• photography by SANDRA MYHRBERG

    white tull dress spring 2012

    Ida Sjöstedt

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    It’s not difficult to be drawn to her elegant and innocent designs. All of us who longed to become a princess at a young age are likely to be instantly amazed by her luminary and excessive dresses.

    That longing is surely one of the reasons her work appeals to so many women. Her clients consist of a broad spectrum of very different people. She tells me that even though her brand is quite niched, the variation of customers is larger than most seem to think. Older ladies are more into coats and couture, while the younger women seem to head straight for the dreamlike gowns.

    Ida loves when an outfit or a piece finds its rightful owner, when someone perfectly completes one of her garments. All of the designs are, of course, a reflection of Ida as a person, but, she tells me her personality will not fit in to one specific collection. And I agree. As people change over time and evolve, so does their way to express themselves. For inspiration, she frequently finds herself turning to fairy tales and legends. This often results in romantic, feminine and eccentric creations. I asked her about menswear, and she told me it’s not for her. She is very clear about this, since she once worked as a tailor of mens’ suits. It’s too detailed and not creative enough.

    After our conversation, I felt I’d just met a woman with a very strong integrity and a decisive mind. Someone who wishes to be personal yet distances herself from her work. She hovers between nostalgia and modernity, and she knows exactly what she is doing.

    pink tulle dress autumn 2010
    gold dress spring 2011
    white dress spring 2012

    model ALEXANDRA K/Mikas
    asisstant INA NEDERDAHL
    special thanks to STUREKATTEN

    grey tulle dress autumn 2010
  • photography by JESSIE LILY ADAMS


    The White Woman

    Written by David Barrie by Michaela Widergren

    “I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunken to skin and bone.”

    Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is one of the most shocking and resonant characters in the history of literature.

    At twenty minutes to nine on her wedding day, Miss Havisham, the daughter of a rich brewer, received a letter from her fiancé that rejected her hand in marriage and made it clear that he was only interested in her for her money.

    From that very moment, Miss Havisham’s life froze. The jilted bride stopped all the clocks in her mansion and became a recluse. She never changed out of the white satins, lace and silks of her bridal gown. A victim of deluded expectations, Miss Havisham became the faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table glass, a veiled, conceited, yellowing weed. Driven by envy, she devoted the rest of her life to exacting revenge for her fate on the young Pip and Estella.

    If you’re rejected in love, Miss Havisham is the exact person that you could, but don’t want ever to become: cold, grotesque, solitary and in darkness, secluded from a thousand natural and healing influences.

    Generations of audiences have been haunted by the spectral character and enchanted by a book about personal morality, hopeless passion and which carries some of literature’s greatest, Hollywood-scale set-piece scenes - including Miss Havisham’s death, burned alive, patches of tinder yet were floating in the smoky air, which, a moment ago, had been her faded bridal dress.

    But don’t think of Miss Havisham as just a ruined relic of fiction, since she may have been a Gothic grotesque that Dickens actually knew.

    In 1853, seven years before he published Great Expectations, Dickens wrote about The White Woman, a woman who used to walk through Berners Street, off Oxford Street, London, dressed entirely in white, her hair plaited white round her head and face inside a white bonnet. She wore white shoes, carried a white umbrella and was described by Dickens as a conceited old creature who was simpering mad.

    Also, for eleven years, Dickens lived in Marylebone, London, a short distance from a woman who lived the life of a recluse. Her suitor had shot himself on her sofa and his brains had splattered her clothes. After that moment, Martha Joachim never left home - her house filled with images of soldiers which she called her body-guards.

    Extracts from Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860), edited by Charlotte Mitchell (Penguin Classics, 1996).