The great stories of royal clothes. Maxima from the Netherlands, a royal blue dress to become a queen
The Queen Beatrice for a year he had been thinking of leaving the throne to his son. After thirty-three years at the head of the Dutch monarchy he had decided that it was time to leave the scepter to the younger generations. The news of theabdication (which in the Netherlands is not an unmentionable matter) was broadcast live on January 28, 2013: the following April 30, the date on which the traditional Queen’s day, the sovereign would pass the baton to the eldest son Guglielmo Alessandro and his wife Maxima, that Argentine woman who in 1999 had bewitched a young prince on holiday in Seville.
If a country can only rejoice in the face of such an event, there is an industry that trembles when such an announcement arrives. Tension in the fashion houses dear to Maxima, the ones that had helped to forge his style, also appreciated on an international scale. However, in February of that year only one telephone rang: it was that of Jan Taminiau, a stylist originally from the province of Brabant, from Goirle to be precise, a fellow countryman of Victor & Rolf who, unlike the creative duo, had already had the opportunity to provide their services not only to the Dutch royal but also to Lady Gaga e Beyoncé.
But now the designer no longer had to dress a princess but his role was to deliver a queen to history. And he did it with a blue dress like a bright night sky covered with stars. The dress was made even more intense and solemn by a cloak that, seen in motion, seemed to give Maxima the powers of a superheroine with a head encircled by a sapphire-encrusted tiara.
When we started talking about the great royal dress stories we started from Coronation dress of the Queen Elizabeth. In 1953 there was Norman Hartnell to take care of the load of symbolism that the coronation dress of the English sovereign regent must have: after sixty years, for the queen consort Maxima there is a tailor who experiences each creation as a work of art and which focuses entirely on the color to match the king’s ermine on the day of his investiture to recreate the suggestions of the Dutch flag.
In this cycle of stories we have explored, not only the most important of ceremonies for a royal house, but also engagements like the one in Giorgio Armani white suit by Letizia Ortiz with Philipee Grace Kelly’s princely Christian Dior dress for the first time in the guise of future bride of Rainier of Monaco. As for the royal family, we have found all the details related to the famous Elvis dress in Diana but we also dealt with Kate e Meghan: of the first we have described the relationship that binds her with Jenny Packham while we investigated the second the reasons that led her to choose an Oscar de la Renta dress at a scheduled event on the Australian tour. Contemporary royalty are well aware of the importance of fashion sustainability: they teach us Mary of Denmark with hers burgundy dress e Victoria of Sweden who dusted off a Nina Ricci from her mother Silvia for the Nobel Prizes. Between one ceremony and another, there is also space for the street style and to do so we could only take the most irreverent of the British duchesses as a model: Sarah Ferguson, the Sloane Ranger who knew how to fly.
Maxima and Guglielmo Alessandro had given a television interview a few weeks before the big day. If the judgments about the future king were rather lukewarm, the approval rating for his wife was skyrocketing. It didn’t matter to the Dutch that she was originally from Argentina. When the press began to follow the deeds of the two lovers, in fact the fact that she was born in Buenos Aires was the lesser of the problems of the then blonde bank executive with a brilliant career started in New York.
Maxima’s surname is Zorreguieta and his father Jorge was Minister of Agriculture under the Videla dictatorship. His birthplace jeopardized the union but the prince’s blonde girlfriend was first enough to rinse the designer clothes in Amstel, learning the language perfectly while the next step, when the going got tough, it was necessary to repudiate the family at least in public engagements such as marriage.
For the wedding celebrated on February 2, 2002, the bride showed up with a mikado silk dress by Valentino, the maison of her heart which, however, could not have dressed her even when she became queen. For that occasion, someone who was genuine Dutch was needed.
It took her a while to become a style champion Maxima. At the beginning it was more instinctive and she too committed some slips, like that time when for Queen’s Day in 2004 she put on a skimpy denim jacket that instead of playing down the outfit, had made it tragic in the eyes of experts ( that jacket is now in the closet of the daughters who are beginning to loot – rightly so – the infinite wardrobe of the mother).
Unlike her “colleagues” from the other ruling houses, it seems that Maxima doesn’t have a stylist but take care of her look yourself. There are those who have seen her around the shops but it is more likely that someone who is defined in the environment as a will work for her mistery shopper.
Initial frills aside, its reference brand is Natan: the brand most loved by royals of Benelux however, it is based in Brussels. Among the blogs of real fashion enthusiasts, someone had already bet on Jan Taminiau, a signature that had accompanied the princess with great class in many official appointments. Sequins, geometries, embroidery, precious fabrics and shades are the elements around which the talent of the designer who founded his brand (name and surname all attached) in 2003 revolves, specializing the following year in high fashion.
The first time Maxima chose a Taminiau garment was in 2009 at the opening of the Arnhem Fashion Biennial. To attend the event that every two years showcases the promises of design and fashion in the place where the academy that formed the designer born in 1975 stands, the princess showed off a patriotic jacket made with postal bags with the Dutch flag . With all due respect to Maxima, Jan Taminiau’s real coup was landed in 2010, the year Lady Gaga was spotted in the streets of Paris in a sculptural white dress with a rather daring neckline creating the case. In 2011, the designer created the outfits for the artist’s video You and I and in 2004 also Beyoncé turned to him for a leotard to put on the poster promoting his fourth album. The pop, however, was perhaps not in his strings. When also Rihanna went to knock on his door, he preferred to become the trusted tailor of what would one day become his queen.
In his small atelier in the red light district of Amsterdam, he imagined himself more an artist than the creative director of a fashion house recognized internationally but that would have prevented him from creating the clothes by hand, as was done in the past. What Taminiau does is designed more to end up in a museum than on the catwalks and red carpets.
As a boy, the designer, due to his dyslexia, had lived his childhood preferring to observe rather than throw himself into the fray. This allowed him to fuel his vivid imagination, aided by his family background. His grandmother was an antique dealer and he got lost in all the junk collected in the cellar. With the first recovered fabrics, she made the princess dresses that she made her sister wear on their afternoons of games.
Jan Taminiau had been preparing for that phone call for a lifetime. In February 2013 he had just presented his latest collection in the Dutch ambassador’s residence in Paris calling it Tranquil Image. The request for an appointment overlapped with the news ofabdication of Queen Beatrix. For Jan everything is clear: he is the chosen one. To the Dutch edition of It he will confess that at that moment he felt “extremely happy and proud”.
«I was particularly honored that Princess Máxima had chosen me»Reads the magazine« for me it was a moment in which history and future met ». Taminiau says that brainstorming was done with the future queen to understand where to start. For the rest he had free rein for a job that had to be carried out in great secrecy. Discretion, as always happens in these cases, is perhaps the main requirement. His only thought was how to make her as beautiful as possible, while at the same time putting her at ease: he knew that the spotlight of the world would be on her.
He and his team of 80 people worked non-stop in those few weeks. In the last collection there was a dress blue royal and Taminiau couldn’t wait to introduce him to Maxima. There is a lot of creativity in that color that is achieved by overlapping two layers of fabric, the silk crepe below and the chiffon on top thus obtaining a vibrant and deep feeling, far from flat. In spite of what one might think, the combination with the sapphire parure came later even if it is all perfectly coordinated, also considering that even Queen Juliana in 1948 wore a blue dress for her coronation which, with the mantle of ermine white and red, became a tribute to the flag.
The tight-fitting dress is very feminine thanks to the embroidery made by one of the best laboratories in the industry. Those transparency motifs almost look like tattoos on the skin but it was an official press release that explained the reference: it was a tribute to Delft pottery. One of Taminiau’s goals was to create a friction between the apparent fragility of the dress and the majesty of the cloak which he shrugged, giving the ensemble more authority. That detail could seem masculine was softened by the strap that gave grace to the royal outfit.
The blue dress of the investiture ceremony of Guglielmo Alessandro is not the only one made for the occasion. After the various celebrations, for Maxima – now queen – another change of dress was planned for a boat trip to the canals of Amsterdam and for the evening reception. The hand that designed this very delicate creation of lace, swarovski and garlands embroidered with red flowers is also by Jan Taminiau.
The partnership between the queen and her tailor continues today: for Taminiau Maxima she is truly a muse. He continues with his collections, recently he also threw himself into ready to wear dreaming of bringing some of her magic into everyday women’s lives. He buys prizes and is revered by the press of his country even if, we must admit, it is little known in these latitudes.
It must also be said that perhaps there is no market for it here a heavyweight like the queen of the Netherlands may be enough, if only to fulfill his childhood dreams. “As a stylist, my goal is to create the definitive dress, every time, and every time again”. As long as he is in Maxima’s favor, it will not be difficult for him to reach him.