Canadian fashion editor Mosha Lundström Halbert has briefly lived in Iceland, got married there — her magical New Year’s Eve wedding was featured on Vogue.com — and still travels to the Land of Fire and Ice multiple times a year for business. In 2017, she co-founded the Scandi-influenced outerwear label Therma Kota, along with her sister, Sophie Lundström Halbert, and their mother, noted fashion designer Linda Lundström.
The trio regularly travels to the Nordic island country to photograph lookbooks for their line, showcasing each collection. “So much of what inspires us for Therma Kota is working with Icelandic creatives, and being inspired by Icelandic nature and Icelandic style,” says Mosha, who grew up in Toronto. “We really wanted to show that our coats feel the most beautiful when they’re in Icelandic nature, but they also can withstand it and are meant for it.”
The photo shoots have also been a welcome opportunity for the family to spend time together and reconnect with relatives. “On top of creating these campaigns, we’ve created amazing memories together as a family,” says Mosha.
We asked Mosha and Linda to share some of their favourite gems in and around Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and largest city. Here, a shortlist from the fashionable mother-daughter duo for your future trip.
For a family-friendly swim: Vesturbaejarlaug
The country’s most visited attraction, the Blue Lagoon, needs no introduction, but if you want to dive into Icelandic waters as the locals do, consider this geothermally heated, public outdoor pool. “I think it’s important to go where the Icelanders go, to really understand the country,” says Linda. “The swimming pool culture is very, very important in Iceland.” On her first trip to the country, 25 years ago, she visited Vesturbaejarlaug every day, and it’s been a family favourite ever since.
“There are other amazing pools that are more touristy, obviously, but we just love this one,” adds Mosha. “It’s not very expensive and you see such a cross-section of people.” The complex also includes a children’s pool, “hot pots” (tubs), a cold tub, a sauna and a steam bath. “You could hang out for hours, and we often do,” says Linda.
For sweet treats: Braud & Co
This popular chain of bakeries has eight locations in Iceland, including a busy spot in downtown Reykjavik and a less touristy one right across the street from the Vesturbaejarlaug pool. Stop by after a swim for big, fluffy baked goods made with organic ingredients. “My favourite is a licorice-blueberry Danish,” says Linda. “Licorice is a very, very popular flavour in Iceland.”
Then, for good coffee and great people-watching, head next door to the neighbourhood café/bistro Kaffihús Vesturbaejar. “We like to go there often and have Therma Kota meetings, because everyone passes through there,” says Mosha.
For weirdly wonderful art: Hofudstodin
On the outskirts of Reykjavik, you’ll find this arts and culture centre, shop and café, opened in January 2022 by the prolific Icelandic contemporary artist Shoplifter, also known as Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir. “(It’s) 10 minutes outside the city, but you feel like you’re in the middle of the woods,” says Mosha. Shoplifter is known for creating sculptures, murals and site-specific installations using synthetic and natural hair, and this centre is the permanent home of her large-scale “Chromo Sapiens” installation, which debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2019. “It’s an incredibly psychedelic, otherworldly and weirdly wonderful experience,” says Mosha, noting that it’s also a popular party venue where sometimes there are musical performances.
For a unique souvenir: Fischersund
Shopping in Iceland can be expensive, but Mosha always makes time for a visit to this downtown perfumery and art collective, which is run by Jon Por “Jónsi” Birgisson — lead singer of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós — and his family.
“At their apothecary, you’ll find the most magical array of candles and incense and perfumes that are bizarre and esoteric and like nothing else you’ve ever smelled before,” says Mosha. “That’s my favourite store to pick up gifts for myself and others when I’m in Iceland.”
For a celebratory meal: Sumac Grill + Drinks
Sumac, on the city’s main drag, is the family’s favourite restaurant for a celebratory meal after a photo shoot or at the end of a trip. “When you walk in, there’s a very sexy bar with great mixologists, and you’ll see a who’s who of Reykjavik or any visiting notables,” says Mosha. “Last time I was there, I saw (celebrity chef) Gordon Ramsay — it’s one of his favourite places.”
The food is inspired by the Middle East and North Africa, but also highlights local seasonal ingredients. It’s worth treating yourself to the chef’s tasting menu, Mosha recommends. “No trip to Iceland is complete without a dinner at Sumac.”