Amsterdam’s Green Fashion Competition had already bagged a celebrity champion in the form of supermodel-activist Lonneke Engel. But the event, now a capstone of the city’s fashion week festivities, took its credentials to the next level Friday, when it welcomed the future queen of the Netherlands to the front row.
Flanked by burly security types, Princess Máxima drew audible gasps of admiration as she took to her vantage point in the Westergasfabriek (Amsterdam’s answer to Bryant Park) dressed in a brown sequined skirt from the Fall 2011 demi-couture collection of Dutch designer Jan Taminiau, a man whose avant-garde creations are more commonly seen on pop princesses like Lady Gaga.
Apart from the occasional appreciative whisper in the ear of Minister Maxime Verhagen of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (which provides the €40,000 prize pot), Máxima didn’t say much during the hour-long show. But a backstage chat with the winners revealed that the former investment banker-turned-princess, who married heir apparent Prince Willem-Alexander in 2002, was right on the money when it came to predicting the evening’s outcome.
Carlien Helmink of Studio JUX, the fair-trade brand that scooped first prize for its chic collection of Nepalese-produced dresses, said, “She [Princess Màxima] was so enthusiastic and even told us that she had expected the jury to choose us as winner.” New Yorker Carrie Parry, who won the Category Two prize for most promising start-up, was also impressed. “Having a real princess witness the unveiling of your designs is pretty much a fairy tale, isn’t it?”