Sweden: A land of hairdressers and writers

Sweden's capital Stockholm is full of hairdressers and writers, and sometimes even writers in hairdressers. And it can be a disturbing city when you're a bald Frenchman who happens to be a writer, observes Luis de Miranda.

Sweden: A land of hairdressers and writers

As a bald French writer exiled in Stockholm since last year, I have rapidly noticed that 50 percent of the Swedish population is either a hairdresser or a writer – or both.

In Stockholm, there is a frisör every fifty metres, where you usually find a lonely person getting a blond hair colour or a new cut, while reading the newspaper.

In the newspaper you will find many articles about people who engage in many different activities but who are also often designated as författare (writer): Sven Svensson, actor and författare; Camilla Johansson, yoga instructor and författare; Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister and författare.

It seems that any kind of printed material entitles you to be a författare, and some daily newspapers need to display book reviews in every edition in order to keep the pace and make all the författare happy.

Let’s be honest: I can understand that everybody agrees to call everybody else

a writer – that is an interesting form of collective vanity – but why so many

hairdressers? Some say it’s about money laundering. Or is it also about vanity?

People want to have nice blond hair and it is understandable. But as a bald French writer, I simply don’t exist here in Sweden: having little hair makes me invisible and

being a writer makes me very common.

I am considering wearing a wig and stopping my Swedish classes in order to remain relatively illiterate in the language of Swedenborg (no, this is not the name of my hairdresser). I shall refrain from writing even the slightest memoir on beard shaving.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I love Sweden and the Swedes. I respect any författare, any frisör, and I like fika, folkhem, filmjölk and feminism…

Sweden is just…fantastic.

Luis de Miranda is a French novelist, philosopher, editor and film director who has been in Stockholm for a year. He is also bald.

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J. Lindeberg turns relaxing into a job

The women took a subdued back seat in J. Lindeberg's latest offering, as the boys paraded in plums, khaki and midnight blue ensembles that evoked more adventurous climes than Stockholm's.

There was a dishevelled gentleman aspect to J. Lindeberg’s men on Monday as they took to the catwalks. Fabrics were rich both in texture and hue, but the outfits either played with tones of the same colour, or clashed them somewhat – as though said gentleman had packed his suitcase to travel to the Copacabana in a bit of hurry and ended up with colour combos that his Lutheran Swedish mother might find rather… let’s say disconcerting or at least outlandish.

The plum tones have survived from the brand’s WW13 offering, and it’s a note that strikes a nice contrast to the pink that we ladies have been told to meet the autumn chill with in over-sized coats.

IN PICTURES: Take a seat by the catwalk and see the models parade

The androgynous aspect of Stockholm streets was very much in evidence, as it was last season – there’s no huge divide between J. Lindeberg’s women and men, apart from the odd dress. And that this season, the women stay subdued in beige and black – the men are the jewels.

It was, it should be noted, a young gentleman that J. Lindeberg presented. School-uniform length shorts and every so slightly too tight blazers. A rucksack on a grown man is handy, if not elegant.

A pocket handkerchief aged on man’s demeanour, but with sports tote and trainers the key note was still relaxed rather than business as usual – unless relaxed is your business.

Ann Törnkvist

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