Iceland, that mysterious, faraway home of top kookster Bjork, erupting geysirs and corruptors of finance. Anything more? Yes, surprise home of the trendy capitol of Reykjavik, where amongst many things of the hip variety we find the unpronounceable menswear label Kormákur & Skjöldur. Like the country, the garments they produce are rugged and rough, with surprising twists and surprises. They definitely have a macho edge to them, yet with a quite striking amount of elegance. Like being punched in the face by fist wearing a velvet glove? There is definitely violence behind the scenes here, even if the brute is immaculately attired.
The materials include a lot of tweed, at least some of which is the noble Harris Tweed. Can’t go wrong there! Having visited Iceland I can confirm that like the Hebrides, the Icelandic landscape follows a similar palette of rustic, earthy colour tones. Unusually K& S also mix in a mustard flavour that really stands out. There is also an amount of leather and fur. I’m not sure I’m totally on board with this aspect, at least in the form of the leather girdle, as it doesn’t strike me as something that would work too well in daily use. It does making for attention-grabbing photos though.
The company started back in 1997, when Kormákur Geirharðson and Skjöldur Sigurjónsson opened a shop in Reykjavik called Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar,(literally Mens Clothes shop Kormaks & Skjaldar), a menswear store that became the top place for British fashion in Iceland. In 2010, they decided it was time to launch their own label, again named after themself, Kormákur & Skjöldur. Their sartorial angle is a modern take on classic menswear, with a strong manly flavour and a visual profile that is distinctly their own.
In an earlier collection, lead-designer Guðmundi Jörundssyni provided a threatening backdrop with rough-looking models in a slaughter house scenario, as follows:
Their latest collection, from which I’ve selected my favorite photos below, includes vests, girdles, trench coats, tweed suits and waistcoats (yes, I want one!). The collection has been described as showing the Icelandic man with a “shy roughness covered in a sartorial style”. The inclusion of fur and leather brings a possible savage viking tradition to mind, although the leather girdle puts me more in mind of some “50 shades of grey” chicanery.
Can you feel it? Best book a trip to Reykjavik, as they only sell in their own shop there. Exclusive!