The KTH Great Prize 2008 awarded to Gunilla Pontén
Fashion designer Gunilla Pontén, a groundbreaking creator of Swedish women’s clothing, has been awarded the KTH Great Prize for 2008. She won the prize for her tireless dedication to going her own way and creating a style that is characterised by pure lines and surprising, creative expression.
“Gunilla Pontén has contributed to the many international successes of Swedish design and has shown what a dedicated entrepreneur is able to achieve. Her creations reflect her own motto: Life is too short not to make yourself – and others – happy.” writes KTH in explanation of this choice.
“I was amazed and surprised and really happy when the decision reached me. Actually I feel extremely honoured, not least when I realise the company I am in, the previous prize winners. The fact that I, a designer and clothing creator, will receive this prize from KTH feels extraordinary, and especially delightful,” says Gunilla Pontén.
Gunilla Pontén, who was born in 1929, is usually described as a fashion designer with a personal, decorative style using bold lines and daring colour combinations. At the beginning of the 1950s she led the field within Swedish fashion creation. Together with Kerstin Lokrantz she created the first teenage fashion.
Gunilla first became well known as a photo model, she was discovered walking down the street by a journalist from the women’s magazine Damernas värld in1947. She created the typical Ponténesque fashion style in the 1970s, and has maintained it ever since, which means that her clothes are, in one way, timeless.
She has operated several of her own franchise stores in New York, Stockholm, Malmö and Helsingborg. Her design is characterised by elegant, original cut and unusual colours in combination with a base colour of black, white or grey. Gunilla Pontén is still, at the age of 79, a working clothes designer and writes on her website about this years’ autumn collection:
“My ambition is to always imbibe each collection with a special new form, cut and colour scale. The garments are clean-lined and combinable, but often incorporate unexpected and variable concepts. Both slim and loose-fitting forms suit different types of figures, younger and older styles.”
In 2003 Gunilla was awarded the Litteris et Artibus Medal by His Majesty the King of Sweden. The following year parts of her collection were exhibited at the Nordiska museet in Stockholm in order to celebrate her 50 years of working in the business.