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Harpa Einarsdóttir is the founder and head designer of the Icelandic fashion brand MYRKA, which premiered its debut collection at the Reykjavik Fashion Festival in March 2017. Before launching MYRKA, Harpa had a successful run with her clothing brand ZISKA, and is also well known as an illustrator and visual artist. Since graduating from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts in 2005, Harpa has been prominent in Iceland’s fashion scene. Her attitude towards fashion is clear: "When an art-lover buys art, it's called "collecting." When a fashion enthusiast buys clothing, it's called shopping". Art is supposed to be timeless and important, while fashion is understood to be ephemeral and frivolous. It is our hope to create a new way of thinking about our clothes, whilst raising awareness about how we consume fashion, after all what is fashion if not wearable art?”
The MYRKA FW17 collection was inspired by Harps’s admiration for Iceland’s mystical and hauntingly seductive nature, and its attractive cultural heritage. While creating her new brand, Harpa was consumed by one of Iceland’s most notorious folk tales, “The Deacon of Dark River” (Djákninn á Myrká). During Reykjavik’s short, dark winter days and nights, sitting under the moonlight, and occasional northern lights, Harpa focused on creating a collection of wearable art through versatile, basic silhouettes, strong intricate detail and luxurious fabrics.
This fairy tale tells of a deacon, living at Dark River, who a few weeks before Christmas pays his girlfriend, Guðrún, who lives on a neighbouring farm, a visit and asks her to join him at his farm for a Christmas celebration. While Riding his horse back to Dark River, the deacon gets caught in a heavy storm; he falls into a river, severely injuring his head which causes him to drown. He is buried a week later. Guðrún, unaware of her boyfriend’s accident, expects him to arrive on Christmas Eve as promised. And so he does. Half-dressed Guðrún mounts Faxi, the deacon’s horse, and off they ride towards the deacon’s farm. When the horse trips, Guðrún, to her shock, notices the deacon’s injured head. On they ride. Arriving at the deacon's farm, Guðrún sees an open grave and feels the deacon trying to pull her into it. Luckily, Guðrún only has one of her arms in the coat’s sleeves, and as the deacon pulls the coat’s empty sleeve, she manages to escape. The deacon disappears into the grave, which subsequently fills up. After Guðrún has been haunted by the deacon’s ghost the entire night, disturbing other residents at the farm, an exorcist is summoned to exorcise the deacon’s ghost.
A friend in Paris offered Harpa to host a Myrka party at Paris Fashion Week, and after meeting with director Anni Olafsdottir, they decided to create a fashion/art film together to screen at David Lynch’s club Silencio. Anni is an promising Icelandic director, visual artist and writer who claims that “while brainstorming for the film, I thought of the perfume ads from the early 90’s. I wanted to create a truly collaborative project, so I involved the french singer Mathilde Fernandez, for her unique style of delicately weaving together punk, electro and opera. Upon hearing her song "Où es tu" (co-composed with Etienne Dumas), I immediately associated it with Harpa and MYRKA. Placing the song with the roughly edited imagery created while shooting, made it come alive. Like many other creative projects, the film was underfunded, but BLK.RVK believed in it and offered to produce it along with PURKUR. Their help, and that of a large group of volunteers, made the film a reality.”