I was waiting with some of my Iceland friends for our food to be prepared at my favorite restaurant in Iceland called, “Glo”. While we were patiently waiting for our salads to be made, being the California shopping expert that I am, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, this small boutique shop next to Glo with some great coats in the store window. I immediately bee-lined straight for the store, thinking that if the clothes in the window are any reflection on what I might find inside the store, then I had indeed found a gold mine! I excitedly walked in, and there, designing away on her sewing machine, was one of the friendliest women that I had the to pleasure to meet while in Iceland named Adalheidur Thorhallsdottir. Try saying that quickly 10 times!

Upon entering her store, Adalheidur immediately stopped what she was doing to ask what I was looking for and could she help me?

“Not sure” was my reply.

Adalheidur immediately sized me up and started pointing out different items on her rack that she thought I would like. The challenge for me was immediate! Everything she showed me was exactly what I loved. Her styles were so unique and the quality of each piece was impeccable. On top of that, her prices were totally reasonable! Everything she showed me was a designer piece with a non-designer price tag.

“Bulls eye!”

It was clear to me, after seeing her clothes, and spending a little time listening to her passionately tell me about her background, why Adalheidur is well known in Iceland for designing the dresses for Miss Iceland, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the past first lady of Iceland, Gudrun Katrin, and so many others.

She proudly explained to me her designs are unique and artistic and very youthful and classy all at the same time. She utilizes a wide range of colors and I was pleased to see that unlike many Iceland designers, everything she designed wasn’t only gray and black, but also rich reds and purples and other colors as well.

Adalheidur went on to tell me that she has been sewing and designing clothes since she was a young girl and that her mother was a professional dressmaker and that was why design was so second nature for her. She explained that she has always been very interested in fashion design.

“I think it is in my blood’ she told me.

“I have studied fashion design and sewing since 1973 and have worked professionally with that ever since.

“My boutique and my designs name is “LIN & LIST” and I sell my designs such as belts and handbags made out of leather and fish skin, along with my custom-made fashion clothes for my many loyal customers. They keep coming back because I always style them uniquely for them”.

I left Aldaheidur’s shop with a big grin on my face and wearing a number of her wonderful pieces.

The moment I walked back to the restaurant, my friends that I was dining with, squealed in delight as I modeled all of the beautiful clothes that I had purchased.

Their reaction echoed what I already knew to be true, this was just the first of many times that I would visit Adalheidur ‘s incredible boutique!

Then, after venturing into the artsy district of Reykjavik, I finally came upon another incredible clothing store called Nostrum Design that also used the colors that I loved to wear, rich purples and bright reds, and beautiful blues. I noticed immediately that Nostrum’s designs were also very well made. In Icelandic, Nostrum means doing something with care and meticulousness which is the guiding light of the company’s designers.

The company was founded in 2007 by three textile teachers, Arna, Hulda and Sigrùn Dóra. They had all taught for a number of years and worked on their designs individually. Prior to founding the company, they attended a course on innovative enterprises at the Icelandic Innovation Center, where they earned a special prize for their unique designes.

Like Adaheidur’s clothes, Nostrum Design clothes are made from quality materials that make those who wear them feel good about themselves. I bought the most unique red wool sweater with an attached collar with lace around the edge. Everytime I wear it, everyone asks me where did I get it. It’s really great because it’s so versatile, I can either wear it with jeans or dress it up and it definitely has the designer look. In one of the pictures you can see me in this black taffeta like skirt I bought. I’ve worn it so much it’s about to fall off of me! What I loved about Nostrum, is that they offer a variety of dresses, sweaters, vests, capes and other accessories made of fine wool. Nothing is mass-produced and they are always at hand making the service personal and pleasant. U.S. designers take note…excellent service is “in!’

For more information for Adalheidur go to: http://www.internet.is/linoglist

For more information about Nostrum, go to www.nostrum.is

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