Unfortunately, Halloween is not as big in the Netherlands as it is in the US :( In the last week of October there are some Halloween themed parties in clubs and at sororities, but we don't have the tradition where children go ' Trick-or-treat'-ing. But that doesn't have to stop me from writing about it of course :-P Wearing a costume is part of the Halloween tradition, and I do love fancy dress parties every once in a while. Apparantly, so does Kate, so it has the Royal Seal of Approval!
Now that William and Kate's university days are in the past, we won't see them dressed up anymore, but fortunately, there are several pictures of Kate in costume from that time.
But Kate is not the only royal who likes to dress up occasionally. Some other royals seem to be quite the professionals when it comes to fancy dress parties and other costumes occasions. Below are a few of my favourites:
Also, for this Halloween themed post, I thought I'd share the most ghoulish place I ever visited: the Sedlec Ossuary, in the Czech Republic, also known as the Church of Bones.
This ossuary is located just outside the town of Kutna Hora, not far from Prague. When the abbot of the monastery in Sedlec returned from the Holy Land in 1278 with a small amount of earth, he sprinkled it over the cemetery, after which the place became a popular burial site. Because of it an ossuary was build in the 1400s to make place for new burials. In 1870 a woodcarver, František Rint, was ordered to put the large bone heaps in the ossuary into order. The result was this rather macabre looking place. Now, the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people function as decorations in the shape of a large chandelier, a coat of arms, four bell-shaped mounts, and the signature or Mr. Rint. Would be a very suitable place for the Adams Family to live, wouldn't it?
And last but not least: Happy Halloween everyone!
Left: cream saucer hat as worn by Kate during the wedding of Zara Philips and Mike Tindall.
Middle and right picture is the replikate hat made by Brandi, for sale at Girl Fabulosity for US$ 205
I always love watching pictures of Kate at Trooping the Colour, at a Buckingham Palace garden party or at a wedding, because she always wears the most gorgeous hats by the likes of Jane Taylor, Jane Corbett and Lock & Co. Unfortunately these hats are almost always waaaayyy out of my price league, but it is always fun to dream.
But looking at those gorgeous hats, Brandi wanted more to do than dream of those gorgeous hats, she wanted to make them! That is why she started the Etsy shop GirlFabulosity, where she sells very beautiful replikates of the hats worn by Kate. I always like to hear more about the 'story behind the store', so I thought it would be fun to meet and interview the girl behind GirlFabulosity and learn a bit about her process of making Kate's hats.
I think I first fell in love with Kate’s style when the engagement announcement was shown on TV. There she was in that beautiful sapphire blue dress looking so radiant and happy! I of course knew who she was before then, but I just never really paid any attention to her clothing and style. (But I have to admit, I had always had a little crush on Prince William!) After their engagement I really started to research her style and brands, and this is when I found What Kate Wore and all the other great pages that are related to Kate's style.
Kate has a style that is classic and timeless, and it falls in the lines with Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly along with Princess Diana (even though I don’t like to compare her to Princess Di). She has an effortless style that any age girl/women can wear and look great in it! I mean, who can honestly just put on a pair of boots and jeans and a t-shirt and look immaculate?
Left: large black sinamay hat worn by Kate during a wedding in October 2010.
Right: large black sinamay hat with ostrich feathers made by Brandi and for sale at GirlFabulosity for US$ 280.
And then there is of course your Etsy store, GirlFabulosity, where you sell hats inspired by the ones Kate wears. How did that start?
GirlFabulosity started completely out of a whim. I had no idea I would be doing so well with it as I am doing today! In 2011 I got very ill and for nine months I was out of work off and on. I could not exert much energy, and basically laid on the couch sleeping, or browsing the web. It was then that I stumbled across Etsy and several great stores that sold supplies to make fascinators and hats, so to keep busy I ordered some feathers and a couple of round bases from England and just started from scratch. The first few I made were for dogs and not people, but the more I played around with what I had I wanted more, so I ordered more and bigger stuff. Then I decided to order a hat block, which was really exciting for me because those are quite pricey. One hat block can cost up to $400. Luckily I got mine from someone who didn't need it anymore, for only $150. By now I also ordered a few new hat blocks, so I have a good collection to work with. I never took any lessons in hat making, as there are none offered anywhere near me, so I basically study a picture and duplicate it. I had some vintage hats so I could see how they were sewn together. If I cannot figure out how to do something I can normally google it or ask a fellow milliner. By now, I love experimenting with different kinds of fabrics!
I love hats, but I have no idea what it actually takes to make a hat. Can you tell me a bit about the process? What do you use? How much time goes into one hat?
The process of making a hat is mostly the same for all types. First, I start with straw or sinamay and wet it so that it is playable. Then I stretch and pull it over the hat block and make sure that it is pulled nice and with no bumps, and then I pin it. This base then needs several layers of stiffener, until it reaches the stiffness that I need. When I make a felt hat, this process is basically the same, except then I use steam to shape it. The more steam, the more stretch the hat has.
After the base is dried and shaped I carefully remove it from the block and put wire around the brim and trim it with petersham ribbon, or I just turn the brim over the wire and sew it. When this is done, I add the decorative trims of feathers and such. Then you have a hat!
Are there any hats that you especially like to make? And was there maybe a hat that was a lot more difficult than you initially anticipated and therefore particularly frustrating to make?
All the hats Kate wears are great to make. However, I do get tired sometimes of making the same hat over and over again, because just when I think that I have time to start on a hat of my own design, I get a new hat order and I don’t have time to work on it. But the Etsy business is great, so I don't complain!
The felt hats are the easiest to make and the quickest. The straw hats take more time, but I enjoy making them more because the outcome is so lovely. There are two hats that were really frustrating to make. The first one was the light pink hat with lace trim that Kate wore to the Buckingham Palace garden party in 2012. That hat is made out of two different parts that you put together, but there are these little tails that come out from under the brim, and it has these lace appliques on top. Luckily, every time I make the pink hat I am able to improve it.
The other hat that is really difficult is the nude beaded cocktail hat that Kate wore with the nude lace McQueen dress to the Diamond Jubilee church service. I once started on it, but it has so much hand beading I decided to stop half way. This hat isn't really hard to make because it is a difficult design, but adding the beads by hand is very time consuming, and the more time consuming it is, the more the cost of the hat goes up. I want to try to keep the costs down so I am still trying to find a way to offer this hat cheaper.
Left: straw and lace hat as worn by Kate during the annual garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2012.
Right: straw and lace hat made by Brandi for sale at GirlFabulosity for US$ 200.
Any plans for the future when it comes to your hat making business? Maybe considering an internship at Jane Corbett in the future? ;-)
Haha, of course I don’t know what the future has in store for me! In theory I would love to be able to quit my full time job and only work on hats. But I would have to sell a lot of hats for that to happen! I would love to be able to go somewhere and take classes and improve my skills further. I would love to go to England some day to shop for supplies there and visit different hat stores. Maybe even get a glimpse of Kate!
But for now, I am just planning on keep adding new hat designs to GirlFabulosity. Currently I am making puppy party hats to sell at a local dog boutique, so I hope to add those to my store as well. Also I would love to offer other hats than just Kate’s, like designs worn by Pippa or Corale Middleton, along with my own designs!
And last, but not least: Who is your absolute hat icon (apart from Kate of course)?
I don’t think I really have one “hat Icon”, not someone particular. I tend to just check blog posts and magazines to see what Kate, Pippa etc. are wearing and pick from there. I do however have a few favorite designers. Jane Corbett is amazing, her hats are very unique and have her signature flare in the folds that she does. Gina Foster has very girly, flirty designs. She uses flowers and feathers in a very beautiful way! And of course Jane Taylor, I love the lines in her designs, very classic and clean. She makes flowers out of feathers and uses veiling in unique ways!
Giveaway of a replikate of Kate's brown St. Patrick's Day hat!
Now is your chance to win one of Brandi's handmade hats: a replikate of the brown felt hat as worn by Kate during St. Patrick's Day 2012 and Cheltenham Festival 2013!
The contest runs from Tuesday 29 October until Sunday 3 November. The winner will be announced on Monday 4 November 2013. This particular giveaway is open to everyone all over the world.
Here’s how to enter:
When Kate attended the State Dinner in Malaysia during the South Pacific Royal Tour she wowed us with that breathtakingly beautiful white and gold gown by Alexander McQueen. But she also surprised us with a new set of jewellery: gold leaf earrings and a matching bracelet by UK designer Catherine Zoraida. Both the earrings and the bracelet were 18k gold plated silver. Both the earrings (£140) and the bracelet (£420) are still for sale at her online shop.
Below you can see several close-ups of Kate wearing the Double Leaf earrings.
Both the earrings and the bracelet were very much my style, but alas, at £140 and £420 they were not within my budget.
Luckily, last month Elise from DesignsbyNoa on Etsy posted on her Facebook page that she was working on replikate pairs of the earrings, so obviously I jumped at the chance, and pre-ordered a pair. And last week I received them in a small silver coloured box with a personal note enclosed! Very good and quick service Elise! Thank you very much!
Like the originals, the earrings Elise sells are also 18k gold plated silver and the leaves are the same size as well (3 cm). And that for only a fraction of the price of the originals: $50. My pair only has a different hook, but I noticed she now sells them with a similar hook in her Etsy store. They are also available in sterling silver. Below you can see a picture and two close-ups of me wearing the earrings made by Elise.
Elise now also has the matching bracelet for sale for $220, so I am now saving for that one :-P
Replikate review conclusion: I would have loved it if my pair had the same hook as the originals as well, especially now that the newer pairs do, but the quality of the earrings are great nonetheless! For a pair of earrings in the same material and in the same size as the originals you can't really go wrong.
Sinterklaas is one of the most important holidays in the Netherlands. We do celebrate Christmas, but the person of Santa Claus has (next to) no role in that. It is much more the traditional Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, with added presents under the Christmas tree and a turkey for dinner.
During the annual Dutch Sinterklaas celebrations, Saint Nicholas arrives by steamboat mid-November, accompanied by a large group of helpers called “Zwarte Piet”, which translates to English as “Black Pete”.
Since the last few decades, with the influx of immigrants to the Netherlands, Zwarte Piet is felt by some to be racist. Although it is a widely accepted theory that Zwarte Piet has a black face because he climbs down the dirty black chimneys, it is true that some part of the tradition finds its roots in the time in history when Holland still traded in African slaves.
As it is always just a small fraction of the Dutch population that finds the figure of Zwarte Piet offensive, the discussion whether or not Zwarte Piet might be racist always comes and goes with the steam boat of Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Pieten. However, since the beginning of this year, the United Nations started meddling, by initiating a research by the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to determine if the holiday is indeed racist.
I must say that I am astonished as well. Because, based on my own point of view (and I am pretty sure I share this view with the vast majority of the Dutch people), having celebrated Sinterklaas every year since I was born, Zwarte Piet isn’t even a ‘black’ person to me. Although he has a black-painted face, I never even thought of him being of negroid descent. Not as a child, not as an adult, not until someone said that Zwarte Piet might be racist and offensive to black people.
Well known Dutch comedian and actor Erik van Muiswinkel reprises his role as 'Head Pete'
The fact that Zwarte Piet's place in the Sinterklaas celebration originates from the time in history when Holland still traded in African slaves, does in no way mean that the persona of Zwarte Piet would ignite racist feelings among the Dutch population during the present day Sinterklaas festivities. On the contrary, to me Zwarte Piet actually has always been one of the most raceless figures imaginable. He is not black, he is not white, not yellow or red, just a positive force. Like a fun, caring and mischievous uncle, compared to Sinterklaas as a strict (although loving) grandpa. This is exactly why I just can’t understand how, if you ever really experienced the Sinterklaas celebrations, you can be offended by Zwarte Piet. In fact, Zwarte Piet can be a very strong way to teach children from an early age that skin colour doesn't matter and that everyone is part of the same community. Sinterklaas is a celebration in which everyone can participate, and it is an ideal way to bring people from all kinds of different backgrounds closer together.
Luckily, I am clearly not the only one who feels this way, because two days ago someone started a ‘Pete-ition’ on Facebook, supporting the role Zwarte Piet plays in the Sinterklaas celebrations, and since then it has become the largest, and fastest growing Dutch-language Facebook page, with over two million likes in just two days. Just as a reference: the Netherlands has a population of 17 million. The counter Facebook page 'Black Pete is racism' has 11,000 likes.
I know this has absolutely nothing to do with fashion, but I felt so strongly about it that I just had to dedicate a blog post to the issue. The elimination or alteration of Sinterklaas is just not an option for the Dutch population, because it is such a huge part of our culture and our childhood. Imagine that someone from the United Nations told the United States (or Canada, or the UK for that matter) to eliminate Christmas because Santa’s elves discriminate people with dwarfism. If you think that is a ridiculous prospect, or at least that this would be way out of proportion, then you know how I feel at this moment…
Pippa Middleton enjoying Sinterklaas-related holiday candy while in Holland for the promotion of her book Celebrate in November 2012
As about 99% of you may know already, Kate had her first solo engagement since the birth of Prince George yesterday, attending a workshop at one of her new charities: SportsAid. No pieces we hadn't seen before, but I thought it is a nice outfit to replikate nonetheless (although playing volleyball in 5" heels has 'Don't try this at home' written all over it)!
What did you think of Kate's outfit (and amazing post baby body btw!)? Are there some items you would consider replikating?
This post is totally not related to Kate, fashion or anything like it, but just watched the video below for the first time and had to share it.
As a 25 year old college student with a part time job at a law firm, I am sometimes terrified by the prospect of the routine, stress and boredom that are to come in the next days, weeks, months and years as I participate in so-called 'adult life'. That is why I am so glad I came across this speech.
The speech was given by the late David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005 and it is about taking yourself out of the tempting narrow focus of your own existence and try and change your perpective about your world and the people around you. Normally I am quite skeptical about these things, but trust me: it's a good one!
Coat: Ted Baker / Bag: Modalu England / Scarf: Vintage / Pumps: Jessica Simpson / Tights: HEMA
Dress: Ebay / Necklace: GirlFabulosity on Etsy / Earrings: Heavenly Necklaces
The key to wearing this outfit in October is tights!
It took me ages to find the right pair for me. It is absolutely necessary that they match your skin colour and aren't too thick, but also that they don't rip as soon as you step out of the door (otherwise it is going to be a very expensive hobby). I found mine at the Dutch drug store HEMA. HEMA also has shops in Belgium and France, but they don't ship to the US or UK I'm afraid.
It is quite normal in Holland for women of every age to wear skin tone tights with a dress or skirt, especially to work. But I heard it is less normal in the US, and that tights actually came a bit back into fashion after Kate was spotted wearing them. So what about you? Do you wear tights when the temperatures drop, and if yes, did Kate inspire you to start?
Just wanted to let you know I added a few new items on the Tatiana's Delights Etsy shop the last two weeks. I hope there are some things among them that you like! (Just click on the pictures for a direct link.)
And even more items coming soon, so keep an eye on Tatiana's Delights on Etsy!
Like the rest of the world I am captivated by the enigma that is Downton Abbey. And as a self confessed clothing addict and fashion lover, my appreciation for Susanna Buxton (Downton's costume designer) grows with each and every episode. The amount of work that goes into every dress worn by Lady Grantham and the young ladies is just unbelievable, there is just so much eye for detail.
Thanks to The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey the 20s are hot and happening right now. And how can you not get inspired by the beautiful fashion of that period? But unfortunately it is not easy to dress in a 'Downton' way without looking like you are going to a fancy dress party. However, you can dress with the same flair as Lady Mary (without an enormous price tag) by incorporating certain Downton elements into your own outfits. Below you will find three outfits worn on Downton Abbey, two by Lady Mary and one by Lady Rose, and their modern day equivalents.
Outfit 1: Lady Mary walking in the gardens
One of my go-to outfits at the moment: a cream embroidered lace blouse, green trousers and nude heels.
1. Ivory lace blouse, Dorothy Perkins, $25.00
2. Cameo and faux-pearl earrings, Modcloth, $11.99
3. Green slim fit trousers, H&M, $24.95
4. Nude patent PU-leather Mary Jane pumps, Nine West at Bonton, $59.99
5. Dark green pleated midi skirt, ASOS, $35.60
6. Nude scalloped suede Mary Jane pumps, Loft, $89.50
7. Embroidered mesh top with lace inserts, Free People, $98.00
Outfit 2: Lady Rose running errands
The combination of an oversized coat and a long skirt make Lady Rose's costume very 1920s.
Change those for a cardigan and a pair of skinny jeans, and the outfit is very much 2013.
1. Long royal blue soft scarf with fringe, Karma Loop, $18
2. Crochet cloche hat, Like Freja on Etsy, $35.00
3. Gray skinny jeans, H&M, $19.95
4. Black patent leather Mary Jane pumps, Carvela at John Lewis, £59.00
5. Zig zag print cardigan, Chico's, $49.98
6. Gray woolen texting gloves, Lauren Ralph Lauren at 6pm.com, $24.99
Outfit 3: Lady Mary at the station
With this costume you can basically change Mary's long skirt for a pair of dark skinny jeans and have a great casual chic outfit in one of the colours of this winter: bordeaux.
What do you think? Would Carson approve?
- ABOUT TATIANA -
Hi there! I am a fashion and travel enthusiast living in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Tatiana's Delights is your online resource for preppy and minimalist fashion, travel tips, affordable home decor and adorable cat photos. You can find out more about Tatiana's Delights here.
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