If you remember wandering by old, fusty men’s tailor shops and noticing the big-cat-face Tiger of Sweden logo in the window, you may be scratching your head at the recent appearance of their super-sleek boutiques both on Ossington Avenue, Toronto’s corridor of cool, and near Ogilvy’s in Montreal. So, in the name of investigation, at the end of January when slush still slopped against our boots, I traded Toronto for another wintry city and set off to visit Stockholm Fashion Week.
First of all, you didn’t hallucinate those old tailor-shop logos. Tiger of Sweden spent years in a liminal region of reliable mid-priced men’s suiting. It was established in 1903, when the country was a hub for textile production. Twenty years ago, it relaunched as a street-inflected label. But now, Tiger—as it’s known by the young team that produces and promotes it—is riding the interest in Scandinavian style to offer a complete wardrobe, globally, for the H&M graduate with a career that pays (and requires zippered leather pencil skirts).
In Stockholm, an underlying coolitude reverberates through the company headquarters’ linked rooms of Scandinaviana, all bustling in preparation for the show.
It’s a prime-slot extravaganza with blonde and burnished Swedish fashionistas packing the front row next to electro duo-of-the-moment Icona Pop. Confetti rains down on the encore walk, and the entire crowd regroups at a hip nearby restaurant to indulge in copious meatballs and bottles of champagne (not kidding).
The clothes are sexy but always menswear influenced—womenswear launched in 1997 and has only just grown into a full offering. “There is always tailoring in the collection,” says Shena Neville, head of womenswear design with Tine Grandahl (the former is Welsh, the latter is Danish). “The task for us [is to] link that heritage with something contemporary,” says Grandahl.
For fall, that meant razor-sharp cigarette pants and modish shift dresses made new with oversize sweaters, long-tailed tuxedo shirts, and one very hot low-V jumpsuit. And the outerwear! Calf-length overcoats in smooth black and nubbly grey, two car coats—one in a deep wine red, another in a ’70s off-olive green—and the final look: a white trouser suit topped by a heavy shearling coat. Suddenly Tiger’s Canadian colonization made sense: If anyone knows winter like we do, it’s the Swedes. What strikes me in Stockholm? Their cold-weather provisioning is significantly more stylish. We Canucks would do well to follow suit.