On Wednesday, I attended a really inspiring event at the Swedish Ambassador’s elegant Adam residence; the evening was promoting Livstycket, a not for profit organisation helping Swedish female immigrants, many from war torn countries. The organisation was founded in 1992 by Birgitta Notlöf- a vivacious, energetic and lively lady who gave an impassioned speech at the Residence.
Livstycket is literally translated as ‘bodice’- the garment worn by women throughout the ages both to provide them with warmth and support. The organisation gives women, who arrive in Sweden help with learning the Swedish language, IT skills and general assistance with integration (a serious problem in Sweden for immigrants). The women draw images of their experiences and their sketches and designs are made into patterns by a professional designer. The patterns are printed onto high quality fabrics, made into cushions, tea towels, bags, clothes, you name it- many of which were on display at the Residence, and are available to buy on the Livstycket website. There are some really gorgeous prints and designs- I particularly liked the quirky map of Stockholm with Tensta, a suburb of the city with a high concentration of immigrants, appearing in the heart of Stockholm where frankly very few immigrants live and where Livstycket is based.
Stockholm by Livstycket
Birgitta Notlöf has done some fantastic work and I hope that Livstycket continues to flourish.
Quite an interesting interview with Penelope Cruz in last month’s Swedish Elle. Cruz is currently modelling for Swedish budget clothing company, Lindex; she sounded extremely disintressed in Swedish fashion in the interview. When asked whether she knew anything about Scandinavian fashion, other than the fact that fellow Oscar winners, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon had previously modelled for Lindex, she replied ‘no’- end of topic of conversation…I remember reading a similar interview with Paltrow, when she was modelling for them, and she was far more effusive about Lindex and Scandi fashion in general (but then you would expect Gwynnie to have done her research). In any case, it was quite refreshing to read a non-sycophantic article about a Hollywood ‘A’ lister.
Lindex are a good affordable, casual clothing brand. Personally, I prefer their kiddy section to the adults- some great, smart- casual clothes for the little ones. My one year old has been happily toddling around in their shorts and T-shirts in this hot summer weather.
The summer sales are now on, and I couldn’t resist having a little look around. One of my favourite clothes labels is Swedish brand ACNE, modern with a bit of edge. I have my eye on their Pistol suede ankle boots which were on sale in cobalt blue (a major fashion colour of early 2013) and in a lovely soft, pale beige.
Acne Cobalt blue pistol boot
The boots, which are a maneageable height for walking about in, would look great with skinny jeans but also with shorts or shirts for a summer which is warmish but not quite sandals weather (ie most English summers). The new season boots are in a chestnut brown and black, something to think about for the autumn….Also love the ACNE waffle knit jumpers in a range of colours and a green leather biker jacket which I also spotted on mywardrobe.com
Acne green biker jacket
Another great Scandi brand is Danish By Marlene Birger, who have a store on Marylebone High Street and currently have some very pretty summer clothes- lots of nautical stuff (including stripy Breton tees) and I bought my first ever jumpsuit- silk with anchors all over it- hope to be able to wear it soon. They have some very cute slim, neon belts which would add a pop of colour to a plain dress or skirt and lots of useful singlet tops in different colours. There are also some pretty light summer scarfs. Great browsing to be had.
Just been browsing the Ole Lyngaard website. This Danish, family-run jewellers, founded in 1963, has created some gorgeous, soft, feminine pieces using gold, semi-precious stones and soft, calfskin leather, amongst other materials. Nature seems to be an ongoing theme and the designs are fesh and original. Helena Christensen is currently modelling for them and she looks stunning in the jewellery (having said that she looks stunning in most things). I’ve got my eye on the beautiful filigree ‘lace’ rings, and it being the year of the snake, am also rather partial to a gold snake ring…
Savannah Miller, sister of the pretty, papparazzi magnet Sienna, has launched a line of clothing called Savannah for Swedish online retailer nelly.com. Savannah is a talented designer who got a first class honours degree from Central Saint Martins; she tends to be overshadowed by her sister so, following their joint fashion label Twenty8Twelve, it’s good that she is ploughing her own path in fashion. Savannah is an affordable line of everyday basics- a touch Bohemian, vintage-inspired with some pretty, feminine dresses. Nelly.com has a range of young, fun fashion from a range of brands.
As I sit here wearing my H&M Sarah Lundesque knitted jumper, I hear that Beyoncé is the new face of Swedish brand H&M. The summer campaign shows the singer looking very sultry and beautiful wearing exotic swimwear on a tropical beach (definitely not a Scandi image)! Impressive how well H&M has done since it was founded in 1947, in the little town of Västrås, close to Stockholm, where my mum in fact grew up. H&M is good fashion- up-to-date, affordable and fun; it doesn’t last forever but you don’t really care at that price.