Category: Details in Fashion

“Bunad” comes of the Old Norwegian word “bunadr” meaning “clothing”.

© Text and photo by Laila Durán.

Many visitors to Norway believes that the famous bunads are a very old type of garment. Well, the word bunad is, but the festive costumes more than 60% of all norwegians have in their wardrobe today is, historically speaking, a rather new phenomenon. Like in most countries, norwegians wore folk costumes until the industrial revolution put an end to small scale production and people on the country side became strongly infuenced by the continental fashion in the cities.

All over Scandinavia, this occured during the second half of the 19th century, and slowly the use of folk costumes faded. Still, some areas with a very strong tradition, used their costumes until the end of the century when a new movement started to look for preservation of what was considered to be “genuine norwegian”. This is when the bunad was created.

Below, to the right, is a photo of the embroidered velvet bonnet from beginning of the 18th century used to design the embroidery on the first Valdres bunad. In the new book Broderte Bunader you will find photos of many originals that inspired the new era of festive costumes: the embroidered bunads.

The Old Norwegian language is the language Norwegians spoke in the Viking Age, and the word “bunad” derives from “bunadr” which simply means “clothing”.

The book “Broderte Bunader” is made in cooperation with Norsk Folkemuseum.

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A peek at one of the bunads in the new book “Populære Bunader”

 © Text and photo Laila Durán.

More than thirty different bunads from eighteen areas in Norway are shown in the booklet Populære Bunader. There is a map for every bunad and a short historical summary including the year the bunad was designed and put in to production. Here are some of the pages.

This beautiful embroidered bunad was designed by the painter and artist Alf Lundeby. He was born in 1870 and is famous for his naturalistic paintings. His work is exhibited at Nasjonalmuseet/Nasjonalgalleriet in Oslo.

The bunad is originally from Lillehammer and is called the Lundeby bunad, named after the painter Alf Lundeby who designed it and later presented it to a lady friend at the beginning of the 1930s. The bunad was not supposed to come into production, but it soon became popular throughout Oppland and Sør-Odal.
-  The artist was inspired by the stylized embroidery on folk costumes from the 1700s and transferred the patterns to the bunad. It has a tight bodice and pleated skirt, which was common in folk costumes in the south of Norway in the 1800s. The same embroidered design is used over the whole dress, but the colours can vary leaving room for personal taste. With the bunad, which is made in blue, black or off-white cloth, there is a matching small cap and an embroidered pocket. It is used with a white shirt trimmed with lace and a jacket with no embroidery.

American readers can pre-order the book from Vesterheim Museum book shop: Norwegian and Swedish reader can order it from: