIME GREEN BALL GOWN. Option 2 is not for the faint of heart.
Of course, when it comes to a loud color or a big, fussy ball gown, Queen Sonja is NEVER faint of heart. Much like her friend QEII, it's her birthday and she can be eye-searingly radioactive if she wants to, I suppose.

Best Tiara Surprise, Home Team Division
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mette-Marit forgot her tiara tonight. Never fear, she did not! In fact, she gave us something NEW (-ish), which almost never happens.
With apologies for the candlestick to the face, it’s the Vifte Tiara! Mette-Marit has worn this one as a necklace in the past, and others have worn it as a tiara. This is her first time wearing it as a tiara. For someone that wears the same thing most of the time, this was a fabulous surprise.

Most in Need of a Tiara Swap
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
I’m not gonna lie, I hoped this might be an occasion for something – anything, really – other than Märtha Louise’s usual: King Olav’s Gift Tiara. In a new dress from Norwegian designer Cecilie Melli (per Heaven), she looks great, and yet this look isn’t really clicking.

Best Tiara Surprise, Guest Division
Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Princess Mabel took a welcome break from her diamond wedding tiara, her constant selection for the rare tiara events she attends, to try out the Pearl Button Tiara from the Dutch vault! She paired it with a repeated Viktor & Rolf dress. Her presence was a welcome surprise itself; though she’s mostly withdrawn from royal events, King Harald was godfather to the late Prince Friso, and it’s nice to see the connection continues.

Best in Tiara Enthusiasm
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg and Princess Sofia of Sweden
Two ladies who love to pull things out of their respective plentiful family vaults, what more could you ask for? Stéphanie is using Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara again and has added a second convertible sapphire and diamond necklace tiara. Sofia, repeating an Oscar de la Renta gown from the 2015 Nobel Ceremony, has added another Swedish tiara to her repertoire: the Six Button Tiara. She wears it well (and longtime readers know I don’t say that lightly about those button tiaras).

Best in Regular Tiara Action
Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Astrid of Norway, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
These three ladies didn’t necessarily shake things up, but they happened to pick some of my favorite pieces from their respective collections, so they get a personal thank you from me: the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure Tiara for Silvia, Queen Maud’s Turquoise Tiara for Astrid, and the Greek Ruby Parure for Anne-Marie.

Biggest Repeat Déjà Vu
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
This pink evening coat has been here before: Maria Teresa, wearing the Belgian Scroll Tiara, wore it to Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s wedding all the way back in 2001. It's Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture (h/t to Luxarazzi).
And this pizza-trimmed gown (okay, paisley or whatever, but it will forever read like little pizzas to me and I honesty wish it was) might as well have been here before: Beatrix, wearing the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, wore it to birthday celebrations for Queen Margrethe and King Carl Gustaf, as well as on other occasions. Déjà vu, ladies, déjà vu.

Best in Repeats
Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Queen Margrethe, in the Floral Aigrette Tiara, repeated the sleek dress she wore for the recent Belgian state visit, and she looks goooooood.
Queen Mathilde repeated the red Armani dress she wore for the Jordanian state visit, and while I wish she’d upgraded from the Wolfers Tiara, she looks goooooood.
Queen Máxima, not wanting us to forget that she owns two Jan Taminiau dresses based on a palace room, repeated her dress from Prinsjesdag 2015, and she looks reaaaaaalllly goooooood. She’s also rounding out the impressive Dutch tiara show with the Dutch Sapphire Tiara, so bonus points abound.

Best in Volume
Princess Tatiana of Greece and the Countess of Wessex
Big sleeves and big skirts, thank goodness they showed up on two separate gowns! I’m here for Tatiana’s adaptation of the big sleeve trend, worn with the Antique Corsage Tiara, even though it’s not shown to greatest effect while holding someone’s arm.
Continuing to seek out new colors to pair with her aquamarine jewels – her Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara here – is really paying off for Sophie, because this green gown from Suzannah (h/t to Anna) is stunning. Really, really stunning. Grand, but not too much.

Best in Earring Bling
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Elie Saab repeat: check. Baden Fringe Tiara: check, always. Major diamond epaulette earrings: forever check, and GIMME.

Nearly Best Dressed
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
There’s so much potential in this metallic gown from Max Mara (h/t to Marwa) and I’m so nearly in love with it. Nearly. It’s just not quite holding up in motion, and the geometric design makes me wish Mary had a spectacular diamond fringe tiara to complement it. She is, instead, wearing her newest tiara find: her Diamond, Ruby, and Spinel Necklace Tiara.

Best Dressed
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
You can always count on M-C to bring something fresh off the runway. Sometimes, that’s not such a successful strategy. In this case, though? I’d love to see more floral ball gowns, so Marie-Chantal’s Valentino is right up my alley. This is also the rare case where the full royal accessory package actually works to improve the gown, because the sash and the spike of her Diamond Fringe Tiara cut through what could otherwise be an upholstery overload. ADORE, though I won't be surprised if I am alone in naming her best dressed. (Bonus tiara watch: Walking with her is Lady Elizabeth Anson, best known for being Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin and a party planner extraordinaire. Her diamond tiara comes from Princess Viggo of Denmark.)

Phew! We shall return for more fun tomorrow. Until then...

Who makes your best dressed list?

Photos: NRK1 screencaps, unless otherwise noted