Arts & Culture News

In Honor of H&M, Seven Other Stylish Swedish Exports

It's official. H&M is opening in NorthPark at noon on August 18, and before you start doing back-flips because you can finally buy your favorite black pants for under $30, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank Sweden for being home to the king of fashionable and cheap retailers. Without you, Sweden, where would we go for inexpensive yet trendy blouses that make our kids jealous? Maybe Target, but that's not as cool with the kids.

Sure you've bestowed us with a few gifts we wish we could return (Ikea and ABBA come to mind), but, Sweden, you just don't get recognized as often you should for your international contributions. So, we've compiled a list of the most stylish exports to come from the most cosmopolitan Scandinavian nation.

Ingrid Bergman Bergman starred in over 50 films on the big and small screens, but she's most beloved for the 1942 classic, Casablanca. Not only was she a babe, she was talented and bankable. As Cary Grant said, "There are only seven movie stars in the world whose name alone will induce American bankers to lend money for movie productions, and the only woman on the list is Ingrid Bergman."

Robyn The pop singer has been making great music for almost 17 years and looking quite fashionable while doing it. The lady can dress, and she's not afraid to rock some outfits that some of us could never pull off. And her half-shaved pixie haircut? Too cool for us to try, but we applaud her for having the balls to do it.

Volvo In 1927, the car manufacturer rolled out its first car at an assembly-line factory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since then, Volvo has become the preferred vehicle for the safety-conscious and stylish. The company should also be applauded for uniting drivers of all ages. We were never embarrassed to borrow mom's Volvo sedan in high school. The station wagon, however, was a different story.

Swedish Finish Hardwood Floors Conversion varnish, typically known as Swedish finish, is considered one of the best sealants for hardwood floors available today. The varnish is provides a smooth finish and lasts much longer than any wax or finish on the market. Thank you, Sweden, for appreciating glossy flooring just as much as we do.

Filippa K Sure, H&M is the choice retailer for affordable clothing, but Filippa K is the Swedish favorite for chic designer duds that are a little more pricey, but not anywhere near couture prices. Plus, you can get a T-shirt for around $16, so take that, Olsen twins. Hundreds of retailers in Europe and North America carry the line, including Fred Segal in Los Angeles. Filippa K's first U.S. store opened in 2008 in San Fransisco, so we're starting the campaign for a location in Dallas: "More Stylish Swedes in the Big D!"

Carl Larsson The painter known for his watercolors was a part of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Sweden, and his most celebrated works are his fairy-tale scenes of domesticity and landscapes dotted with cherubic children. Larsson's most controversial work was "Midvinterblot," which was rejected four times by the king of Sweden after being commissioned for the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. The painting depicts the sacrifice of King Domalde, a legend in Norse mythology, but critics claimed Larsson had taken too many artistic liberties in painting "Midvinterblot." The controversy finally ended in 1997 when the Nationalmuseum finally purchased the painting, only 78 years after the artist's death.

Björn Borg The former tennis player won five consecutive Wimbledon titles and 11 Grand Slam titles, all while looking like a total fox. With his long, golden mane and boyish good looks, it's no surprise that he garnered international recognition. After retiring from tennis, Borg disappeared amidst rumors of a drug overdose, but he found a new career in the late 1980s as a clothing designer. Borg's sexy line of clothing and underwear is quite popular in Sweden, where he's become a national icon.

Honorable Mention: The Swedish Chef We can't understand a word you say, but we'd love to have dinner with you.

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