- Gaela Braun
- Portrait by
- Bjorn Iooss
The Swedish fashion entrepreneur Elin Kling, well-known for her celebrated style site, gets set to expand her portfolio this spring with the launch of Totême, a line of twenty ready-to-wear classics designed in collaboration with her partner Karl Lindman, the art director of Interview. In an exclusive conversation with The Last Magazine, the pair discuss their inspirations, the label’s timeless æsthetic, and how a natural disaster served as their catalyst.
“Our goal is not to be the new Nicolas Ghesquière, but rather to be curators of a way of dressing,” says Karl Lindman, art director of Interview, who is set to launch new line Totême this spring with his partner, Swedish fashion maverick Elin Kling. The pair’s separate backgrounds form an ideal combination, with Kling bringing expertise from her acclaimed personal style blog and collaborations with the likes of H&M and Lindman contributing branding and marketing know-how by way of his prior position at advertising firm Baron & Baron. The end result offers a fresh, entrepreneurial perspective to the women’s luxury sportswear market. “I’ve always dreamed of creating my own brand,” says Kling, the creative director of Totême, whose ideas and inspirations are central to each of the twenty ready-to-wear pieces that comprise the Spring 2014 collection. “After my other collaborations, I felt that it was time, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. Then Hurricane Sandy happened.”
The concept of Totême was born when Kling found herself with only ten minutes to pack in total darkness after the power went out for an unexpected weeklong trip to Los Angeles. “I thought, Why don’t I have the perfect summer dress for vacation like I have my go-to denim and cashmere sweaters?” says Kling. “I realized that’s what I should do. I was craving a brand that I could feel comfortable and strong in year-round.” From easy separates like piqué polos, tank tops, and linen button-up shirts to breezy dresses, tailored shorts, and trousers for day-to-night, Totême’s début collection is a modern take on classic American sportswear with an effortless, European sensibility. “I love a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, but I want to wear it in an updated way,” says Kling. A few standout pieces include an off-white, long-sleeve V-neck sweater with British racing green accenting the collar, a cozy, cotton-cashmere crewneck tee, and a knee-length, formfitting piqué polo dress. The palette is primarily neutral with beige-grey, navy, and white dominating, while hints of bright colors like a Seventies-inspired orange-red add a pop of color.
Although catering to the woman on-the-go who desires stylish but comfortable silhouettes, the collection is sleek, minimal, and feminine mixed with Kling’s signature insouciant æsthetic. “I’m very over the boyfriend shirt, the boyfriend sweater, the boyfriend denim. We’re living in 2014. Let’s make clothes for women,” says Kling. “We don’t need to borrow from our boyfriends.” As the moniker suggests, each of the calculated selection of essentials builds upon the next to form a timeless wardrobe. The collections will be released four times a year through the line’s e-commerce website and inspirational platform. “The Totême woman is not a slave to the trends,” explains Kling. “It’s all about her attitude and how she wears it.”
Totême will be available May 5 at Toteme-NYC.com.
Gaela Braun is a New-York based writer and reporter. She has contributed to The Last Magazine since 2011.