Today, Empress Michiko, the Empress Emerita of Japan, celebrates her 89th birthday. To mark the occasion, we’re traveling in our bejeweled time machine back to October 2014, when she wore major state visit diamonds in Tokyo.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan were the hosts of an elegant white-tie state dinner at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 29, 2014.
Their guests were the King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. The Dutch and Japanese royals have strong ties. Queen Maxima and Empress (then Crown Princess) Masako particularly have a strong friendship, buoyed by the fact that Masako’s parents, Hisashi Owada and Yumiko Egashira, lived in the Netherlands for many years. (As a side note, Queen Maxima wore a golden evening gown with the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara and a small setting of the bow brooch from the Stuart Parure. She later repeated the same gown and tiara for the Italian state visit to the Netherlands in 2022.)
Empress Michiko, whose elegance was so lasting that she was inducted into the International Best Dressed List’s hall of fame in 1990, wore a gorgeous gown for the state dinner. The subtle windowpane patterning of the gown, as well as its structured design, are reminiscent of timeless men’s wear designs, but the metallic sheen and silver-toned pattern, as well as the filmy, one-shouldered cape, added feminine touches. She also carried a silver-toned bag and wore matching shoes. The sash and star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion added a burst of vibrant color to the look.
Michiko kept the silvery theme of the ensemble going with her jewels, wearing sparkling diamonds. By 2014, Michiko had given up wearing tiaras because of ongoing health issues with her head and neck, but she still managed to make a big impression with the diamonds she chose.
Empress Michiko wore a classic diamond rivière necklace with a round diamond pendant for the dinner, paired with diamond pendant earrings and a diamond floral bracelet.
She finished off the jewelry look with an evening watch featuring a face surrounded by more diamonds. Nothing says quiet imperial elegance like this outfit—subtle, shimmering evening wear with impressive but relatively streamlined diamonds. Gorgeous!