Women of the 9th century period dressed in heavily brocaded dresses.  The men in brilliant mantles and ornamented helmets.  In Iceland there is no difference between “one region of the country and another”.  The dress is truly national.  During the 19th century, when the present dress was redesigned, the population was only about 70, 000 and declining.

The folk dress worn today dates back to the 1860’s when the Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson redesigned it during its decline.  The headdress harks back to ancient examples.  A white curved pad is fastened at the head and covered with a white veil, while a gilded metal circlet fits around the front in a medieval fashion.  In 1890 a pageant was held at Akureyri to celebrate the birth of the nation in the 9th century.  Colors could be worn, but black was favored most.  The neckline and cuffs are edged with lace ruffles and have a gold metallic embroidery on the black velvet.  The belt or girdle may be of metal links or embroidered.

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