She looks super Swedish but definitely doesn't feel or define herself as Swedish. Having been in and out of Portugal since she was two years old, (her father worked in Portugal), Ellen Hansen always knew that when she was old enough she would leave Sweden and probably move to Portugal. She studied to be a high school teacher in her home country but ended up coming back, and later tried living in LA for a year, and whilst loving Santa Monica, Malibu, and Topanga, all very similar to Lisbon, the saudades were stronger! She represents the hippy, bohemian and very cool Swedish brand Odd Molly in Portugal and has settled here for good, as this is her home. She lives with her two daughters, 100% Portuguese, facing the ocean, in a warm, cozy space, filled with Ellen's own ceramics.
How did you get into fashion?
I love textures, patterns, colors, creativity, and when I found Odd Molly, I identified totally with the brand. And I'm free, not in an office 9 to 5. My time is flexible so that I can create my ceramics,be a mother, and because freedom has no price, this brand allows me to do that. I started working with ceramics when I was around 30, but stopped when my daughters were born as there was so much dust in the atelier, but now I've restarted it all thanks to a new found love. It's important for me to talk through clothes, through the Odd Molly look and be creative!
Who created odd molly?
Two friends, Per and Karin, created the brand in 2002. Per, who was an alcoholic living on the streets at the time and Karin, a struggling designer, with no job. They met by chance and talked about this idea of his, and what he wanted to create, something to make women feel whole, whilst Karin was sketching his ideas on a piece of paper. They sold their first collection on paper, and with that money produced it, and in couple of years it became hugely successful, and within a few more years, Odd Molly was on the Swedish stock exchange. Ten investors refused them initially, and only the 11th said yes! Every Christmas Per sends the other ten investors cards wishing them happy holidays!
Why 'odd' in the name?
Per was a skateboarder in L.A. and he was surrounded by perfect, gorgeous Californian blonde groupies, and there a lovely girl, very natural looking with no make up, with a beautiful smile that won him over! That was Molly. Odd stands for be who you are, not strange! And Molly was very much herself, in a good, healthy way.
What's your perfect day in Lisbon?
Just to see the sunlight, or not even, just the light! I love to walk around and see the architecture, Never get tired of driving along the Marginal, I adore the food, so just walking around is beautiful.
Describe your personal style?
I'm very Odd Molly! Odd Molly, odd molly, odd molly, all the time! I just love that everything in the collection makes me happy! This style of clothing makes everyday feel like Sunday, loose, flowing and easy, and I don't work 9 to 5, or in a corporate environment, it suits me perfectly. Here most people get to places by car, so the way of dressing is very different to the way say, Stockholmers dress. I need to feel comfortable, a mix of rock 'n roll, edgy, mixed with the sweetness of the brand. I think you have to show yourself more through what you wear, it's not enough to just to wear a dress, you should give it your own touch, otherwise it's just copy, paste.
What's your beauty routine
I very seldom wear makeup, I just wash my face, brush my hair and my teeth, put a really nice cream on my face and always wear Chanel No. 5.
What would be your must haves?
Favourite accessories are shoes, and rings, especially from Lara Bohinc, and I also collect scarves from her. My shoes are from Lanvin or Prada, the most comfortable shoes, and other brands. But I'm not into brands in that way, I just fall in love with a pair of shoes, it's a passion. Comfort is a huge issue, because at my age, you cannot wear uncomfortable shoes, or clothes for that matter!
Your philosophy on life?
Always be true to yourself, because if you are, you're OK. If you're not, you go off your path, and people can tell. You've got to speak from the heart, especially with my daughter's. If yoyre really, really true to yourself, they can tell and you do not have to repeat yourself many times over.
What advice would you give your teenage daughters?
- Never talk to strangers,
- If a car comes by close to you and slow down, RUN!!
And I feel that now I don't need to give much more. The house is always filled with kids, they're loved by others, and they love them back. They know to give love, and so they receive it turn. I wish them such a wonderful life, just like the one I've had! Even with all the ups and downs, because when you're down, you can always stand up. I see myself as a tree, with deep, underground roots, and there can be a hurricane, and this tree will never break.
Hope you~ve enjoyed my chat with the effervescent, positive Ellen,
Wish you a great day,