A drop of Swedish cool with your American pie? YLC in-house fashionista Victoria Hussey on the blossoming romance between cool Stockholm and vibrant New York City.
Ah, New York, New York. Coffee shops, hot dog stands, slick city types and brawny American muscle cars roaring through the streets… hmmm, sound familiar? If you haven’t had a chance to sit in front of a laptop for nine hours every day for the past week to watch the spectacle unfold, let me tell you, New York Fashion Week did not disappoint. Big designers, front rows jam-packed with A-list celebs, preened Upper East Side girls with catastrophically covetable wardrobes.
And on the catwalk, amongst Thom Browne’s bewitching, white widows and Marc Jacob’s boyish and beautifully gothic mélange, there was a coolness akin to something rather Scandinavian.
Proenza Schouler did it in blissful creamy tones and soft, clean lines mixed with twiggy prints; so did Alexander Wang with his nineties get-up in wispy dove grey and boxy-androgynous ensembles. Victoria Beckham, too, followed suit with glass-blown shapes in that most Scandinavian of colour combinations – black and white.
With the almighty Obama’s recent visit to Stockholm, for Swedes, the ol’ US of A has never more relevant. But while Mr President and Reinfeldt were shaking hands over lowering energy levels, an American-Swedish love fest was already in full-swing elsewhere: on the streets.
But Scandinavian style has been carving out its dark, edgy path into glitzy American hearts for far longer than just a New York minute.
Swedish Hasbeens, re-jigged seventies clogs hailing from Southern Sweden, are a Sarah Jessica Parker favourite, and we all know SJP is the Queen of NYC style. The Hasbeens are in such demand in the US; they’ve moved their entire company state-side.
It would be folly to say Swedish fashion is taking over NYC but it is definitely made it there. It’s muddling through the established Donna Karans, Calvin Kleins and Michael Kors set; happy to be somewhat stealthily clothing the coolest of New York’s most fashion-forward.
There may have not been any Swedish names on the New York Fashion Week schedule this season but check out the week’s street-style galleries and there was a hum of fashionistas dressed in Acne and H&M. Stockholm design house Acne may be showing their spring/summer 2014 collection at Paris again in a week or two, but in past seasons, the creative collective has been a regular on the NYFW schedule and only recently opened a store in the city’s Soho.
Also doing well state-side is Gothenburg denim label Nudie Jeans (as worn by teen-fav Zac Efron and unofficial Mayor of New York, Jay-Z), architectural knitwear designer Sandra Backlund, punchy Stockholm favourite Ann-Sofie Back and wardrobe staple, Filippa K.
Running simultaneously to Fashion Week across the pond was Plitzs – nope I’d never heard of it before now either – an alternative to NYFW which showcased Swedish Anna Oels Lindell’s eco-friendly GreenBlackDress collection. Environmental concerns a big deal not only for Reinfeldt and Obama it seems – but NYC’s fashionistas too.
On the flip-side, back in this sweet city I now call home, mutual appreciation is everywhere. NYC-inspired brewery Brooklyn located in Hammarby Sjöstad has a customer base of bearded hipsters dressed in trucker-caps, check shirts and denim.
In fact, the whole male hipster-scene in Stockholm seems enamoured with images of the American lumberjack.
And one can’t help but feel the slick city dressing of women around Stureplan is half Swedish minimalism and half NY kick-ass city girl. If Stockholm’s style-set are playing to arty Manhattan life with Mustangs, hot dogs and skyscraper-heels thrown into the mix, well, why not?
At least it seems Stockholm’s love for the Big Apple is reciprocal. An injection of Big Apple energy into laid-back, Scandi-cool certainly sounds appealing and the partnership is already doing wonders to promote Swedish fashion on the world stage.
Yep, it seems the two cities are the best of friends. Now that is worth its very own handshake.
A self-confessed country-girl, Victoria studied English literature and fashion writing in the UK and Milan and then swapped English village life for city living in Stockholm in April 2013. She has spent the last five months swotting up on Swedish fashion and exploring her favourite part of Sweden; its national parks. Victoria enjoys travelling to far-off lands, alternative music and wishes someone would invent some kind of socially-acceptable breakfast ice-cream.