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Björk’s atypical look, sound and sartorial instinct has always stood out in fashion and music circles (her much-critiqued Swan Dress landed the Iceland-born pop star on
worst-dressed lists everywhere). She has also served as inspiration for a league of gentlemen including her husband, contemporary artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney, and fellow
fashion rule-breakers Alexander McQueen and Jeremy Scott with whom she has collaborated.
Hotel 101 is Reykjavik’s coolest boutique hotel decked out in sleek furniture and a monochromatic palette thanks to designer Ingibjörg S. Pálmadóttir, an Iceland native and Parsons School of Design grad. Decor is sparse but there’s no shortage of culture: Walls are covered with contemporary art and to accommodate more artists, the hotel opened its very own gallery around the corner. If you’re feeling chilled after snowmobiling on a glacier, warm up by ordering a bowl of the restaurant’s fish soup. Sip it in the lounge where oak floors, frothy throws and a roaring fireplace give it an après ski feel (hotel101.is).
Dine and drink
Icelandic Fish and Chips is the spot for your introduction to Icelandic cuisine. Go for lunch and order the tree hugger’s take on fish and chips: the organic catch of the day (plucked from the harbour across the street) comes battered in spelt and barley flour, with a side of baked fries brushed with olive oil (fishandchips.is).
If Reykjavik’s nightlife is a song, it would definitely be Björk’s
Hyperballad. After pre-drinking (cocktail prices can be prettym steep, so many Icelanders save their Kronas by kicking things off at home), masses of hipsters that resemble a one-part Emo band members and two-parts H&M models pour onto the streets turning the vibe into what feels like a frenzied city-wide pub crawl. Build up your stamina before the chaos ensues by booking a table at Fish Market for dinner. A former fixture at Nobu’s London outpost, the young chef (she’s only 29-years-old) fuses Asian ingredients with local seafood for a meal that makes you want to boycott the sushi bars back home. As you’re hopping from bar to bar, check out Iceland’s music scene by heading to NASA. Its unmarked door is easy to miss, but grab cocktail at the venue where The Sugarcubes (Björk’s first band) debuted; plus hear the next generation of Icelandic indie groups(nasa.is).
No need to tote a map around to navigate your spending spree Reykjavik’s shops are conveniently lined up in a tidy row on the main shopping boulevard Laugavegur. Just start at the foot of the hill and work your way up. New York-based Björk may have access to A-list labels, but she still covets local design duo Bára and Hrafnhildur’s sustainable pieces at Aftur (Laugavegur 21). The sisters’ motto? “Recycle or dye.”
Gossip Girl’s Blair and Serena would surely give up their blackberry for one of the ethereal handmade headpieces at Thelma Designs that feature feathers, oversized rosettes and delicate crocheted patterns (Thelma-design.com). After sussing out the graphic tees at Naked Ape (dontbenaked.com) and the local fashion collectives’ latest wares at Kronkron (kronkron.com), head to ELM, where they carry homegrown label Farmer’s Market’s cozy sweaters and Thufa hats made with hand knitted Icelandic sheep’s wool (elm.is; farmersmarket.is).
Drink: Reyka Vodka & Soda
Visit: Björk keeps tabs on up-and-coming Icelandic artists by hitting Dwarf Gallery and Gallerí Ágúst when she’s in town
Blow a Fuse by Betty Hutton
Wear: Comme des Garçons
Read: Georges Bataille’s
Story of the Eye. (Björk once told a journo: "I might just make it my mission to make everyone in the world read this book.")