Jan Taminiau – A royally approved fashion designer

The Dutch fashion designer Jan Taminiau at the moment has his own exhibition at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands. “Jan Taminiau. Reflections” has unfortunately already almost come to an end, running from 21 April 2018 to 26 August 2018. After some terribly warm weeks I finally made it to Utrecht last weekend.

Among royalty watchers Jan Taminiau is mainly known for his often wonderful designs for Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. There are however a few other royal ladies who have worn his designs. Queen Mathilde of the Belgians bought a red evening dress from him when she went on a state visit to the Netherlands in November 2016, and Princess Claire of Luxembourg choose a design by him to wear at her civil wedding to Prince Félix in September 2013.

Although I had seen pictures of the exhibition I had no idea how big it would be. I thought the Viktor & Rolf exhibition in Rotterdam looked rather small, but the Jan Taminiau exhibition felt much bigger. Well worth a visit when you like (royal) fashion. I will post later about the four dresses Queen Máxima gave on loan for the exhibition, and designs of other dresses she has worn that can be seen. But first the exhibition itself. And why in Utrecht? It turns out the Centraal Museum already has had work of Jan Taminiau in its collection of fashion (historical, contemporary Dutch and international) since 2012.

Jan Taminiau was born in Goirle, The Netherlands, in 1975. He founded the label JANTAMINIAU in 2004. He is known for his use of traditional handcraft and production techniques, the application of unique and original materials and for his outspoken sense of aesthetics, it says on the first information plate. His designs are elegant, feminine and wearable. Twice a year he gives fashion shows, in the Netherlands and in Spain, where he recently opened a salon.

The exhibition intends to show Jan Taminiau’s most prominent designs and the wealth and depth of his work. He made his own selection from his oeuvre, but there are also some brand new designs on display. You’re taken on a journey into the way the fashion designer is seeing, his ideas and it also tells the story behind the dresses. Art director Maarten Spruyt has been responsible for designing the exhibition. After lots of dresses and other clothing the exhibition ends with some lovely wedding gowns, and totally at the end some examples of garments he has worked with.

Overall I thought the exhibition to be very interesting. As they have three time slots in the beginning it is really busy. If you wait a bit before really starting – as long as you’re inside in time you can take your time – it is getting better. You can do a tour on their website (Dutch and English), for which you need a smartphone – your own! pity for people who don’t have one themselves, at least they provided a head phone. I tried to make it work, which I did, but I didn’t find it very easy to navigate through it, so I gave up pretty soon. Taking pictures and trying to listen to a tour is not very easy anyway.

A pity that of course you’re not allowed to touch the garments, as they are fragile and unique. Throughout the exhibition there have been workshops and evenings with Jan Taminiau himself. I would have liked some more merchandise in the shop tough. All I saw was the exhibition book. Or maybe postcards were already sold out?

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