Spotted on the streets of Reykjavik:
*a tall blonde in a long black cape
*a leggy lady in leather pants
*a teen in hot pink tights with a short red, green, & blue striped dress
*a mother in a black micro-dress with tall grey wool socks pulled over the knee, black tights, and thick brown leather boots
*men, women, and children wearing oversized vintage reading glasses
Icelandic fashion is always inspiring, but this is not my Bill Cunningham blog. I’ll save those snapshots for the warmer weather, when the days are long and light and the streets are full of women parading around in colorful, draping garments and fabulous tights. Maybe it’s the extreme weather that brings it out of the Icelanders, the desire to differentiate, stand out, make something memorable amidst the dreary dark months. Whatever the reason, as the season starts to turn and the days get lighter, I too am inspired to shed my charming, but commonplace, Icelandic sweater and find my inner fashonista.
This week, a friend invited me along to meet Elinros, the creative director and founder of Ella, one of Iceland’s top designers. I donned my fur vest and red Hunter boots to join a group of expats for a morning coffee and a look-about in her boutique. Like many entrepreneurs, Elinros started selling out of her garage until she had enough business to buy her own store and grow organically. Slow fashion, she calls it. Each piece is made with care and attention to detail. Clothing here is not cheap, and her line is no exception, but tailoring is included in the price and she thinks of her clothing as an investment, something you own for life. It certainly looks like it—she’s used gorgeous, durable fabrics to create a timeless collection. With clean lines and neat trims, hers is not the flamboyant flash in the pan. After looking at her mood boards and meeting the tailor and seamstress, it was hard not to finger the fabrics and then indulge. Being overly practical and an Angelino, I bought the black dress. But I’ve been in Reykjavik long enough now to know that at some point, I’ll ditch the boring black heels and head out for coffee wearing my new shift with a pair of tall red boots, fuchsia tights, or dare I say, a cape.