How to Master Scandinavian Style According to This Cult-Favorite Bag Designer

Paulina Liffner has an enviable collection of Acne, Céline, and vintage furs. Stockholm, Sweden.

By: Hannah Baxter
Styling: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Alec Kugler

If you want to witness some of the chicest international street-style moments up close and personal, we recommend booking a flight to Stockholm ASAP. It seemed like on every street corner we spotted impeccably dressed Swedes sporting camel Acne coats and patent Prada heels paired perfectly with lower-end pieces from & Other Stories and H&M (both of which are conveniently based in Stockholm). We even found ourselves, on more than one occasion, approaching strangers to ask where they got that chic pair of sunnies or labelless bag. Sometimes you just *have* to know, even if you’re in the middle of a foreign country. Fortunately for us, Paulina Liffner, the designer behind her eponymous label Little Liffner, was more than willing to welcome us into her family’s apartment in the charming Vasastan neighborhood of Stockholm—which she described as the equivalent of the West Village in New York—and to give us an impromptu lesson on how to replicate Swedish style stateside.

In addition to a killer collection of shoes and accessories (she is a handbag designer, after all) she had some amazing tips for finding vintage treasures without ever setting foot inside a musty secondhand store. “I would say that I mix vintage designer pieces with mostly Scandinavian brands,” Liffner reveals as we enjoy an afternoon fika—that’s the Swedish custom of taking a coffee break with a delicious pastry on the side—in her sunny kitchen post-shoot. “I love finding things on Vestiaire Collective. Sometimes on eBay. I very seldom do vintage stores, but I’m always on the lookout for a few of my favorite collections. I have a soft spot for Céline, as everyone else does. They just do basic pieces and take them to the next level.”

The designer’s closet is expertly curated, with an emphasis on statement coats, investment knitwear—not surprising, given the frigid Nordic winters—and pops of color in the form of a vintage Balenciaga blouse or a jewel-toned Dries Van Noten heel. This sophisticated yet streetwise aesthetic is reflected perfectly in Little Liffner’s handbags. “I want the bags to be refined in the sense [that] they’re clean, they’re made [of] nice materials, but they’re also street-smart in the way that it’s easy to wear them,” Liffner says as we sift through next season’s upcoming designs (one word: PYTHON). “You can style them in many different ways.” Perhaps it is this effortless blend of accessibility and timelessness that defines Scandinavian style, with a dash of devil-may-care attitude that Liffner herself seems to possess in spades.

Click through to read how Liffner thinks gender politics is influencing fashion, the story behind her Yankee cap collection, and why she was surprised to learn that she might actually enjoy living in Brooklyn. Also, shop her closet here.