Filippa K - in Ladonia
Ladonia gets its publicity not only through court hearings or school exams. When I was flying by an SAS plane in september, I happened to read "Scanorama", the inflight magazine of SAS. There there was an interview with a dress designer Filippa Kilhborg. To my great surprise and pleasure I discovered that the setting for shooting the clothes of her was placed in... Ladonia!!!
I've scanned both the images and the interview, as well as a short presentation of Filippa K, and a presentation of Ladonia, given in the article.
Here is what was written about Ladonia:
Lure of Wasteland
...and a bit about...
If you are interested, here is the interview itself:
he's Filippa K.
Yes, indeed, she is Filippa K.
She's just as cool and sensual, just as poised and collected, as every teenage girl who sneaks cash from her mother's purse to buy her clothes dreams of being.
"I've got a very clear idea of what Filippa K is," she says, "and it's probably based partly on myself. That's how it began anyway, that l wanted something that wasn't in the shops."
She's sitting behind a light grey desk, in her light grey studio, wearing a light grey loose top and light grey slacks. And on her feet she has, er, colourful sneakers. Yes, that's the way her clothes shouid be worn, she says - "my simple kit ought to be combined with a whiff of personal taste". A philosophy which has evidently gone down well at work. Of the 40 or so employees, regardless of whether they work in the three shops (Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo) or here at the headquarters in Stockholm, each and every one of them goes around in her neutral style of uniform topped off with eye-catching sandals or a flashy scarf.
Like some businessman, you might think, who spruces up his suit with a funny looking tie.
Yes, more or less. Filippa Kihlborg naturally has more style than all those businessmen tossed together but in lots of ways she's like them. Since her firm's modest start in 1993 it has expanded to an annual turnover of SEK100m ($12m). Filippa Kihlborg is one of the most successful businesswomen in Sweden.
"We're a commercial fashion cornpany," she says matterof-factly and crosses her arms in defiance. "We don't fancy ourselves as great artists. We make clothes for ordinary people, clothes that we like ourselves. Clothes that a model puts on after the show instead of during it."
At about the time that she and her husband, the industrial designer Patrik Kihlborg, decided to start the company they had their first child, Nina, today five years old. Last year Tom arrived. Add to that a strong interest in personal development and some spiritual hokus-pokus and you have a woman who's synonymous not just with the look that almost every Swedish city woman between 16 and 40 seems to be wearing, but with what the whole of the nineties is taken as standing for. Filippa wants to get back to the basies in life, she claims: back to love, companionship, contact with the countryside and the elements.
Just like her parents.
Mum, the designer Martina Clason, last Year bought a patch of ground in Costa Rica in the deepest jungle surrounded by monkeys and parrots, where she's now building her own house and giving herself time to paint. Dad, Lars Knutsson, alias Sweden's "king of jeans", is the man who abandoned the world of fashion and now runs an alternative training centre in the depths of darkest Dalarna in western Sweden.
"It's easy to lose track of what you ought to be doing in a world which makes so many demands on you," Filippa says. "In my case the job and the children are a heavy load. Both infuse me with strength and energy but leave very little space for me. And at the same time l know that everything starts off from me. By looking after myself and getting to understand myself l find that life is made simpler, and meeting other people gets that much more rewarding. Whether it's marriage we're talking about or relationships with friends and ernployees."
What's your role in the company?
"My role has shifted from being some kind of entrepeneurcum-creator to being a leader, and that's something I wasn't prepared or trai ned for. But I enjoy it. I'm not the typical boss type and I don't care for that kind of leader either, but I do like getting a team to function. I take my role as leader seriously."
What's it like working at Filippa K's?
It's a pretty liberal company. It may be the staff sometimes think the leadership is too slack even, that we're too laid back."
Most common problem?
"When a firm grows as fast as we have there are a lot of communication problems - people just don't know each other. And then you have to build up competence; you start off with a group of young people who like clothes and suddenly you find you need quite a different type of skill."
How do you keep up with the trends?
"We chat together here in the office. What would we like to have that we can't find in the shops? That's a clear signal of what's coming, I think."
Do you often think, Aha! I knew that was coming?
"Yes, but at the same time I always have to keep thinking ahead so when some style turns up I'm already a long way beyond it. But what I do find myself saying now and again is God! That! How could we miss it? Or else, perhaps I see something that I've wondered about myself but never dared to do. Then I can be furious for being such a coward."
What's it like producing clothes with your own name on them?
"One advantage with it is that it gives you greater opportunities. People listen to you. I get a chance to present my ideas to a larger audience. There's strength, there's power in it."
And the disadvantage?
"When we decided on the name I really gave it some thought, OK, am I ready for this?, because if a piece of clothing shrinks I'm the one who gets the blame. But at the same time that's the whole point. I stand by what I do. It feels honest and genuine."
You make clothes for women and men of your own age group. When you're 60, will Filippa K be the brand for 60-year-olds?
"No, no! I'm already aware that I'm growing older, that I've got two children and have reached 33 and live in upper-class Saltsj–baden [outside Stockholm] and am beginning to acquire other values. But does that mean the whole brand has to change? No, absolutely not, that would be to undermine the trademark."
Will you carry on till you're 60, do you think?
"Probably not. In fact, I could hop off this company today because there's now such a clear Filippa K spirit and style. I can be talking with a new girl on my staff and she says something like 'Oh no, that's not Filippa K. Filippa K girls have got way more attitude than that piece of clothing.' I can be a bit offended at first, but when I pause and think again I feel quite flattered by it."
is a former editor of SCANORAMA. He's now the editor-in-chief of
Forum, one of Scandinavia's leading magazines on design and
architecture. His most cherished garment is a corduroy suit from
SEPTEMBER 1999 SCANORAMA
And finally, the thing you've been loking for, the images from Ladonia. You can click on any image to view it in a much greater resolution.
Photographer: Sesse Lind
Models: Tora and Emil