Fashion

05.03.13

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Is a New Style Icon

On Tuesday, the Dutch people celebrated the coronation of Willem-Alexander and Máxima, king and queen of the Netherlands. Erin Cunningham on the new monarch’s already-distinctive style.

With the abdication of Queen Beatrix on Tuesday, the Dutch have a new queen—and a new fashion icon, as well.

Meet the Argentinean-born Máxima, whose husband, Willem-Alexander, officially took control of the Dutch throne this week. Born in Buenos Aires, Máxima studied economics, which led her to an investment banking position at Deutsche Bank and later to a job as the U.N. secretary-general's special advocate for inclusive finance.

Máxima, 41, is a tall, statuesque blonde, with charming good looks. “She has this Latin charisma and an amazing smile that have made her extremely popular," said Edouard Vermeulen, creative director of Belgian fashion house Natan (whose custom-made design Máxima wore during the inauguration). "She was born for the role."

As royal historian Han van Bree describes her, "She is exotic, she has passion and sparkle and flamboyance, and she doesn't try to be distant like Beatrix. We love her for that; people can feel the authenticity.”

As reported by BBC’s Anna Holligan, the first time she met the then-princess was when she was in a wet suit, swimming the canals of Amsterdam. “Her willingness to brave the city's freezing waters for charity is symbolic of a character that has captured the Dutch imagination.”

Now, as queen consort, Máxima may be refining her look. During the inauguration, her style was admired by not only her country's citizens but those of an international stage as well. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, her red-tiered Valentino gown (with a hint of flamenco), the pale-pink satin Natan evening dress adorned with an oversized bow, and her beaded and laced royal blue column gown were everything her fashion followers could have hoped for. 

Since officially taking the throne, her outfit selections, both past and present, have gained international recognition, not unlike similar power players Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.

Celebrated for her bold-colored ensembles and knack for accessorizing (with a plethora of chandelier earrings and glamorous hats), what's impressive about Máxima is not only her ability to balance royalty with motherhood, but rather her continued aptitude in styling outrageous yet sophisticated ensembles. From the long-sleeved ivory Valentino she wore at her wedding to a series of jumpsuits, elaborate fascinators, and single-soled heels, the difficulty of juggling her royal duties has certainly not hindered Máxima's elegance.

As a mother to three daughters, Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane, Máxima has passed her style down to the next generation. (All three girls also wore Natan at the inauguration.) The girls’ matching yellow dresses and floral headbands were reminiscent of Jackie O. and Michelle Obama’s children, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“She's undoubtedly a woman of our times," said Vermeulen. "She's active, enjoys fashion as well as her role in the family and the nation.” Being a mother, queen, and now, an international style icon, Máxima is a triple threat—and certainly a fashion force to be reckoned with.