Abroad & Below: From Chanel to H&M

July 9th
So my spark for Stockholm and traveling was a little dulled by Hanna’s death. But I’m in Stockholm! This is the city I have dreamed about my entire trip and waited two weeks to return to. I had to make the best of it.

I had picked up a brochure for Fotografiska, a photography museum on Stockholm’s edge. They currently have six featured exhibits as well as many smaller displays of current and popular photography. My absolute favorite was “Northern Women in Chanel” by Peter and Ingela Klementz Farago. Their fashion editorial dressed models in some of Chanel’s most well known and exquisite pieces. The women matched their outfits and their locations almost flawlessly and some of the Chanel pieces were beyond incredible, even just in terms of fabric or embellishment. I’m so happy we were able to catch this exhibit, I highly recommend googling images or future appearances.

Fotografiska also featured the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and Jaqueline Hellman—both photographers that have stepped beyond boundaries to face their viewers with uncomfortable realities. Eleanor Coppol’s “Circle of Memory” recreated an Irish remembrance ceremony for passed love ones, encouraging visitors to add their own notes along the stacked bales of hay. Could the timing of my visit been any more perfect? Hanna has her own note just inside ritual site where the sand falls from the ceiling. Liu Bolin also showcases his work of “The Invisible Man,” where his body is painted to camouflage himself into the subject of his photograph. It was really fun trying to find him in each one! And lastly Jacob Fellander did a patient project called “I Want to Live Close to You,” where he used multiple exposures on film cameras, meshing together shots of different cities. In a single photograph he could feature Dubai, Stockholm, Los Angeles, Paris, and New York. I don’t know how he kept all those cameras in order, but I applaud the results he created.

After musing on some of the smaller photography collections, we ate lunch on the top floor of the museum. Honestly I would’ve paid the entrance fee just to eat here. With a complete wall of glass, the panoramic views of Stockholm just on the other side of the water were beautiful. You could see the city, gamla stan, the marina, and even the roller coaster at Grona Lund.

Next my cousin Mikaela and I headed into downtown Stockholm where we immediately headed for NK, which I would consider Sweden’s medium of Nordstrom and Saks 5th Avenue. Its layout is flawless and their collections seem never-ending. Although I tend to think a lot of Scandinavian style is very modern, there were some very soft and romantic pieces that took the foreground. After purchasing some Bjorn Borg underwear, we headed to TopShop and Zara, two fashionable (and more affordable) stores. I was on the lookout for a teal dress or denim shorts, but I didn’t have much luck. But if you were looking for an H&M, you can consider yourself very lucky. With H&M’s across the street and two doors down from one another, their stores are almost countless. They’re everywhere!

Once we had enough of H&M, we called it a day. We headed back to Isabelle’s apartment and started off our night with some Thai food and wine, eventually finding our way to a Swedish “punch” bottle. Then we took the subway to TGIF’s, which is much more upscale than any I’ve seen in America. Next stop was a bar where Isabelle and Mikaela’s uncle had done the lighting for. We got our names on the list and we walked straight past the line of at least 100 people. This bar was actually built right underneath a bridge, giving it lots of space. It had stadium seating up the sides, ping pong tables, two bars, a DJ, a dance floor, and lots of lounge furniture. We spent the rest of our night drinking beer there until we headed home. It was a perfect taste of Sweden’s social scene. Although I’m sure there are bigger and better bars and clubs, this was perfect for a girl’s night and being outdoors can’t be topped when the summer weather never leaves.