Ida Sjöstedt is slightly different
Ida Sjöstedt is one of Sweden’s fashion stars. She started her eponymous brand in 2001, and it has grown stronger year after year. At the end of August, she presented her SS17 collection, Heal the World, at Stockholm Fashion Week and the response was entirely positive. Her fairy-tale dresses with pastel colours, flowers and lace are romantic, and a strong female power runs through her shows and collections. “I like beautiful things. Disney and all his princess dresses were one of my first inspirations.” And that is not hard to see. Her clothes are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Swedish design,” but Ida has created her own style and there is no doubt that she makes the world a more beautiful place. Ida makes clothes that make you smile and you definitely feel like a princess while wearing them. Not to mention that she is the designer who had the honour of creating the wedding dress for Prince Carl-Philip’s bride, Sophia, when they said, “I do” in 2015.
A few weeks ago, Maria Maruska, the GM of Hotel Lydmar, had breakfast with the ever-busy Ida Fashion
Sjöstedt. She was busy with the final preparations for Stockholm week and at the same time realized that her company needed a bigger office. “Right now, we’re all sitting on top of each other,” said Ida. “The fitting room is in the hallway and the dressmakers don’t really have enough space to work. We do all the couture in-house, as well as a lot of the details for the collections. I prefer it like that. I think that both sides of the business, couture and collection, will win with this setup. And I feel proud to be a designer who handles both parts of the fashion industry. I would not like to work within just one area.”
Maria: So, Ida, tell me, where have you been to find inspiration for “Heal the World”? I assume you travel a lot?!
Ida: Actually no. Yes, I do travel but I don’t have the time to travel for inspiration alone. Many of the bigger chains let their designers book trips before they start their work on a new collection. That’s not possible for me yet. But of course, I travel and all kind of trips and visits inspire me in my work.
M: I see, well maybe that is the price you pay for having your own brand/company, that you don’t have the same benefits as the larger companies have. But on the other hand, you can go for spontaneous vacations without asking permission from anyone, that must be nice! So where do you go when you take some time off? Where do you find the scenes that inspire you for the amazing dresses that you design?
I: It depends. But I really love Barcelona! I was there this summer and stayed at El Palace, it was great.
M: Wow that’s an amazing hotel! Is that the kind of hotel you prefer? The big elegant ones where they treat you like a princess and you can walk around in your own dresses with a glass of champagne and just dream away?
I: Yes, and no. I always try to choose hotels with a personal feeling, where you are treated more like a friend than a guest. I also like an old fashion feeling and I do dress a bit to match the ambiance in the hotel, especially when I stay at places like El Palace and the like. But it doesn’t need to be as luxurious as that place, it’s more the feeling I’m after than the exclusivities. I prefer a creaking staircase over a big hotel were all the rooms look the same and everything is picture perfect. The week I spend at El Palace was a gift for my 40th birthday from my parents. But I’m heading back to Barcelona later this autumn and then I’ll stay at a two-star hotel. So a high contrast in budget but hopefully the same kind of atmosphere.
M: So how do you pick your hotels? Do you google “creaking stairs”?
I: Ha-ha, no, not really, I use bookings.com or similar sites. I always start by looking at pictures of the hotels, after that I make sure that location is good, that’s important, and then before I make a reservation I read some reviews.
M: When you check in, do you have any routines? Is there something you always do right away?
I: I always start by checking out the bathroom, seeing what kind of shampoo and stuff they have. Then I try the bed. Hopefully, it’s comfortable!
Back in 2001 when Ida Sjöstedt started her brand, Swedes wore jeans and t-shirts to everything, even party nights out. Now, they dress up on a random Wednesday. “So much has happened on the fashion front in Sweden. I think it’s thanks to social media, fashion has become something for everyone. Now everyone knows how to style a cool dress, you don’t need to sell the whole package. People have more courage. They are also more confident and are more self-assured when it comes to dressing and what to do with the clothes we design. It’s great to see!
When you read this, the autumn collection will be in the stores. It is called Go your own way and, as the name implies, it is a collection with a bit of rock ‘n’ roll. But there’s no doubt that Ida Sjöstedt is the designer. The glitz and glamour is still there and those looking for a “princess dress” will find that as well.
Talking about princess dresses, as mentioned earlier, Ida had the honour of designing the dress Sofia Hellberg wore when she married Prince Carl Philip. It all started with another, no less glamourous commission, to design Sofia’s dress for the Nobel dinner. The thought hit da, was this a “test” for the wedding? But she never dared to even think the thought that she might be asked to design the wedding dress as well. And she was. Around 6 months later, June 13, 2015, Sofia and Carl Philip were married in Slottskyrkan. Sofia wore an amazing dress designed by Ida Sjöstedt and there has been nothing but positive feedback and comments about the dress. “Of course, that was a one in a life time opportunity. I feel so proud and blessed that I was given the honour of making that dress,” says Ida. When asked to name another famous dream client, Ida sighs, “I get that question a lot and I don’t really have an answer. But it would be great to design a dress for an actress attending the Oscars,” she says. And then she smiles and adds “A prize winner of course!”
You can by Ida Sjöstedts on her webshop or in selected stores, which you will find listed on her website.