Apparatjik bulletin about the clothing line | Moods of Norway Apparatjik fashion line announcement | The Collection
I knew right away that I wanted the red hoodie but I like to try things on before buying, so I held back from ordering and waited until I arrived in Oslo last week. Let's just say I spent most of my spending money budget in the Moods of Norway store the day I arrived ;-)
The Moods of Norway guys have been in the mix apparently since the beginning of the Apparatjik project, more info about the partnership can be found/followed in this discussion thread.
When I was paying for my hoodie, I spotted a flyer on the counter advertising the Moods of Norway fashion show taking place that Friday. My friends and I thought it sounded cool, so we RSVPed online and had no idea what we were in for ;-)
Since the fashion show didn't have anything to do with MF or Apparatjik, I'll put that story back here.
The weather was iffy on Friday afternoon when we set out for the fashion show. The bus dropped us off up the road and we had to backtrack to the entrance. The event was at a farm - actually the King's farm - and the approach went between two fields. Along the side, spaced some meters apart, were people dressed up as characters from Norwegian fairy tales, acting out their parts with the aid of boom boxes hidden in the bushes to provide audio narration. I wasn't familiar with the stories, but you can't mistake trolls as anything but what they are ;-)
The fashion show took place in a central paved area surrounded by barns and other buildings. There was a runway constructed in the middle of the square, and a DJ booth overlooking the area from a broad second story barn window. The central point of the runway was a little pink building with the words 'Moods of Norway' written across the top in floral blooms. There was also a stone wall behind the runway, with an outcrop above that had a massive disco ball suspended by a small crane.
The little house
The floral branding
The DJ booth above the action
The runway and VIP seating
The requisite tractor
The disco ball
Well we arrived plenty early, having misunderstood the flyer - it was in Norwegian - we saw 18:00 and thought that was when to arrive. However that was the *beginning* of when you could arrive; we didn't discover until we got there that the show wouldn't start until 22:00 and we had several hours to kill. Between the long wait, lack of seating, onset of rain, all my friends took their leave. I didn't mind staying there on my own, I was just so curious about how a company like Moods of Norway would put together a fashion show. All the signs pointed to not only a fashion expression but a cultural one as well - I really wanted to see how they would express their values and creative ideas.
When my last friends bailed, I took a walk around and joined a couple of women sitting under a massive tree, sheltering from the rain showers. There were pink painted tree stumps scattered around on the lawn under the tree, and these were prime real estate in that it was a place to sit *and* keep out of the rain. Somehow my timing was good, I asked if I could join the two women, and they were kind enough to chat with me for a bit. One of the women works for an artist whose work looks really interesting (http://www.bjorg.info) and will be having an exhibition in my city in a month or two. That gave us plenty to talk about :-) The other woman's sister works for one of the Moods of Norway designers, and she had some interesting stories as well. They were both curious about what brought me to Oslo, and like most Norwegians I've met, were immensely proud of their country. We had a drink or two, but after a while they decided they would leave.
Shortly after they got up, a young couple asked if they could sit on the two pink stumps beside me, which of course I agreed to. Turned out they were the nicest, coolest couple - the guy looked a bit like a Norwegian version of Orlando Bloom, and the girl was a sweet, petite little thing with a wonderful laugh. They explained the fairy tale depictions we'd seen on the way in, talked about what they liked about Moods of Norway - he was wearing a Moods of Norway jacket and it looked quite good on him. We had a great chat, and I was so touched when the guy (his name is Magnus but I can't remember her name) left for a few moments and came back with drinks for all of us :-) At that point I knew they were not just being polite in talking with me but that we were together for the duration of the event.
Sure enough, when the action started we all went over to the runway, nudging our way into a good spot where we could see most of the action. The show started with a guy jamming out on a guitar in front of the disco ball, playing a rock version of 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'. Damn that was cool!
Once the music stopped, the spotlight fell on a woman in a bunad sitting in a rocking chair, who opened a large tome on her lap and began to read a fairy tale in Norwegian. A young man stood behind her with an umbrella over her, and managed to look nondescript and yet somehow noble in his role. Throughout the presentation, the lady read a few more passages and closed the evening as well with the final chapter. That seemed to be a uniquely Norwegian and a very interesting way to marry fashion with tradition.
During the fashion show, each collection was presented (formal wear, casual wear, etc) and then there would be some entertainment while they prepared to show the next collection. There were 2-3 different female singers, all of whom had stunning voices, and three famous comedians came out together to do a remade version of a classic Norwegian song. During the collections, there was popular music playing in the background. My favorite segment was the Little Red Riding Hood part: the male models all had wolf heads on with glowing red eyes and the female models all had long red hooded capes over their clothes, which they artfully shifted to show the clothing to photographers at the end of the runway (in the background: "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!!" and other well known Red Riding Hood related popular songs LOL).
The end of the show (the designers are in the pink suits)
Everything was so well put together, there was such a great eye for detail but most of all it was a celebration. Throughout my week in Norway and even on the trip home, I saw many people wearing Moods of Norway t-shirts and other branded clothing. It isn't just 'popular' however; there seems to be an element of national pride in wearing those clothes. Of the clothing collection I can say that it has a fun twist to it, there are elements that are at once classic and clean, but also playful and dynamic.
I really don't know a lot about fashion but there were some things I really wish I had the money and occasion to wear them for. In particular there was a gorgeous backless dress with criss-cross chains draped just about the waistline, with a full skirt and short scooped train that I would love to try on. Can't find a picture of it online but wowsa. One day when I win the lottery and have stupid money, I'm buying a dress like that ;-)
Anyway, when the show was over my new friends walked with me down to where the buses were picking people up, made sure I got off at the right stop, and gave me big hugs and told me they hoped I enjoyed my visit. It was so kind of them to include me during the evening, in all we were probably together for three hours. I was glad I stayed and took a chance on the weather, it was a special experience that I wouldn't have had in my normal life :-)
EDIT: I looked online to find any press about the fashion show, here are some links -
Here is a Moods of Norway blog post that's basically just a photo - but it does say there were 3,900 people there, which I can readily believe!
Ambassadors of Norwegian design
Moods-festen kostet over 1 mill. - this one has pictures of one of the fairy tale depictions on the entrance pathway, as well as a gallery of VIP guest photos (I guess).
- Bra fest for pengene - this one has an extensive gallery of images from the collection, including Little Red Riding Hood (#22 and #24, #26-28), and my dress (#47) and a great picture of the runway when the place was packed during the show (#50).
Her er Norges største moteeventyr! - another great gallery of photos of the collection. The lady with the bunad and fairy tale book is image #1; the front and back of my dress are #37-38.
Christian Ringnes var Askeladden på Moods-visning - a short video from the show with behind the scenes and runway shots.
Moods of Norway wraps up Oslo Fashion Week with “Norwegian Fairytales” - this one in English, a good recap of the event with some pictures too.