As mentioned in a previous post, Reykjavik surprised me with its huge selection of indie and local designers who's boutiques were mostly situated on the main shopping artery of Laugavegur. And the most wonderful thing about Icelandic fashion was the variety: from bold and colorful, to quirky and fun, to dark and gothic - you'll find anything to suit your taste. Andersen & Lauth was one of the few labels that had a more traditional approach and a long heritage that stemmed from its history as the first tailoring house in Reykjavik, opened in 1908 by Ludvig Andersen. Over a 100 years later the revamped label (established in 1934) is still going strong, producing beautiful vintage inspired, romantic clothing in the best quality.
Before I even had the chance to view the clothing up close, I instantly fell in love with the decor of the store, which already gives a strong indication of the collections you'll find there. Even though the boutique was very spacious, with racks only situated against the wall, the interiors felt warm and inviting. The details seemed to have been chosen with great care: large rustic tables, an antique looking sofa, beautiful cabinets and of course the most eye-catching element of all: the fake fireplace with the stag head above it. The garments are made with even more care. Most pieces are handmade and designed in the style and spirit of production methods of the 19th century. While Andersen & Lauth favors the Victorian era, the collections span a variety of periods, with the women's range generally featuring feminine draping, elfin silhouettes and elaborate materials. The menswear has a romantic dandy feel to it, while also incorporating the vibe of Reykjavik's eclectic music scene.
According to the company manifesto, Andersen & Lauth is a romantic journey through time with a strong belief that all women deserve beautiful things made with love and passion. Browsing through the pieces, this sentiment was evident and I was quite taken with the superior quality and the intricate details. There are basics of course, that include simpler cotton dresses, tailored trousers and fine knits. Among these, you'll also find items from the capsule 'Atelier' collection which is entirely handmade in Andersen & Lauth workshops and utilizes ancient techniques of embroidery or stitching. The official blog provides fascinating insights into the production process. The pieces reflect the company's love for old-fashioned workmanship and in some cases feature more traditional materials, such as vintage lace. But if you fear the clothing my look dated, no worries. The shapes and cuts are modern, timeless and won't leave you looking like your granny.
The boutique as seen from the back. The large wooden table featured basics and smaller items. Pastel shades dominated the racks.
Most of the looks I sighted were from the SS11 collection, titled 'Poetic Couture', which mirrors the Andersen & Lauth aesthetic perfectly. I'm not really a 'romantic' type when it comes to style, but found myself falling for the pastel colored dresses and the delicate cardigans. The FW11 collection is slightly more up my alley with its chunky knits and dark sequined gowns inspired by the 20s flapper style.
Yes, I could live here. The gorgeous fireplace area (left) and the very spacious changing rooms (right image: Andersen & Lauth).
Select items were hung from walls like works of art (left) and more traditional artwork featuring old images of the shop/atelier and inspiration shots (right).
If you happen to be shopping with a guy, definitely head to the menswear store next door, which is filled with very cool suits, coats and jackets - all impeccably tailored of course.
The pricing is surprisingly decent, considering the handmade quality of the items. If you want a bargain, there's a 'vintage' store down the street which sells past-season collections for a fraction of the price. Yoox also stocks previous collections for a steal. Supposedly Andersen & Lauth is available in over 30 countries, though I couldn't find too many details on their official website, so keep your eyes peeled. Alexa Chung (who's snapped up a few nude colored dresses) and other celebs are already huge fans, so I'm sure the label will be popping up everywhere in the very near future. And if you're ever in Reykjavik, the boutiques are the best place to escape the cold and indulge in a bit of cozy warm retail therapy.
A home decor range is available as well, featuring mainly embroidered cushions and other smaller items (images: Andersen & Lauth).Address: Laugavegur 7, 101 Reykjavik
Andersen & Lauth Homepage