3rd Place

The Polar Bear Bride





(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer and video edit: Ole Jørgen Skogstad. Link to fairytale:

Outline the story …

During the theme announcement I immediately though of mystical Norwegian fairytales, more precisely Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon (White bear King Valemon). It's a fairytale published in 1871 by a famous writer Peter Asbjørnsen.
The fairytale is available online, link below!

In short, it's about a princess who wants a golden wreath she has seen in her dreams. One day she happens upon a white bear wandering in the forest, who has that very wreath. She joins him to his castle, and finds out he is a cursed prince. For 7 years, he is a polar bear except during nighttime, but she must never lay eyes upon him as a man, or else he must marry the witch that cursed him. Her curiosity wins at last and she sneaks a peek at him during the night and he has to go to the witch.
After a long rescue mission with help along the way, she ends up saving the prince from the evil witch!

Norwegian fairytales, like this, often ends in a wedding, but it's rarely described in detail. So I was wondering what a traditional, fairytale wedding dress based on this story look like?

Norwegian brides traditionally wore their finest bunad (Norways national costume), with added silver and gold jewellery. An opulent crown was also common.

I've taken some elements from the story into the outfit, like the princess' golden wreath around the skirt hem, as well as taking massive inspiration from traditional bunad bridal design, techniques and materials.

Outline the construction…

This was SO fun! All garments are machine stitched and hand finished, and all straight lines are thread-pulled before cutting.

Linen shirt with Hardanger embroidery for the collar, front decoration and cuffs. The pattern was roughly drafted, then finessed through mockups and help from the FR-mentors. My mother taught me Hardanger, it was my first time! The design is mine, and took two months to complete.

The striped skirt was a pretty straight forward make! It's a traditional bunad fabric. Knife pleats in front, cartridge pleats in the back. The hem is decorated with a bias cut strip of fabric, and a red wool strip with handstitched golden lace trim! It has pocket slits and skirt hooks in the back. It's also hooked to the bodice to prevent sagging.

The belt wrapped around the waist is made from trim, golden lace and red wool fabric.

Now, the headwear was a new experience! This bridal crown is based on traditional bridal headwear from Voss, Norway. It's stiffened with cardboard, a paint stick and a pair of knitting needles (!) inside, sandwiched between layers of felted wool, and decorated with trims and beading. It ties under the chin, but also in the back. The jewellery is from thriftstores or from my own stash.

Corseted bodice: Lightly boned and front laced, made of two layers in coutil and pure wool. I made the coutil layer first, then draped the wool over it. It's trimmed with bunad trim, and pinned shut in the front.




  1. Avatar bobbie NELSON on March 11, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    love the outfit and it was interesting hearing about a different culture than mine. Glad you had a chance to work on it with mom. What a great memory.

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I am super grateful to have my mom teach me these traditional techniques <3 The project feels more close to the heart that way.

  2. Avatar Lily Bell on March 11, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    I love this!!!!! It’s stunning and so inspiring. I feel like I could step through the screen into the snowy forest and be there with you. I loved hearing about all the details and construction. I feel the magic you’ve created! 🙂

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks! <3 Hehe you wouldn't have liked stepping the forest that shoot day, it was like -15 degrees celsius, I was freezing my butt off 😀

  3. Avatar Stef McKnight on March 12, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I absolutely love this fairy tale and you nailed the concept. What an incredible outfit

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you so much! Yeah, it’s been my favourite fairy tale from childhood, so it was an obvious choice for me !

  4. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:07 am

    You Nailed this! The attention to detail is commendable, Magical to say the least!

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Tusind tak, Kitty! I surely felt magical wearing this <3

  5. Avatar Luisa Lee on March 12, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Wow, what a gorgeous dress! I love the embroidery, everything came together wonderfully!

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you Luisa! ^^ <3

  6. Avatar Kait on March 12, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    What beautiful details!

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Thank you! ^^ For a traditional Norw. wedding ensemble, more is more! I’m planning on adding more details over the next year, haha

  7. Avatar Lynne on March 12, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Charming!!! The back reminds me a bit of the back on a Vest Telemark bunad, which I find lovely! And the Hardanger embroidery is truly gorgeous. I love this… what an adventure and how fun!

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you Lynne! <3 Yes, you're absolutely right, the back of the bodice is inspired by the Vest-Telemark bunad 🙂

  8. Avatar Valarie Olafson on March 12, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    The hardanger is amazing! The whole outfit is gorgeous.

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you Valarie 😀 I loved working with Hardanger!

  9. Avatar Trine Ericzon on March 13, 2021 at 8:05 am

    This is simply breathing! The whole ensamble is gorgeous, love the details you have put in to this 🙂

    • Avatar Trine Ericzon on March 13, 2021 at 8:06 am

      Lol..,stupid autocorrect 😉 simply breathtaking was what I was going to say

      • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:01 pm

        Hihi, takk Trine ^_^<3

  10. Avatar Damaris Luhn on March 13, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    This is really beautiful! Wow, and so perfectly executed! <3

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you Damaris! <3

  11. Avatar Jo on March 13, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    This is so beautiful and dreamy, well done on an amazing job!

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you so much Jo <3

  12. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 4:47 am

    Stunning. The colour pallet is perfect. My favourite bit is the headpiece.

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Thank you! I really loved making the headpiece, it was a totally new experience. Since a lot of these traditional techniques go from generation to generation, I was extra happy to find a book with technical drawing and descriptions of these kind of wedding crowns, because I had nooo idea where to start XD

  13. Avatar Camille on March 14, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    i love it ! the cap is super cool too 😀
    the embroidery work is amazing !

    • Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 16, 2021 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you Camille! 😀

  14. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 15, 2021 at 12:34 am

    So. Incredibly. Impressive. That the embroidery was your first time through and your own design is amazing, as it looks to be absolute perfection! Your entire outfit is great, from concept through execution!

  15. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Wow, so beautifully done and perfect in every detail! The crown is especially interesting!

  16. Avatar Laurie on March 20, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Very well constructed. Lovely design with beautiful materials and colours! Great unity and continuity, including the photos and video. Wonderful, real, traditional wear. Excellent work!

  17. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 20, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    The hardanger embroidery on the shirt is amazing, and the full product of the design is so well balanced and put together. Truly an artwork!

  18. Avatar Kaity Bower on March 22, 2021 at 1:36 am

    The white work is absolutely gorgeous. I am in awe. It seems like such a labor of love and even more fun that your mom taught you. The crown is just beautiful. Really makes this whole look come together.

  19. Avatar Stephanie Tietze on March 22, 2021 at 10:00 am

    So many beautiful little details. It’s a charming look. Very well done.

  20. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Beautiful job! You definitely look like a story book character, and I love the folk art you created to honor your heritage. Well done!

  21. Avatar Kylie ~ ePrintDesign on March 28, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Seriously WOW! <3

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