Milan: Move over Victoria Beckham, there is a new WAG on the fashion block. Winonah de Jong, wife of AC Milan's Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, says she is realising a "little girl's dream" after making the leap from blogging about fashion to designing her own line of clothes.
Nigel de Jong with wife Winonah
Some may suspect a vanity project, an overspill from the surplus millions splashing around in football, and the bombastic publicity material for the launch of the "Winonah" line at Milan fashion week does nothing to dispel scepticism. The Surinam-born 34-year-old is described as an "exotic beauty with an innate sense of style" as well as a "Dutch celebrity, style icon, trendsetter and social media star".
The description of her new line might make you think it is aimed exclusively at WAGs —Wives and Girlfriends, the dismissive term coined in Britain for the usually glamorous partners of millionaire footballers.
The collection is, they say, one that "doesn't shy away from daring colours, cuts, openings and captivating transparencies, or unexpected slits for a stunning red carpet arrival".
In person however, Milan's newest designer could not seem further removed from the caricature of an egotistical, empty-headed footballer's wife. She likes dressing up and admits her evening wear will be beyond most people's reach.
"But I am also quite tomboyish and I am a mother. Sometimes I just want to wear jeans and a T-shirt. I think you will find something for everyone in the collection."
Winonah says her husband influenced her decision to take the plunge. "He is the one who said, 'you need to do it. It is your dream'," Winonah told AFP at the Milan showroom, where she is showcasing the small "capsule" collection with which she has launched her company. The mother of two graduated from a Dutch fashion college, albeit having specialised in retail management and textiles rather than design.
Husband Nigel's 2012 switch from Manchester City to AC Milan put Winonah in reach of the support she needed. "I met the right people, I met the right manufacturer and now the dream has come to reality," she said.
Meanwhile, de Jong himself is quite a successful businessman with a luxury car dealership in Hamburg — a business he acquired in his early 20s when playing for the German club. So, does he advise his wife on finances? "Sometimes... but she doesn't take it," he said.