News & Reports Aug 7, 2014 | 2:41 PMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

The Fretex Chesswalk

Thrift store Fretex organised a fashion show in Tromsø inspired by the Chess Olympiad and 60s Futurism. The event proved a great success, with chess players and other spectators enjoying a visual and musical treat. 

The queen in all her splendour | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

Saturday, August 2nd. The Chess Olympiad has taken Tromsø by storm, and the downtown square Strandtorget is seething with life. A good mix of locals and visitors crowd around the catwalk – and backstage the final touches are being applied to the 14 models who will soon take centre stage. 

Adding a final touch before the show | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

Not long passes before DJ Funky Halvor gets things underway with some tunes: black and white outfits, futuristic designs, chess pieces as hats and theatrical choreography meet on the catwalk. Artistic director Nina Erdahl has ensured that everything is “chessified” and playful!

Immensely impressed

Susan Polgar follows the action closely | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

Among those enjoying the performance is Chess Olympiad ambassador Susan Polgar, an Olympiad champion and former World Chess Champion. She commented:

This is creative and fabulous! I think it’s a wonderful idea to incorporate different elements such as fashion, art and music into the Chess Olympiad. The garments and accessories are combined well, the models are highly capable – and naturally we have the queen who is extremely elegant.


The happy 60s

The knight in a playful pose | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

As the queen enters, the fashion show reaches new heights. Wearing a crown and dress with train, she is radiant together with her small helpers. The Chess Olympiad’s official artist, Chris Reddy, follows with an improvised catwalk gait in his hand-painted suit – and then the “party” starts with a bang. Music from the happy 60s emanates from the speakers. The models and Reddy erupt into a full dance – and the crowd claps their hands and wiggles their hips.

The models swing to music from the 60s | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

Virtually all garments from Fretex

Chris Reddy at top speed! | photo: Kim Daniel Arthur, COT 2014

There is rapturous applause as the models and Nina Erdahl walk out onto the catwalk for the final time. As a stylist with her own agency, Nina Erdahl Casting & Costumes, she was given the task of composing the fashion show six months ago by Elin Merethe Larsen from Fretex. She has been very happy to work with this project:

Chess is extremely visual – a really exciting theme to work with! I have my own collection of costumes, but 90% of the clothes are from Fretex.

Erdahl continues:

I have drawn in some excellent people to assist in the production of the show – Jamie, a dancer from the Eurovision Song Contest, and for the hair and makeup, Barbara Paulsen and others from the hair salon Klipperiet. Last but not least, it has been fantastic to collaborate with Elin from Fretex and Nora Kiil.


“More fun to play together!”

Organisers Elin Merethe Larsen, Nora Kiil and Nina Erdahl – as well as DJ Funky Halvor | photo: Astri Edvardsen, COT 2014

Fretex’s order came specifically from Elin Merethe Larsen, the manager of Fretex’s shop in Tromsø. She also involved Nora Kiil from KIIL Arts Facilitator, Chris Reddy’s management. Both are extremely pleased with the way the show went – and emphasise how local strengths have joined forces to achieve this. Larsen comments:

The Chess Olympiad invites creativity – and it’s far more fun to play together! I would also like to extend a large thanks to the Tromsø residents who have donated so many wonderful clothes! In addition, we have been sent many from Fretex outlets in other parts of the country, so we have really been able to enjoy ourselves.

She adds:

As a tip to the public, the black and white and futuristic style will really take off in the autumn – and at Fretex we already have plenty in stock.

All the garments that featured in the show will go on sale at the Fretex shop. If you’re lucky, you may secure yourself a chessified garment!


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