Gudrun Sjoden wants to see New Yorkers embracing green. And red. And blue. And orange. “Often in fashion and in the shops it’s just a lot of black and gray,” says the 71-year-old designer, who herself prefers brightly patterned garments and neon-rimmed spectacles.
“But from my experience, there are a lot of women who want to have colors in their wardrobe.” Well, Manhattan, watch out: The relentlessly cheery Swede, who started her eponymous fashion company in 1974, is finally bringing her whimsical designs to the States, with a new store that opened last week in the hottest of haute neighborhoods: SoHo.
It’s a bold move for the low- to mid-priced brand. Gudrun Sjoden’s Greene Street neighbors include cool fashion favorites like Isabel Marant, Opening Ceremony and Diane von Furstenberg, which stand in stark contrast to Sjoden’s colorful, folk-inspired clothing and home goods.
Her Manhattan flagship similarly reflects the label’s bohemian spirit, as well as its green ethos — about 60 percent of its garments are made with organic fibers. The walls are painted an earthy olive-green and dove gray, and the wooden floors are adorned with hand-stenciled flowers. And Sjoden herself has hand-painted the vintage shabby-chic furniture with birds and other sweet designs. “It will be quite cozy,” she says.
Sjoden is not intimidated by the more rarefied stores in the neighborhood. “We have quite a lot of American customers who buy through the website,” the eternal optimist says. “So I think it will be a success.”
Channel your inner boheme
For her spring collection, Sjoden has taken inspiration from Scandinavia and its folk art. Here’s a look at some of the pieces.
1. A leaf on a palm by the Arabian Sea formed the basis for several of Sjoden’s patterns for spring, including the one on this gently crinkled split-personality dress.
Sus & Dus dress, $100
2. Inspired by Scandinavian folk art, this floral dress — made with organic cotton — includes a richly embroidered bib and hand-quilted seams. Hanna eco-cotton dress, $125
3. Graphic pieces scattered with polka dots, stripes and triangles harken back to the 1950s — and are made to be mixed and matched. Ziki linen/cotton shawl,