Swedish Style: Gudrun Sjödén and Josef Frank at The Fashion and Textile Museum

Gudrun, centre with UK staff Cecilia, left and Sofie, right

The lovely, all-inclusive Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén has a small exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsay, which is well worth popping into. Regular readers may remember my fabulous trip to Gudrun’s 40 years of Fashion exhibition in Lund in 2014 and this is a tiny version of that.

Gudrun fills her life with colour and fun, from her vibrantly printed clothes – always inspired by travel and culture – to her glasses, which she colour coordinates with every outfits. They come from See, by the way. She describes herself as cheerful, determined, inquisitive and speedy, every time I see her I feel she has an excellent handle on how to really enjoy life to the full. We grabbed a quick catch up at the opening and she told me how thrilled she was at being in London.

“My first visit here was 60 years ago, when I was a teenager and I came by train! I was really inspired, particularly by the Swinging Sixties feel for clothes, the shapes, the stripes, the patterns and the flat shoes with mini skirts.” This time she has been inspired by the Hockney exhibition, which she loved.

Gudrun was way ahead of her time in terms of sustainability and using organic cloth, and her uplifting and inspiring catalogues give you an insight into her view of life. It’s worth signing up for these even if you don’t ever visit her shop, they are so cheering.

She travels for inspiration, then paints endless water colours to express her print and design ideas, from which she will select ones that feel right for the season. My favourite section of the exhibition includes her notebooks and bags filled with bits and pieces she has collected along the way.

Her homeware is often overlooked, but I think the ceramics and gauze curtains are delightful, they come into their own for summer with their bright prints and summer-living vibe.

On at the Fashion and Textile Museum at the same time as Gudrun is another superb exhibition featuring another couple of talented Swedes. Josef Frank, designer and artist, collaborated with Estrid Ericson, founder of Svenskt Tenn, to define what we now think of as Swedish Modernism.

His elegantly colourful prints and home designs, rich with botanical delights, are an absolute joy to see, many of them are still available at Svenskt Tenn today, showing what extraordinary vision the pair of them had.

It’s impossible to view these two exhibitions and come out miserable, so if you are in need of some cheer, get yourself along there to view some colourful Swedish style. Both exhibitions are on until 7th May 2017. More here.







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