August 19, 2015

Fashion Throwback: Red Cross Ball Through the Years

Well, hello strangers. It’s been awhile – what, almost a month! – since my last post, and since Princess Charlene’s last official engagement. It was noted that she did attend the wedding(s) of Beatrice Borromeo and Pierre Casiraghi, the nephew of Prince Albert; however, no photos have surfaced of Princess Charlene at the events. (If you have found any, though, please let me know and I will drop everything to do a post!) Perhaps the Princely family is simply enjoying some summer holiday away from prying eyes, but whatever the reason for the quiet these days, I’ve been bored just waiting around for another appearance from our favorite Princess. So we’re going to engage in a little divertissement while we wait. Given that Princess Charlene’s most recent engagement was the Red Cross Ball, let’s look at her previous fashion choices for the event over the years. And then we can argue politely about our favorite dress!

Princess Charlene’s famous RCB debut back in 2006, which was her first official engagement in Monaco. Charlene herself has admitted to cringing at these photos, comparing herself to a Christmas tree. It’s certainly not a favorite dress of mine, but we cannot be too hard on Charlene for being a newbie in the royal spotlight – and I hope she’s not too hard on herself! It’s lovely that she has a sense of humor when looking back.

In 2007, Charlene donned this white, strapless number to the RCB. Angelic and breezy, it certainly was a much more elegant choice than the previous year; however, for me, this was a tad too heavy on the bridal side. Perhaps a different color would have solved this issue, because I love the style of this dress: the wispy layers give her a floaty quality that really matches summer in Monaco beautifully.

The next year’s ball saw Charlene in this very pretty dress, which – and I’ll just say this straight out – is actually quite odd. I don’t mind the yellow and purple combo, though it is a strange combo, but there’s something about the big flower that really throws me. The cut of the dress is actually quite becoming, but that flower kind of makes it seem like a prom dress. Just me?

Now THIS is more like it! 2009’s RCB saw Princess Charlene in her best dress yet: the one shouldered, fire-engine red gown. This dress has a major va-va-voom component that cannot be denied. It fit Charlene like a gorgeous glove, highlighting her incredible figure and enviably toned arms. The swept up hairstyle complemented the entire look flawlessly. I feel like this was the year that Charlene really started to come into her own and hit all the right sartorial marks for a princess-to-be.

2010 was the best RCB year for me, when Charlene chose this Armani off-the-shoulder taupe gown. I love, love, LOVE this dress! The asymmetrical sleeves and lines were balanced nicely with a form-fitted silhouette and a basic, flowing skirt. I suppose the downside would be that the sleeves have a hard time staying in place, as you can see from the photos. But I don’t care. It’s an awesome dress. And can we stop for a minute to talk about her earrings? Hellooooo. I am slightly obsessed with these earrings, perhaps more than I am obsessed with the gown. It is my contention these are the same earrings she wore with the famous grey dress when she toured Ireland with Prince Albert, so I’ve loved them twice now!

In 2011, just mere weeks after her wedding to Prince Albert, Charlene arrived at the RCB wearing this bright magenta dress and a jaw-dropping necklace. As far as the dress goes, it’s definitely very pretty and I love it, especially the embroidered detail (which does go down the back of the dress). But guys, I can’t stop looking at her jewelry. This necklace is actually not a necklace, but is The Ocean Tiara, one of two tiaras gifted to Charlene from Prince Albert for their wedding (the first was the one that she wore to her wedding reception). This is the only time that Charlene has worn this tiara to a public engagement, so let’s have a good look:

Stunning. It complemented the neckline of her dress very well, and the blue stones in the tiara offset the magenta in a lovely way. With her hair set in vintage-style, Hollywood-glam waves, the entire look was striking.

Moving on…

The following year, Charlene’s winning streak seemed to falter a little when she chose this glamorous, yet strange, gown. The top is so sparkly, metallic, and dark, while the bottom is light and airy. I usually love a good mix for balance purposes, but this just seems like a mismatched design. It also looks like it hits the wrong notes fit-wise, and the silhouette is just unsettling – and it shouldn’t be. Charlene’s figure is too great for a dress to sit wrong on her. I don’t know, is it just me?

In 2013, Charlene got back on track with this cornflower-blue, satin gown. The super-shiny satin does feel a little bridesmaid-y, but I can handle that for the gorgeous color. It matches her eyes so perfectly! The cut is quite flattering and, once again, she chose some stunning earrings.

I need to know where she gets her jewelry. Are these gifts? Were they pieces made especially for her? Who knows. All I know is that they are amazing and I want them, ha!

The 2014 RCB goes down in history, mainly because Charlene was about half-way through her pregnancy with the twins and thus wore a maternity-friendly gown. She looked glowy and stunning in every sense of the word! She donned a black-and-blue, boat-necked Dior that sufficiently complemented her baby bump without making it the center of attention. For me, the star here was the neckline: it was super elegant and drew attention to her fresh, radiant face. Jewelry, hair, makeup, gown: all flawless.

And of course, the most recent RCB dress – the jumpsuit. Say what you will about how great she looks in red, cause it’s all true. When Charlene wears red, she owns it. That being said, I still cringe that this was a jumpsuit and not a dress. Especially looking at the dresses from the past years, this one just flops for me. The color wins, the outfit itself does not. Just my opinion, but I’d love to hear yours!

Now that we’ve gone through all the dresses from the past years and you are sufficiently overwhelmed, which one was your favorite? Did anyone like the Christmas tree dress best? Anyone favor the jumpsuit? I’m always happy to hear opinions that differ from my own, so don’t hold back if you disagree with my thoughts. I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks. Until the next time we see Charlene – or the next time I get bored, ha! – I hope you’re all well and enjoying the last bits of summer!


  1. Hello, this is my list of favorite’s gowns that Charlene wore for the Red Cross Ball, over the last years!
    N° 1: 2011 IMHO Really nro One!
    N° 2: 2013 Lovely color and those earrings, just perfects
    N° 3: 2010 by Armani “the great” haha
    N° 4: 2014 as you said Katie, all flawless
    N° 5: 2009 red IS her color!
    N° 6: 2015 again, red IS her color, but a dress would be better for a ball….
    N° 7: 2008 I think that I actually like that flower
    N° 8: 2012 nice
    N° 9: 2006 not so bad….
    N° 10: 2007 I like it, but not as much as the above mentioned

  2. Katie Coble says:

    Hi Bluma! I love how you’ve rated these gowns by your favorites, that is a great way of approaching this. I can easily see why 2011 would be your favorite – her entire look that night was perfect. I still can’t take my eyes off of that tiara-necklace, every time I see photos it hypnotizes me and I lose my train of thought…Thank you for your thoughts and words, I’m so glad to see you here again!

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