16 September 2015

Royal Event of the Day: September 16

Yesterday was Prinsjesdag, or Prince's Day, when King Willem-Alexander addresses the Dutch parliament to outline the government's plans for the coming session. It's definitely my favorite royal September event, because who doesn't love a good government speech delivered in a language you don't speak? (Me! Me!) (Not me.) No, my true love is an old dress code that allows for a little flair in the sartorial department, and when you combine that with Queen Máxima, you never know what you'll get.

But you do know that she'll give you something to talk about, and we need to talk about this dress. It's from Jan Taminiau, and it is hand-painted silk organza accented with different types of embroidery and beading, all inspired by the Japanese room at Huis ten Bosch Palace. Having a dress made in the theme of a room from one of your many residences should really be the dictionary definition of couture.

The Prinsjesdag dress code is a sort of court dress, which was once much more popular for royal events but survives here in the form of long gowns, sashes, and hats for the royal ladies. It means that there's always a fine line to walk between dressing for a day event, which this is (hence no tiaras), and an evening event, for which most of these dresses were really made. Máxima walks the line every year, but this might be the closest she's come to pure eveningwear territory. 

Certainly the fact that she opted for a subtle floral headpiece (you can't see it here, alas) instead of a hat is causing some of that, but I think the larger reason is that this dress is very clearly designed for the tiara events it will see after this day is done. Most of her Prinsjesdag dresses do turn up at state banquets and other tiara occasions later on, after all. I'll be curious to see which jewels she'll pair with it in the future, after her interesting berry picks this time around. In the mean time, I think we have another contender for Máxima's best of the year.

The King's brother, Prince Constantijn, and his wife, Princess Laurentien, also attend Prinsjesdag.
You also never know what you'll get with Laurentien, and, well, I sure wouldn't have bet on a green zigzagged knit with cape sleeves. The dress is by Hardies, and she paired it with emerald and diamond jewels, a pair of earrings previously worn by Máxima, her Order of the House of Orange sash, and a beige hat.
She always keeps it interesting, you have to love her for that. Even when not a one of those interesting things goes with any of those other interesting things.

Photos: via Getty Images and NOS screencaps