Fall 2008 Fashion Week: Iceland's Steinunn Wows with Nature-Inspired Fashion from Another Era
(Hand)made in the shade of lava, ice, snow and sunsets tinged with an eerily chilly orange hue, STEiNUNN - who has previously worked at Calvin Klein Collection, CK, Tom Ford & La Perla (as Design Director) - showed a collection of high-necked wool dresses, sheer delicate blouses peeping out from slim black suits and jackets, boldly cut wool coats and idiosyncratic shaggy cloche caps. (For a video of the show & our interview with the designer, CLICK HERE - videos are on the left-hand side; just click the arrow icon to push play.)
A thin 18-gage merino wool was fashioned into second-skin leggings and sweaters worn beneath the heavier, more sculptured outer layers; a long black coat crafted from the densest wool and black fox skirt looked anything but heavy. The assortment of layered ruffle capelet-top frocks and chiffon ankle-length skirts (which the designer compared to the rough-hewn texture of lava), and taffeta touches - an elegant steel-grey car coat - and puffy cocoon-like shrug - were all, as usual, amazing.
Her pre-dominantly black and grey palette was punctuated by the occasional rich blood-orange and touches of lush fox (a yummy grey shrug and black flapper'esque miniskirt). Fine knits were molded, ruffled and layered like clay, while chiffon was printed with perch-inspired patterns to resemble a swathe of
shimmering fish skin. Inspired by the crochet work of local Icelandic crafter Hildur Bjarnadottir, what looked like wool fringe turned out upon closer inspection to be looped fabric, as did vertical rows of "ruffles" rendered in different fabrics. Other interesting touches included cuts of intricate, unexpected "origami," and even a knitted re-imagining of the Icelandic national costume. "I first learned how to knit when I was 9 years old," explains the designer who is still an avid knitter. "As a designer, knitwear is my greatest passion. I love to make it do things you don't expect."
Combining a sense of 1920s modernity, a Viking warrior, and the hide of a beast - simultaneously! - the clothing evoked the era of daguerreotypes, when people lived more somber, formal lives. (The striking Mary Ellen Mark photos of the collection had the unfamiliar effect of making you actually wonder about the inner life of the model.) "When the weather here is really, really bad - when the roads are dangerous and everything outside is this cold, blinding chaoes, I find myself getting bolder and bolder in what I want to say. The clothing that comes out of me often reflects this physchological and even spiritual need to stand up to the elements. This collection is the most complete expression of my vision to date: textured, architectural, barbaric, feminine."
More at Steinunn.com.
For our complete Fall 2008 Fashion Week coverage, CLICK HERE.
- Lesley Scott
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