Nordic fashion is here, and time's up for that French "je ne sais quoi..." Or so say the experts. Here are five Scandinavian luxury brands that are taking the fashion world by storm.
The fashion style ‘Scandi’ comes from two mysterious concepts. One is Hygge, of Danish origin: a philosophy that uses the tangible – a good cup of coffee, candles – and the intangible – like the pleasure of being at home drinking wine with friends – to describe the feeling of well-being. And the other is Lagom, more or less the Swedish equivalent: an idea that alludes to a balanced and happy life (the word itself means ‘moderation’).
Now the ideas of Lagom and Hygge are being incorporated into the fashion sphere. We’re not talking warm wool socks, although those are essentials, but a luxe fashion style that incorporates comfort into the well-designed “functionality and minimalism” aesthetic for which Scandinavia is known.
“Scandi style,” as it’s called, is so sought-after that fashion editors who sit in the front rows of Prada and Fendi runways in Milan, or at Chanel and Hermès showrooms in Paris, are also making a point of showing up at Copenhagen and Helsinki Fashion weeks. They’re also following the musings of Scandinavian fashion influencers like Pernille Teisbaek, author of bestselling book Dress Scandinavian: Style your Life and Wardrobe the Danish Way.
So, what is Scandi style and how is it different from Parisian nonchalance and Milanese statement dressing? In a way, it’s a mix of the two with a “feel good” factor as an added essential ingredient (Parisian nonchalance, let’s admit, does not always include a high level of comfort – Milanese stilettos don’t either). This comfort first comes via luxurious natural fabrics: wools and organic cottons.
Sustainability and longevity are also key, combined with master tailoring that is cooly worn. All of this is mixed in with a bit of playfulness: for as much as Scandinavians are known for neutrals, they do love to mix and match prints and colors.
Here are five key labels to help you master minimalist but sartorial Scandi dressing:
The Stockholm based brand was launched in 2005 by sisters Kristina Tjäder, Sofia Wallenstam, and Karin Söderlind. House of Dagmar is known for its statement knitwear with architecturally-inspired silhouettes that give pieces an experimental look while still maintaining a certain minimalist, polished sensibility.
Sustainability and longevity are crucial; proponents of ethical luxury that is a key to Scandi chic is at the forefront for the brand. Animal-friendly fur, mulesing-free merino wool, organic cotton and regenerated cashmere are just a few examples of the green fabrics they use. Local deliveries are even made on bike.
The Copenhagen-born jewelry designer is a new darling of the European fashion crowd who love her bold, minimalist pieces that are hand made using centuries-old goldsmith techniques. Her designs are inspired by family memories and the streets Copenhagen; each collection tells a story.
Her single earrings that curve along the line of the ear in a row of graduating diamonds, or pearls, have become an instant classic for a new generation of jewelry lovers. Her name is set to stretch further afield: Bille Brahe has just teamed up on a collection with the renowned minimal Danish design label Georg Jensen, known for its modernist silverware. The two collaborated to create the 19-piece Halo collection inspired by the light of Scandinavia. It includes gold and diamond hoop earrings, an 18-karat diamond ring, and tiny hoop pendant necklace.
The Oslo-based company started in 2012 when the Holzweiler family launched a collection of luxury scarves in cashmere and silk wool blends. In 2014, the brand expanded by launching its own clothing line. Though Scandi dressing is known for a minimalist sensibility, mixing prints and colors is a Scandinavian insider secret—Holzweller does this in beautiful ways while still telegraphing out messages of ease and luxury.
The collections are shown at Copenhagen Fashion Week and feature basics that combine ideas of streetwear, luxury, nature, and Scandinavian Romanticism into cohesive, artful and future-minded attire.
This brand is worn by the Crown Princess of Denmark and the Duchess of Cambridge. The company recently appointed ex-Mulberry womenswear head Matilde Torp Mader, who had done spells at Marni and Sonia Rykiel, as its creative director.
Her inaugural collections for the brand features wearable classic clothes in luxurious fabrics. Crocheted effects on a tunic dress or top add an urban edge to the look, while handcrafted appliqués offer more evidence of fine detailing.
Finnish textile designer Maija Arela and her daughters have created a brand known for luxurious, cool and casual cashmeres and cotton jerseys. The brand’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection was fully on trend features with signature touches.
They played on the pants suit trend set to be big this fall, with relaxed knits, and did gorgeous color block combinations for sweaters and skirts, including a delicious combination of strong mustard and soft pink, as an example. ■
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