European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Stockholm: Paris of the North

European fashionfashion exhibitionFrench fashionHaute Couture

A new exhibition at Nordiska museet retracing the story of Haute Couture in the Nordic countries

There was a time in which Paris was the place in which the shapes, volumes, materials and styles of fashion were created, and the spread all over the word. For the Nordic countries, the salons of department store Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm were the “glamorous arena” where important clients could have a taste of French fashion and get fabulous clothes tailor-made without having to take on the journey to the Ville Lumiere.

The new exhibition at Nordiska museet explores the story of the French Ateliers at Nordiska Kompaniet, which imported and showcased French fashion from the end of 20th century till the 1960s.

The display counts more than 100 outfits: couture masterpieces from NK’s French Couture Atelier as well as garments from leading fashion designers such as Dior, Chanel, Vionnet, Balenciaga. The exhibition invites visitors to encounter the legendary atelier and those who populated it, on both sides: the customers, often important public figures as Queen Louise Mountbatten, Astrid Sampe, Nanna Svartz, Greta Garbo and Zarah Leander, and the workers, seamstresses, tailors and embroiderers working behind the scenes.

Nordiska museet owns the largest collection of costumes and fashion in Sweden, and most of the objects and photographs are displayed for the first time. The exhibition is primarily based on the extensive NK archives, which has been kept at Nordiska museet since the 1970s, and also includes many loans. Thanks to the collaboration with Bukowskis auction rooms, the museum was also able to source new garments and enrich the story the exhibition is now telling to its public.