Inspiring and so beautifully shot:
Somewhere in early puberty my body became a battleground for sore throats and gritty coughs. I visited the doctor, took time off school and chatted to pharmacists and chemists, but the cure as I learned was endlessly simple: a swathe of fabric wrapped twice around my neck proved itself an effective armour against tonsillitis, and I’ve worn a scarf almost everyday since.
Once I discovered the cure to my ails, my scarf collection grew exponentially and eventually my mum began to complain I had too many. Slowly and overtime I was forced to cull my collection, mostly donating these to charity, and now I treat myself to one new scarf each autumn.
Last week I took a ten-day tour through Scandinavia, beginning in Copenhagen and finishing in Oslo, but en route through Gothenburg I stopped in Weekday, a Swedish jean store, which stocks a variety of denims and shirts as well as prominent Swedish brands Whyred and Cheap Monday (to name a few). The store I visited had a Beyond Retro upstairs (what a combination), and like most things Swedish I was smitten by its unshakeable commitment to low-key style.
But I had made a conscious decision that there would be no shopping till Stockholm (No. Shopping. Till. Stockholm.), but I knew without hesitation that my first purchase would be a camel-coloured wool scarf, which I had spotted in a window in Malmö and yearned for on that hot, busy day in Gothenburg.
Seeing that I’ve lived the last ten years of my life in a scarf however, I’m often surprised by how many people dislike them, regarding them as bulky or superfluous (this includes my mum). My views are quite the opposite – a long piece of wool or cashmere carefully draped around a neck, or streaming down one’s back seems endlessly graceful to me, a simple, effective way to create a seamless silhouette.
My choice of colour was no doubt inspired subconsciously by Burberry Prorsum’s cashmere-blend blanket ponchos, whose easily knocked-off graphic intarsia will go down well with M&S’s customer base the UK-over. But while I love Burberry’s classic camel tones and bought into them this winter, the Arts and Crafts feels of Burberry’s shawls – designed to be loosely slung over one’s shoulders and belted for a relaxed Jessa-from-Girls kind of aesthetic – makes me grimace. Magazines, especially ones aimed at older women, will get behind it and tout it as ‘hiding a multitude of sins’ but the understated elegance of a scarf will long endure when blanket-coats become fodder for ‘Worst Looks of The Last Decade’ lists on Buzzfeed.
Of course I took a trip to my Swedish mecca & Other Stories, too (the damage can be seen above and felt at present as a type in a state of near starvation). But ultimately I’m chuffed with my new winter scarf: pure wool, soft to touch and extremely warm. C’est parfait.
I somehow side-stepped the rest of the Internet and posted Lykke Li’s & Other Stories video a day ahead of the crowd (hurrah).
The web caught up with me of course (naturally), the range launched, and now reviews are dotted across every magazine and blog.
Personally I was excited at the prospect of a pared back capsule collection carefully devised to suit a ‘nomadic’ life. But while the range is considered, an emphasis on superior fabrics evident, it failed somewhat to wow.
I found the retro flares, oatmeal polo, black polyester shorts, and a boxy blazer that stubbornly refuses to resonate any femininity, well, a bit dull.
Other items like a chic cigarette pant, an oversized shirt and patent slip-on shoe, while wonderful, could probably be picked up in a local Zara or COS.
But while the range hits a flat note (for me anyway) my brand love is in no way diminished. Instead I’ll stick to the items I was lusting after all along: this purple dress, that leather skirt and a midnight trench that would surely lend an air of mystery to any outfit. Or get tangled in my bicycle spokes. Either / or.
I saw Lykke Li perform in Chicago two or three summers ago, but while I was au fait with her pop songs I had never really engaged with her music until then.
That year a passing interest had turned into active dislike as DJ-after-DJ renditions of “I Follow Rivers” snaked through shops and bars.
So when I finally saw her in a wooded inlet at Jackson Park I discovered her presence (small and witchy) and voice (synthy-soprano) were surprisingly magnetising.
I’d be lying if I said a lifelong interest was forged that day, but I became more forgiving of those trancey remixes which extended Li’s choruses beyond the thirty second mark.
As Sweden’s best exported musician (Sorry Jenny Wilson), with an ingress to mainstream and alternative music fans , it seems fitting that & Other Stories would partner with Lykke Li in the run-up to their New York launch.
Last March when Stories announced the collaboration, Li hinted at the utilitarian nature of the collection:
“I’m a nomad and travelled my whole life,” her press release read, “so my style choices have grown out of pure necessity. I need to travel light but still feel empowered, there’s no space for frills or colours.”
The collection, unveiled today in a promotional video and accompanied by grainy black and white images, suggests cool, masculine styles that lend themselves to migrant life.
Launching this Thursday – one week before my two week trip through Scandinavia – tailored pieces for a rucksack-toting nomad sound just divine.