If you've ever marveled at the sleek and stylish silhouette of the Swedish populace, then a visit to NK goes a long way toward explaining how the Swedish do it.
Opened in 1902, NK was founded by Josef Sachs as the Scandinavian equivalent to "les grands magasins" of France and the massive emporiums of London. Sachs' ambition was to create a theater, both cultural and commercial, that would be a reflection of Swedish aesthetics.
With more than 100 separate boutiques, the six-level Art Nouveau store is as much a public theatre as it is "The Great Department Store" - and an afternoon spent wandering its labyrinthine recesses affords an introduction to the myriad pleasures of Swedish fashion, design, and food.
No less than fourteen restaurants and cafes are nestled within the great granite building, including a Champagne bar, a cocktail bar, a bistro, a confectionery, a bakery, a health food bar, and an elegant white-clothed dining room that first opened in 1915 to serve NK's discerning clientele.
Apart from its numerous retail temptations, including Swedish brands such as J. Lindeberg, Filippa K, Acne, Anna Holtblad, Orrefors, and Kosta Boda, NK also offers banking services, a hair and beauty salon, concierge service, an apothecary, a newsstand, and service center.
For those clients desirous of a more intimate retail experience, there is Rosenrummet, a private lounge that offers assistance with personal style and shopping, accompanied by Champagne, strawberries, chocolates, fresh fruit - and the fabled NK Mint.
Ever since 1939, NK's 22-foot circular neon sign has been revolving atop Stockholm's old telephone tower, its red and green neon symbol serving as a beacon for the city's fashionable denizens. As beloved as Bergdorf's, NK offers a window into the best of Swedish life.