Style

At home with Lise Karlsen, Oslo’s retro-queen

«Nope. I’m not offended if you think my flat looks like a brothel” smiles Lise when Styletalk comes to visit. She graciously invites us into the flat on the she and her husband have transformed into the chicest dwelling on Oslo’s east side. She is also the woman behind Manillusion, a retro fashion boutique in Oslo.

“Wow my personal style journey is long and spans from punk to fetish and club styles to pink pastels and it’s reflected on my home décor. These days I am into vintage styles from mid to late 20th century” says Lise.

Her lounge area has an urban loft vibe – brick walls and wallpapers with tiki print and a big fireplace painted in gold glitter. In the dining area she has her very own cocktail bar complete with a side table on wheels that holds all the ingredients. Lise is a cocktail enthusiast, and collects glasses, tiki mugs and books with vintage cocktail recipes, which also explains why Styletalk is sipping a lovely strawberry daiquiri while we tour the house.

“I love collecting design pieces” says Lise. And reveals she finds furniture and décor items in the most random places. She likes shopping locally, shops like Eske and Fransk Basar where she’s picked up some of her tables. The two leather armchairs are vintage Ekornes, a quality Scandinavian brand and the fabulous sofa is from Milla Boutique at Aker Brygge in Oslo city center.

Luxury is a must, and the bathroom reflects Lise’s joie de vivre-attitude to life and love. Defining elements are the black tiles on the floor, floral wallpapers combined with black, a crystal chandelier and huge gilded mirror above the basin. And – of course her favorite piece of furniture: a classic free-standing bathtub where she spends a lot of time reading, listening to music, or gazing up at the stars through the ceiling window. A kidney shaped vanity table holds all her perfumes and makeup and adds that decadent touch of Hollywood glamour.

“I love to indulge. Life is short and we should take time to enjoy what is good. My least favorite word is no” Lise says.

“My style has always been sexy and edgy, and I have had reactions, not all positive. I have big boobs, and some find that offensive to show off somehow. But I do not care, I have always dressed as I like” she says. Before she started her own business it happened she had comments from her boss to dress down a notch. That is no longer an issue. In her shop Manillusion they all dress how they please and body positivity is the image they want to convey.

“Everyone should be able to dress in a style they like and feel good about themselves. Therefore, we also refuse to sell labels who won’t deliver larger sizes” says Lise.

In a time when the fashion industry is facing tremendous changes, Lise and her crew have taken the challenge and developed both their digital platforms as well as the physical shopping experience. They go live on Facebook and Instagram weekly with fashion news, tips and tutorials for hair makeup and styling as well as Lise’s cocktail tips. Follow them here.

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