Scandinavian fashion, like the region’s architecture and furniture design, is known for its minimalism. Like the Northern European countryside, designers here tend to focus on stark, clean shapes and functionality—but not without flair.
Dorothea Gundtoft’s Fashion Scandanavia (Thames & Hudson) proves that clothing here is cooler than it is conservative, and it’s even often playful (with a dry wit). The monograph smartly lists brands in alphabetical order and selects images that highlight not only garments, but entire aesthetic stories, from sketches to advertising campaigns. Original interviews with the likes of Anne Sofie-Back, Peter Jensen, Henrik Vibskov and many more accompany the photos, giving us satisfying peeks into each creative process.
A highly curated book on the subject of Scandinavian culture makes sense, considering the area’s aesthetic ideals. Often an inspiration is worth as much as an outcome, here. As noted by Sofie-Back, who, when asked by Gundtoft about the vulgarity of themes seen in her streamlined collections (“porn, punk, plastic surgery”), fashion can be very much a narrative art form:
“I need to use inspiration that disturbs me… For the AW12 collection we started out with the theme ‘God.’ I can’t stand religion, and during the course of designing we realized we didn’t have any relationship with God at all, so we ended up with the Scandinavian concept of ‘Jante’s Law,’ a set of rules that basically tells you that you are crap. Look it up!”
That about sums things up, doesn’t it?