Take the key grandmother and teach me your closet, with wonderful things and so beautiful that guards you ...

My grandmother was a beautiful and distinguished woman. I love to see it in photos of bygone days with their gowns or charleston style, their hats and many other accessories that looked elegantly. They tell me that at the time was a leader in fashion within their social circle. So Imagine me singing that song for years Cri Cri and amaze me with all the things you could get from your closets. I was fascinated when I left to prove something and model it in the mirror. How I wish I could keep doing it!

Van Loon family

The desire to preserve and display these treasures stored in the closets is not limited to a few. They have also done in other countries and in other circumstances. This time I mean the Netherlands and the Van Loon family.

If we go back to 1602, Willem van Loon was one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company (VOC by its Dutch acronym), the first multinational company in the world that played an important role in forging the wealth of this kingdom . Years later his grandson was mayor of Amsterdam. But it was in the nineteenth century that the family had its own golden age.


I could tell from the marriage of M. J. Hendrik van Loon (1831-1901) with Louisa C. A. Borski (1832-1893) in 1854. He, banker, he represented the Dutch aristocracy. In turn she made a huge fortune to the family. The combination was beneficial for both. As members of the nobility, they were referenced in the social life of Amsterdam.

In 1884 his eldest son, Willem Hendrik (1855-1935), banker, married ThoraEgidius (1865-1945), daughter of the Norwegian consul in Amsterdam. As a wedding gift gave them a house located in one of the most important channels of the capital, Keizersgracht 672. Thora became an important chaperone of Queen Wilhelmina. They imagine that their social life was very active and that their position, fortune and good taste, their outfits, acquired both in the Netherlands and Paris, marking the local fashion.

Maurits van Loon, grandson of the couple, was who in 1973 opened to the public the doors of your home, allowing us access to which has been the residence of the family for over a century and through it know who they have inhabited.


The museum

A walk through its halls allows us to imagine the life of the wealthy people in those times.

I met him when I came to live in Holland. What high ceilings, marble and wood floors, carpets, elegant staircase, garden care and garages speak of the wealth of those who have lived there.

There are so many interesting details in its architecture that allow us to meet even the old ways. As the kitchen was in the basement so as not to contaminate the house with aromas; that to not affect the symmetry of the rooms, the bathrooms were placed on ledges of the building to the garden; the shelves of the library are hidden by what appears to be a wall or the stairs to the top floor occupy a "secret passage".

Van Loon fashion

If you like sewing and fashion, this is a small but very interesting exhibition that took me to walk the halls and rooms of the house in the company of RosalieSloof, curator of temporary shows that, through clothing, gloves, fans and other women's accessories, men's suits and gala shows us the tastes of the members of this family.

It all starts in the Blue Room, the most important of the house, with huge full body portrait of Louisa van Loon-Borski, standing, dressed in a green dress(green formal dresses), embroidered velvet, in 1887. The painting is the brush one of the best painters of the time, Alexandre Cabanel. At the foot of the portrait, dress, like new, with a significant change, we reduced the queue to use it in less lavish events.


To the left of the fireplace, also a portrait full body who was the first lady of the house, Thora van Loon-Egidius, sitting, with a long and delicate dress in shades of pink and a huge pearl necklace. At the foot of the portrait, a dress very similar to that used in 1909 when she posed for the painter Adolf Pirsch.

To the right of the fireplace, full body portrait of her husband, Hendrik Willem van Loon, also of 1909 and the same artist. We see it with a simple but elegant black suit three pieces and tie. They say that to him the sophistications of the court and not cared only luxury was the gold chain on his watch.

Thora received his friends in a small room overlooking the garden. There we find the bodice of her wedding dress and matching jacket waisted, perhaps used during the religious ceremony and took off for the party. An interesting detail is that in an internal reinforcement is engraved with golden letters the name of the workshop that drew up, MaisonCuper located in Rue St. Honoré in Paris.

In a first floor room with the curtains closed to protect from light, is the dress Thora wore the day of the wedding of Queen Wilhelmina in 1901. The workshop MaisonPaquin, one of the best in Paris, came this set of ecru silk, consists of a bustier with matching skirt tail, all embroidered by hand. Well worth admiring.


I found it very interesting that MaisonDior had an agreement with major fashion houses in other European capitals to make some dresses(formal dresses) or suits with patterns and fabrics. Same quality but hand clients. One of them commissioned Yvonne van den BeerPoortugael-Loonen 1958. Dandy, white, strapless neckline with three large wine-colored ribbons in the queue.

It is also the sight of the dress she wore Martine van Loon-Labouchere during the enthronement ceremony of King Willem-Alexander in 2013. She was Lady of Company of Queen Beatrix and that was his last day of service to the Royal House. pale, Dutch couturier Frans Molenaar, made of blue silk damask. Very discreet.

As you can see from these examples, the Van Loon are a family that keeps moving in the upper echelons of society and their wives have influenced the Dutch fashion throughout the centuries.