Real Girl Wardrobes - Halla Hannesdóttir

26 August 2015

This week I'd like you to meet Halla Hannesdóttir, an artist and object maker from Reykjavik, Iceland. Halla and I met through our partners, who are close friends from high school days. I've always admired Halla's colourful and bold outfits, and have since discovered that they're partly inspired by her love of Wes Anderson films :)

Today, the 30-year-old shares what it's like to dress for two different hemispheres, what you'll find in her handbag, and how she's preparing for her wedding in Iceland next year.

How would you describe your everyday style?

I like to surround myself with lots of colour, so my wardrobe is quite influenced by that. I've got lots of colourful clothing, primarily items in my favourite colour - yellow! I like to wear a lot of second-hand clothing or items that have been passed on to me by family. I also try and live by Vivienne Westwood’s philosophy when it comes to shopping, and try to choose well and make it last. When I make new purchases I like to imagine myself wearing them in a few years time. Lots of my clothes are quite flowy and loose so I can feel comfortable in lots of different situations and wear them a lot.

Would you say your wardrobe is particularly Icelandic in any way?

It's hard to say. There's a lot of individual personality displayed in Icelandic style, not that that's exclusive to the country. But I think because Reykjavik is a small town it might be easy to portray a message through an outfit as you might be bumping into the same people quite a lot. Perhaps my exaggerated use of colour might be influenced by that. 

The climate in Australia is really different to where you grew up, how has that changed your wardrobe? And do you have two wardrobes, one for Europe and one for Australia?

I always regret leaving all my winter clothes in Iceland when it comes to wintertime here in Australia - I never expect it to get so cold! The cold in Iceland didn't really stop me from wearing all my summer dresses, I'd just wear them with stockings and a jumper. So it hasn't changed much, mainly I'm a bit more casual here in Australia.

I'd love to know what influences your style, whether it's films, design, particular people or magazines?

I'm mostly influenced by people’s personalities and although I might not want the same wardrobe, I admire when people break out of the norm. I love Ilana's style on Broad City - she definitely inspires me to be more creative with my outfits. And I just read Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Net and was so influenced by her intuitive outlook on life, which I feel is quite apparent in her style. But mainly I'd just like to live and look like a character in a Wes Anderson movie.  

Is there an item or a colour that you find yourself gravitating towards and buying over and over?

Yellow! It always catches my eye, although there's plenty of yellow clothing out there that's not to my liking. When I find a perfect fit that includes yellow, it makes me quite happy. I actually just made my first e-bay purchase of this amazing second-hand Kenzo jumper dress. I smile every time I look at it - it's got a beaded tiger on the front. I'm also really drawn to dapper men's style shoes and high-waisted pants and skirts.

Being a designer and someone who rides around Sydney, are there practical considerations to what you wear each day?

Bike shorts! Cause I still wear dresses and skirts when I'm riding my bike. One of my favourite past times is walking and going on weekend hikes - so I always like to have a pair of comfy sneakers and good mountain boots. When we have visitors from Iceland I like to do a hike in the Blue Mountains or go to the Royal National Park. And when I'm back in Iceland I like to be outdoors with my family. My mother started signing up for proper mountain hikes a few years ago and has now walked the highest mountain in Iceland. I hope one day I'll do the same!

I'd love to know how you get dressed of a morning.

I'm not a morning person so I try to spend as much time in bed as I can before I start running late. So I don't spend much time thinking about what to wear. I will usually dress according to my mood, grab something and get out of the house. If I don't wear anything too colourful I might put on yellow shoes or accessories.

What's your approach to hair and make-up?

Oh, I'm pretty lazy in that department. I tend to forget that my hair needs cutting and do it about every two years. As for make-up, I don't wear much but I do tend to have a lipstick lying around in my purse for a bit of dazzle, in case I feel like it or end up going out for dinner.

What about accessories? I love your Icelandic scarf with giant hands on each end.

I love my yellow scarf too - one of my favourite things about winter is getting to wear it every day. My sister's got one in pink, they're made by an Icelandic brand Vík Prjónsdóttir, they make super nice woollen stuff and their blankets are especially amazing!

I'm constantly on a mission for hats and sunnies but have yet to find the perfect ones. I had a really nice pair of second-hand sunnies my dad bought me but they just broke, so I desperately need new ones. My handbags are usually quite bright and I tend to wear them out quite quickly as they need to be big enough to store all the stuff I carry around with me all the time - the book I'm reading, my diary and a sketchbook, as well as a  pencil case and the usual necessities; wallet, keys and sometimes my camera too!

As a fellow glasses wearer, I'm interested in how often you change your frames, and whether you favour particular colours and shapes?

I've only ever had two pairs of frames so my approach is really getting something that will last. My last pair were a totally different shape from the ones I have now - they were pink and a lot smaller. It took me ages to find the pair I'm using now, a good six months before I settled on these Moscot ones - but it's been five years and I still love them!

I found shopping for a wedding dress both exciting and stressful - how is it going for you?

Your wedding dress was so pretty, and so you! I'm pretty relaxed about the dress at the moment and haven't really started looking properly, probably because we're moving and it's unlikely I'll get it here. For now I'm mostly excited about all the accessories I'm getting for the day, stuff I can keep using after the wedding. I'm doing a lot of shoe browsing at the moment and I'm also super excited about Brendan getting a really nice tailor-made suit. 

I'd love to know what you wear everyday, say to uni?

When I go to uni, I'll usually be working in the studio and I tend to wear more comfortable, darker clothes as it gets quite messy. I'll dress up a bit more for other days when I'm writing to make up for studio days. Unless I've been in the studio, there's not much difference between what I wear day-to-day and to go out but I'll put on a nice pair of shoes and some red lipstick. 

What about if you’re going to a wedding? 

I love to dress up, so I love to go to weddings. At the moment I have two dresses that I alternate for those kinds of celebrations, a bright yellow Karla Spetic dress that I wore to your and Tony's wedding and a dress made by an Icelandic brand called KronKron

And finally, what do you wear on a lazy Sunday?

For my ideal Sunday I wouldn't even get dressed, I’d stay in my pyjamas and read, eat and draw all day.

Thank you Halla! And good luck with the big move ahead - at the end of next month Halla and her fiancé will move to the UK and settle in Budapest in 2016. She'll be a big step closer to living a Wes Anderson life :) You can follow Halla on Instagram, and take a peek inside her studio. She also has a blog for her film photography, called Olympus and I.

You can find more Real Girl Wardrobe interviews here.

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