Inger Solberg: Viking valour meets the Durga spirit
Landing in India some years back, broken both personally and financially, Norwegian designer Inger Solberg, whose life is so inspiring that filmmakers want to make a movie on it, must find it difficult to catch a break now.
Between being a business consultant, interior decorator, writer, real estate developer and a fashion designer who has clothed Tina Turner and Diana Ross, "Incredible India" as Solberg calls her new home, has been all about learning lessons.
According to Inger, who has just started a fashion boutique in the upscale beach village of Candolim, 20 kms north from here, 'Solberg' is all about fusion-fashion, articulating the best of the East and the West on Indian materials, embroidered by local craftsmen, styled in her unique way.
Solberg and Film Producer and Businessman tapan Acharya
"All the garments are light and easy to wear. The materials are high quality silk and cotton, most of them embroidered and embellished in one way or another. The clothes are meant to fit any occasion. They are fun, but not overdone", said Inger, a trained fashion designer.
Indian women, she says, are very much interested in how they look. And her role is only supplementary.
"Since I think they are the most beautiful women in the world, I love to dress them up...
"My dresses are good to wear at a beach restaurant over a bikini, as well as to a party at night with high heels and my items are not over priced. People can wear my designs without 'holes in their pockets'," she says.
Actress Deepika Singh and Solberg
A big boned Viking herself, her store has a soft corner for big women, whom she says Indian fashion boutiques often tend to overlook.
"I love India, but I am a Viking. I have a statuesque figure, which made it difficult for me to find elegant outfits in Indian stores," said Inger.
"I could not help but notice that many Indian ladies share this problem. That's why I produce my designs in many sizes. They start small, but go all the way up to XXL," she said, insisting her clothes are affordable.
But for this big Viking, it must have taken the spirit of Durga, to rise up from the time when she landed in India with USD 40 in her pocket, fresh from a messy divorce and pretty much nothing else.
That spirit, her story, she says, could soon hit the bookstores in the form of a novel and there's perhaps more in the making.
Solberg and Hotelier Maria-Chalston D'Souza
"I have already a proposal from Vivek Singhania (Perfect Picture) from Bollywood to make a movie out of my story," she said.
Interesting is only one part of her story, multi-tasking is another.
Inger Solberg, a well known label in Norway and Denmark, juggles between her design store, a consultancy for foreign direct investors, real estate and hospitality industry developers.
But her first major success was in the world of fashion in Europe and US where Diana Ross, Cindy Lauper, Tina turner and the like became her clients.
"The funniest experience was when Randy Crawford (a US jazz singer) walked into my shop. She looked around and said, 'I love what you are wearing'," Inger recalls.
Unfortunately, that was the only piece available at the store, so Inger did the next best thing - peeled it off and handed it to the singer in exchange for tickets to a concert in Copenhagen.
Fair trade, it worked out, the designer said.
(Posted on 25-10-2013)