Women of Fashion 

Valerie Steele is my fashion Icon. Not because she is the most beautiful and well dressed. I hardly know how she looks like. No, she is an fashion historian and Director for the Museum of FIT in New York. Read her books and you’ll see. 

One of the first one I read was the one above. Women designers are highlighted in this book as fashion history is mostly dominated by male designers. The book not only mention Chanel and Vivianne Westwood, we all know about those. No it is about others like Schiaparelli, Vionnet, Alix, Lanvin, Delaunay, Nina Ricci and Claire McCardell. (She misses out Katja of Sweden (!) but I guess she was not famous enough and therefore not part of the world fashion history! McCardell was the pioneer of ready-to-wear and mass production and also Katja of Sweden’s Teacher so I guess that will do.) 

Women dominated Paris fashion history in the 1920s and 1930s, according to Mrs Steele. The World War II meant a weakness of the Parisian couturiere and the success of the American ready-to-wear, which became a significant trend in the postwar period. Redy-to-wear meant more practicle and comfortable rather than sexual and restricted cloths. This started to be an important trend anyway, which was practiced by both male and female designers as you can not tell the gender of the designer by simply look at the design. 

Sewing has been part of womens work throughout history but it was when the production of cloths moved from home industry to business the profession was taken over by men. In the medieval Europe a tailor could only be a man. 

Well it is time to re-write history and Valerie Steele’s book is one important step to do so. There is time to highlight important female designers throughout history that has not been much in spotlight or quickly disappeared from it.

Hipp Folk Malmö 

Färg och mönster på Folk i Malmö. Foto Sara Thorsson / Sagamodellen

Det finns en mycket speciell butik i Malmö som kan garantera att du får något unikt handplockat från Europa. Köper du en klänning här syns du och du blir närmast ensam att bära designen. Jag pratar om Folk Malmö, en butik på Friisgatan. Plaggen sprakar av färg, mönster och är ofta av ekologisk material.

“Vi vågar förnya oss med nya märken och sticka ut. Våra kunder är även sådana som vågar.” Det säger butikschefen Ingrid. 

Kläderna köps in från olika delar av Europa, bl a Berlin. Märkerna är Margot, Bric-a-Brac och Skunkfunk etc. Inga massprodukter därmed. 

Jag har själv handlat i butiken några gånger. Kläderna som köptes då fick mig att tänka på Katja of Swedens design och mönster. För så tidlöst kan det vara – både då och nu.

Guo Pei – Absolutely Fantastic 

Couture, embroidery, gold decoration, princess dresses – this is a short summary of Guo Pei’s fantastic design. Guo Pei was born in Beijing in 1967, educated at the Beijing Second Light Industry School and started her own brand in 1997. Her design is dramatic and romantic at the same time. She is influenced by traditional Chinese imperial design and you will see a lot of magic embroidery in her cloths. It’s feminine and beautiful and I completely adore it. I want to see more and welcome her to Europe and the ‘haute couture club’.

See her latest at Vogue’s website Guo Pei in Vogue

Katja of Sweden 

Katja of Sweden dress at the Tech Museum in Malmö. Photo by Sara Thorsson / Sagamodellen

More Katja of Sweden dresses please! There are quite a lot of Katja Geiger’s design in Swedish homes but she sold a lot to Europe and the States too. Where are those cloths now, I wonder? 

Skor, skor, skor

Katja of Sweden-skor på Tekniska museet i Malmö. Foto Sara Thorsson / Sagamodellen 

När Katja Geiger 1957 fick chansen att designa skor för Gyllene Gripen i Malmö tvekade hon inte. Tillsammans med vice VD Lennart Kuylenstierna arbetade hon fram ny design till bekväma skor med låg klack som passade klädesplaggen i hennes kollektionen. Hon ville att skorna, liksom kläderna, skulle vara bekväma samtidigt som de skulle vara snygga. 

Först trodde säljarna helt enkelt inte att det skulle gå att sälja skor och kläder på samma gång. Skor köptes inte lika ofta. Men Katja gav sig inte.

Internationellt blev det en succé och senare vaknade även svenskarna till. Skorna såldes på Saks Fifth Avenue i NYC men även runt om Europa och Sverige. 

Skorna på bilden var inte för vardagen, kan man tänka. Här måste bäraren vara lite mer modig än vanligt. Men det var, å andra sidan, ett vanligt fenomen för en Katja of Sweden-dyrkare.