A week ago I could not claim to have a favorite store in Iceland’s capitol but today I can. Kraum is a collection of woolens, jewelry, purses, furnishings, and clothing, from more than 60 Icelandic artists and it is all displayed beautifully in the oldest house in Reykjavik. It’s more modern museum where you can buy the displays than average store. And in keeping with this idea, the shop also does museum exhibits.
This shop is a bounty of strange. The sweaters are nothing like the traditional Icelandic stuff (which are also very beautiful). The aesthetic is ultra-modern meets rock, lava, sheep, and sea. The dresses knitted from local yarns drape, cling, and flow in an unconventional, all-natural goth. The shoes from horse leather are high-fashion. There is a series of jewelry where local lava and other stones are melded with silver, a necklace made of silver and fur, and a series of bags made from the most incredible fish leather.
Each and every item in this place made me wonder if there is a design school in Reykjavik that encourages this incredible innovation. But I think it may be just that Icelanders—whipped at breakneck speed from desperately rural to cultured urban in the last 30 years—just see things differently.
This is an incredible shop and if you are ever in Reykjavik, I encourage you to bring your credit card and do some damage to it. In the meanwhile, though, Kraum does sell through their Web site. Though there is no English on the site, there are lots of photos and, if you call the store, all the shopkeepers speak excellent English and tell me they will happily pack up and sell over the phone.