Jantaminiau Haute Couture

Since launching his first collection JANTAMINIAU in 2003, Jan Taminiau’s designs have received glowing reviews and international acclaim. From showcasing his latest designs during Haute Couture week in Paris to being worn by, none other than, international style icon Lady GaGa in her latest hit music video, ‘You and I.’ Such Gaga glory has garnered the designer over 9,700,000 views alone so far. Known for her brave, extravagant and often highly provocative style, Gaga has worn everything from pieces of meat to plastic bubbles. Taminiau’s experimental use of cork poses another box for Lady Gaga to tick off in her eccentric and wonderful wardrobe.

As a person, Jan Taminiau is refreshingly modest, unassuming and level-headed. As a designer, his skill is pure, raw and untainted by society’s consumerist, increasingly sex-driven direction. At the heart of his designs are notions of purity and beauty. Having watched his recent show at Paris Fashion Week, it is evident that Taminiau’s forte as a designer lies in his seemingly natural power to manipulate materials and his innate ability to conceive designs which are not simply beautiful or evocative pieces, but art forms in their own right.

Born in the Netherlands in 1975, the Dutch, self-described ‘artisan’ has been coined the next big haute couture designer by a number of leading fashion critics. Jan Taminiau’s design career first received recognition on an international scale in 2005 after he exhibited his Mailbag Collection at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Prior to this, Jan Taminiau studied at the Academy of Art in Arnhem and completed a master’s programme at the Fashion Institute of Arnhem in 2003. After completing his studies, Taminiau took on traineeships in Paris with Olivier Theyskens, Hubert Barrere, the corsetier of Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Madonna, during which time he developed his strong affiliation with romantic styles. Previous collections include ‘Equilibre,’ ‘Reflections’ and ‘Polstak.’ In October 2008, Jantaminiau launched his first pret-a-porter collection which came into stores, under the name of ‘Passe-Partout,’ in 2009.

In 2012, the Jantaminiau label is set to enter into an alliance with World Horticulture Expo, Floriade 2012. Taking his designs even higher into the public eye, he takes on the task of creating five unique designs for the Expo and organising the Floriade Fashion Week in May 2012. The two brands will make an interesting alliance as both represent ‘Dutch icons’ with international appeal. Like Floriade, Jan Taminiau shares a passion for culture, nature, quality and sustainability as well as timeless expressions of contemporary beauty. Many of Jan Taminiau’s design have been known for incorporating recycled materials, showing huge respect for nature and the environment.

Designing since 2004, Jan Taminiau believes in a return to traditional craftsmanship and prefers to move away from the synthetic concepts of mass production. ‘I leave the fast-moving and fickle world to return to what is nowadays almost a nostalgic source: security, respect for craftsmanship and an awareness towards the importance of transience forms the make-up of his creations.

XXXX Magazine had the chance to cover Jan Taminiau’s 7th collection at Paris Fashion Week entitled Nature Extends. Transporting his audience into a fantastical natural world, 7ft tall heeled models appeared as part human creations, born from the undergrowth of a mythical forest. Soft, metal chimes rang and echoed as flashing, branch-like lights dropped down from the ceiling and lit the room to create a dim, mysterious atmosphere. The models walked across the stage in a bird-like manner with glowing eyes, appearing like sirens in their golden wonder.

Taminau’s latest collection beautifully merged art with fashion creating other-worldly creatures of fantasy and beauty. Spiralling flowers blossomed, forming high, intricate collars around the models’ necks. Legs appeared covered with a supple, cork-like material. The models wore sky-high, heel-less platforms which gave them hoof-like shaped feet as if they were a creature of mythology, a centaur come to life. Nature Extends pushed the boundaries of wearable materials by incorporating cork. Other pieces were steeped with shimmering, gold to silver fading sequins. The dress that added an ultimate sense of grandeur to the collection was the floor-length silver-yellow toned dress with feathery details and magnificent wing-like shoulders.  Romantic and dramatic all at once, Nature Extends wonderfully moulded itself out of the other-worldly origin from which the inspiration from the collection was conceived. It left the audience positively inspired by the beauty and creativity of the collection which seemed more suited to the stage of an opera or in a museum than worn in real life.

Indira Cesarine interviewed the much appraised designer-of-the-moment backstage after his latest Haute Couture Show…

IC: Can you tell me about the collection and the inspiration for the show?

JT: The inspiration of the show was extending nature and what would happen if we could extend nature more because we can do more, like we could do more with cloning or plastic surgery and all these kind of things. What is the story, what would happen if I could do anything? That is why we had all the muscle tones showing. What would happen if we took off the skin? What is underneath would show. The same idea is behind the boot straps which looked like animal legs that grow out of you. It is so beautiful so that is why we used all of these materials – it is all tall, long and proud.

IC: There seemed to be some shapes of birds and elements of trees, what exactly was the material that you used because it had a bit of a wood/cork-esque kind of feel to it?

JT: Yes it was cork, we boiled it and made strips out of it and re-attached it again to get this whole woody kind of feel and we made these flowers to get the whole, I don’t know what it is in English but you have these really beautiful flowery shrubs growing against the trees so those elements we all used and mixed up for the collection.

IC: It is a stunning collection, there were lots of beautiful golden tones, was there anything behind that?

JT: I had these beautiful golden nails we used that came from the gold tones of the sun and nature. When the sun hits gold it lights up beautifully and is just such a stunning colour. We used an aged gold which on the long dress went from silver into brightening gold tones and the short dress also, slowly tonally moved up to gold.  It is the same as morphing – one colour becomes the next until it all becomes one.

IC: This collection was very different from your last collection with the grey, woollen pieces. Was there any reason why it has such a different feel? The visual direction and the colour palette has more of a fantasy effect, and seems a lot more romantic in this collection, can you tell me about that?

JT: The last collection had also the fairy-tale but the fairy-tale was more about the whole world we are in. You can’t not be physical anymore so that was what I really wanted to show there but because that is a really harsh and scary thing. In the sense that you are not able to be visible, we had all of the covering of the faces and platforms in a more fragile shape and all the heavy material was glowing or reflecting in the dark so you would always be visible, so more or less, it has the same basis. What I find so intriguing in the vulnerability of being in the now and being visible everywhere and knowing you are visible or knowing you are not visible so you are kind of like a bird – hunted in a way by the camera. Very interesting feeling. What I like about being in the now is that anything can happen. What I find interesting as a designer is trying to visualise or entreat the dialogue to where it could go or where we are going and how we can cope with that or not.

Where Art, Fashion & Culture Collide

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