The opening of the exhibition – The Ice Crystal Princess vol. II – Sustainable Heritage – was at the national museum of Greenland on January 21st 2017, during culture night Greenland, and on January 23rd, NAPA organised a panel debate about the exhibition in small hall in Katuaq Cultural Centre.

The Ice Crystal Princess vol. II – Sustainable Heritage is a project that seeks to understand the inspirational process behind a fashion designer’s work when he is inspired by fashion from a different culture – what are the consequences for the culture by which he is inspired and what are the results of that inspiration? Cultural history in every society is ever evolving and in small societies – such as the Greenlandic society – room for new cultural expressions is pivotal for getting in touch with the rest of the world.

In 1998 – after the tragic death of founder of Versace, Gianni Versace – the Danish haute couture designer Jørgen Simonsen, found himself headhunted for the job as new chief designer for the fashion house. During his initial interviews, Jørgen Simonsen presented his collection The Ice Crystal Princess which showed cross inspiration between the Greenlandic Inuit culture – especially the national costume – and the biker culture. The collection was well received and became the first haute couture collection presented by Atelier Versace after the death of Gianni Versace.

Jørgen Simonsen had never been to Greenland but the collection was well received by the international fashion press. However the collection never reached the Greenlandic public and did thus not trigger a response. In 2010, the Danish fashion designer Peter Jensen launched a collection called Jytte, also inspired by the Greenlandic national costume which stirred controversy in Greenland : Peter’s knee-length boots which were clearly inspired by West Greenlandic women’s camiks triggered a sharp response from some Greenlandic people in shape of hate-mails and even death threats. Others were excited about the collection and saluted the international fashion designer for having discovered the beautiful national costume.

The beginning

The project was launched in June 2016 when Jørgen Simonsen together with Swedish film producer Niklas Croall came on his first visit to Greenland. Now, the designer has been to Greenland on two occasions and initiated cooperations with Great Greenland, Kittat sewing room, The National Costume School and Greenland National Museum, thus getting a first hand insight of the country and culture.

During his visits in Nuuk and Sisimiut, Jørgen has held workshops for young designers and students in how to sketch their ideas and publish them to a wider audience.

The Partners

In collaboration with NAPA – The Nordic Institute in Greenland, The National Costume School and Greenland National Museum, Jørgen will thus create 5 new silhouttes based on the original drawings of the Ice Crystal Princess. Jørgen is the designer and the costumes will be created through first-of-its-kind close cooperation between Jørgen, Kittat and The National Costume School.

On Culture Night in Greenland 2017, the original drawings of the Ice Crystal Princess, photos from the Versace show of the original collection and the 5 new silhouettes will be exhibited in Greenland National Museum. The exhibition will give visitors an insight of how the original national costume has inspired Jørgen in his works. A panel discussion will be held and visitors invited to discuss the project and its inherent issues. In continuation of the exhibition and panel discussion, NAPA – together with Swedish photographer Niklas Croall – will launch a documentary on the process behind the project and the encounters between the Greenlandic culture and the international fashion world.

The Ice Crystal Princess Vol. II is funded by  Nordic Culture Point, The Sermeq Fund, NAPA – The Nordic Institute of Greenland, Visit Greenland, Royal Arctic Line, The Christmas Seal Foundation, Great Greenland, Hotel Arctic, World of Greenland, Ittu.net, The Greenlandic Lottery Fund, The Government of Greenland, and Nordic Culture Fund.

Watch a short teaser about the project.

Udstillingskatalog Iskrystalprinsessen

Project manager : Katja Vahl / katja@napa.gl