For the last three years I have had the honour to sit on the jury for the most prestigious of Swedish fashion awards, the Guldknappen (Golden Button), which was instigated in 1981 by Damernas Värld (Ladies’ World), a Swedish fashion magazine for women.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the prize and no, I can’t tell you it goes to! But what I can tell you is that Nordiska Museet is holding an exhibition based on all the designers who’ve won the award over the years. You can see the list here, not exactly household names from an international perspective (although if you’re in the fashion business you might have heard of for example Jonny Johansson of Acne, Filippa Knutsson of Filippa K, Lars Nilsson who was head designer for Bill Blass and Nina Ricci, Ann-Sofie Back and perhaps Marcel Marongiu).
The interesting thing is that the award goes to a collection, not a designer life’s work, and therefore the collection represents Swedish fashion that particular year. Damernas Värld has been saving all of them for posterity, making Guldknappen a unique summary and survey of Swedish fashion and the times. In 2008 they were donated to Nordiska Museet where they form the basis for the exhibition..
Guldknappen 1981-2011 opens on June 10 and the idea is to try to show what it means to be a fashion designer beyond the glitz and the glamour. I’ve known many fashion designers who complain that the fashion world isn’t glamorous at all, so I guess this will please them.
Visitors will learn how fashion design is often a shoestring budget operation and hopefully this will earn designers some respect. After all, it’s even more impressing that they can create beauty without the means of an international luxury house at their disposal.
In August, this year’s winner will be announced together with the winner of the recently instigated Guldknappen for accessory design. See you at the party!