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.
Today is the last day of the art fair Masterpiece, held at Chelsea Royal Hospital, London’s closest thing to Maastricht. I meandered over on Thursday with a friend who works in Christie’s jewellery department; some gorgeous jewellery on show. The Scandinavian paintings were a bit of a slim picking- the odd nineteenth century piece at a couple of London and New York dealers. However, we did spot the newly married, Princess Madeleine wandering around with her hubby, Chris- on the hunt for a few pieces for their marital home perhaps…
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.
I have just returned from a couple of days in Skagen, located at the end of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, it is the highest point of continental Europe. I went with a group of friends and we walked along the beach at Grenen (the twig), the junction where the two seas, Skagerrak and Kattegat, meet. I ran out into the sea at the tip so that that for a few moments I could be the person standing at the northern most point of Continental Europe- childish but fun!
Skagen is beautiful- most famous for its stunning Nordic light, at the end of the nineteenth century it became a gathering point for artists (the well known Skagen painters). The artists congregated at Brøndums hotel, then run by the parents of the painter Anna Ancher. We stayed at Brøndums- the old hotel is simple and charming but has no ensuite bathrooms. Degn Brøndum thought that running water and hot baths were unnecessary, and said, I quote ‘since the hotel was only 200 metres away from the beach. When swimming in the ocean was good enough for him, then why should it not be for others as well?’
Liking our creature comforts, we stayed in the modern section but had a delicious dinner in the restaurant in the main building- the chefs took their food very seriously, and the local fish was delicious. My only complaint is that on the evening we arrived c.10.30pm, we asked whether we could have a drink or something to eat. NOTHING was available not even a cup of tea, which did not feel welcoming. Scandinavia really need to up their customer service. We wandered off to find a drink and snack in the nearest pub. Anyhow back in the nineteenth century, the many artists who came to stay at Brøndums used to give portraits and paintings to Mr and Mrs Brøndum as a means of payment for their stay. These portraits covered the walls of the oak pannelled dining room. They have now been moved to the Skagen Museum but copies remain at Brøndums.
The Skagen Museum is a delight-full of serious paintings by Peder Severin Krøyer, Anna and Michael Ancher and Marie Krøyer. Amongst them was the stunning A summer evening on the South Beach at Skagen by Krøyer depicting his wife, Marie and her friend Anna Ancher, strolling along the beach in elegant white Edwardian dresses. The undulating curves of the shoreline are a subtle reference to the Art Nouveau fashions of the time and the soft pastel light of the early evening is utterly breathtaking- what a gorgeous painting.
Peder Severin Krøyer, A summer evening on the South Beach at Skagen.
We had a fabulous guide at the museum and I realised how complicated the lives of these Skagen artists was- affairs, madness, envy, unrequited love- it is all there- a little Bloomsbury…. I am going to read a biography about the beautiful, sophisticated but ultimately unhappy Marie, who sounds fascinating.
We hired bikes in Skagen which were perfect for getting around- the cycle paths along the sea front were gorgeous. We cycled to the old part of Skagen to the medieval ‘Sand Church’ which started sinking, owing to sanddrifts, in the eighteenth century. We stopped for a delicious lunch at Hyttefadet, run by the Lundum family, who previously owned Lundum’s the best Danish restaurant in London which us Londoners sorely miss! The Pariserbof, a minced beef served with capers, egg yolk, pickles and beetroot, is to die for. Sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee and nibbling on homemade Kranserkrage– life doesn’t get much better!