Fashion: A black moment

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The Independent Online

Even to die-hard fashionistas, the words "Icelandic fashion" draw a blank. (Except perhaps for best-forgotten visions of Bjrk in her Oscars "swan dress" in 2001.)

Yet one Nordic designer is about to put the country squarely on the fashion map. Steinunn, an Icelandic native who learned her trade at Parsons school of design in New York, launched her eponymous label seven years ago, which is going on sale in London for the first time this season.

With black-on-black layered textures Vogue's current approved look, the knitwear specialist's expansion into the capital is timely. Aspiring Morticia Addamses will delight in multi-textured black dresses, capes and ponchos rendered in textured silk and mohair boucl, and more black in the form of ruffled scarves and hats. Touches of deep blue and dark grey lend a hint of colour, subtle enough to pass muster with the fashion police.

Steinunn has a pedigree to be reckoned with. She began her career in New York, working for Ralph Lauren and later Calvin Klein, before developing knitwear for Gucci, under Tom Ford's creative directorship, in Milan. She parlayed this experience into a design directorship at luxury lingerie line La Perla, before launching her own line in 2000.

Four years ago the designer returned to her native land, where she opened her flagship store in Reykjavik, and her baroque yet understated textiles now beautifully allude to visions of Iceland's landscapes the Aurora Borealis, Hekla volcano, lava moss — all interpreted in intricately constructed knitwear.

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