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

© Text, translation 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.

Text by Anne Kristin Moe, from the New book Broderte Bunader.

In 1914 Hulda Garborg launched a design of an embroidered bunad from Valdres. The embroidery pattern she had discovered was from an old velvet bonnet, and the bunad itself looked totally different from the clothes that were previously used in the area. The dress made in dark shades of cloth, with matching embroidery on the bodice and apron, were not Hulda Garborgs invention. In Sunnmøre similar costumes were used in the second half of the 1800s, long before there were any garments called “bunad”. But the aesthetic ideal, that the Sunnmøre bunads and the Valdres bunad represented, was going  be a guideline for how the bunads were made in the next 100 years. This, to the extent that people would use designs from both wood carvings and rose paintings in order to create an embroidered bunad from their hometown.

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.

Visit the new web site for:  www.duranpublishing.com

Beautiful interiors and ladies made up in the style of the past.

 © Text and photo Laila Duran

When I first started to think about how to present the Norwegian embroidered bunads in the best way, my first thought was to make sure they were shot in the right settings. The bunads were often inspired by the embroidery on rural cloting but they were made, and at first mainly used, in the cities. This is why you will find some spectacular interiors in the new book “Broderte Bunader”. Work from famous artists and carpenters, such as Kinsarvik, are found in several museums and even some private homes. I have been very lucky to get access to these rooms, and sometimes even large apartments.

My second though was to give the models a look that would bring to mind the way the ladies were photographed at the beginning of the 20st century. Photography was new then. Many went with friends on week-end trips in their finest costume and everybody wanted to have their photo taken. The ladies with their hair all done up, and most of them in a shy pose, in front of the camera – I love that. For this reason you will find my models resembling in style the ladies from past times.

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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: kkoop@vesterheim.org Norwegian and Swedish reader can order it from:  laila@duranpublishing.com

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