Paradise gowns

During autumn 2007, Vernum presented a refreshing and unique collection of paradise gowns under the label Linteum. The brand is an innovative, fresh and different concept in funeral garments. We produce high quality paradise gowns and accessories in small series. With these exquisitely handmade gowns we want to honour the deceased and offer them the best we believe in on their last journey - epitomised in excellent-quality gowns with beautiful shape and volume, as well as tailor-made detail. The gowns are made from high-quality fabrics woven from natural fibres such as silk, linen and cotton. The Paradise Collection is designed especially for the deceased’s last celebration.

Our approach to the production process is holistic. It spans scrutiny of our suppliers and material production, our manufacturing and includes the reuse of environmentally-friendly packaging for the final disposal of the products. We have designed sustainability into the products. Our focus is on offering our customers sustainable and healthy life styles. By monitoring every stage of the production process, we ensure that the Linteum label stands as a guarantee of the quality of the collection.

The emblem of the Linteum Collection is “The Tree of life – The Paradise Tree” with two doves. These ancient symbols figure prominently in Christian thinking.

The Linteum Collections emphasises cultural, social and aesthetic values. The development process was a fresh vision and a long and interesting expedition in time and space investigating burial processes in Christian European and Scandinavian traditions. We find very rich and diverse ceremonies in time and in space all over Europe. Especially in Scandinavia, local practices proved to be so rich and varied that we decided to consider this historical wealth in our designing and planning processes.

The cut and fit of the robes, the softness of materials, and the exquisitely hand-embroidered details are among the salient qualities of the vestment for the last journey. All over the world one finds a tradition stressing the importance of wearing the best gown, one that declares the deceased’s religious affiliation. It is this beautiful tradition we wish to carry on with the collection.

Paradise gowns have been designed to comfort and console those grieving for a lost family member or friend.


A very interesting problem arose during the research and designing processes. What should I call these clothes? How meaningful were the traditional names given names to them? In the Scandinavian tradition the names varied from clothes for the dead to dress, robe or burial clothing for the deceased. It took me a while to unravel what meanings they bore and what these names expressed. The names and the words pointed to the occurrence of bodily death. But when I think what a funeral means to me, I find myself contemplating a more complex whole. To me, the focus is the mystery of death and life after death.

Paradise gowns prompted me to shift the focus toward the significance of dress in the burial ceremony and to the passage of the deceased from this temporary world to the eternal. Paradise gowns embody and evoke life values, beliefs, emotions, and attitudes of the individuals. They comfort the family in their great grief and in proceeding aesthetically and therapeutically in sorrow and in mourning

In almost every culture people have envisaged paradise as a place that they long for after death.

Design of the paradise gowns

My focus in designing paradise gowns is on the solemnity of the funeral. The ideas informing the designs embrace Christian traditions and funeral practices.

The high quality of materials, the textures of the fabrics and the custom hand-embroidered motifs and details heighten the solemnity of the ceremony. We use only natural materials such as linen, silk, cotton, viscose and combinations of them to lend dignity to the occasion.

We source fabrics with structures, material selections and techniques whose roots lie in the European tradition and use hand-embroidered motifs and embroidery techniques. The embroidery traditions invoked and techniques used are the same that have been used for centuries to decorate clothing for the deceased.

The gowns in the Linteum Collections have long sleeves and a firm neckline; most have a collar. In the designing process we have considered the instructions for dressing the deceased. Our paradise gowns cover the entire body and have a back..

The back is open, so the gowns are easy to put on.  We have also considered sustainability in our processes. For example we use only materials that decay into earth and burn like paper. We minimise material and transportation costs by choosing our suppliers from as close as possible.

Our collection includes several models for men and women with many alternative materials.

The Linteum Collection is built around three themes: early medieval, Scandinavian folklore and modern alternatives. Several material and colour variations are available for every design.

The meaning of paradise gowns

Paradise gowns take on heightened meaning within their cultural settings. One of their purposes is to express relations within groups. The clothes also signal dissent from cultural norms and mainstream beliefs, as well as personal independence. The cultural perspective leads us to consider symbolic appearances in the larger context of shared beliefs and values. Moral and aesthetic evaluations of different types and properties of dress are associated with norms and identities and differentiate us from each other. They lead us to consider cultural codes as a dimension of the shared symbolic order. Dress is simultaneously a product and a process. Clothing serves as a major tool for communication on a non-verbal level. We cannot underestimate the importance of the immaterial cultural capital and tradition that we all carry in clothing. A paradise gown expresses respect and honour for the deceased. We have seen how these dresses comfort the nearest when they can dress their loved one with dignity for the last journey. The involvement in the funeral rituals also helps in adjusting to the loss. Paradise gowns help those closest to the deceased to work with their grief and sorrow and to proceed in the healing process.

Dress involves cultural, social and psychological factors. Like any article of clothing, paradise gowns reflect people’s identity, gender, status, age and personality. Identities are communicated by dress. Dress can be seen as a part of the construction of our identity. When we choose clothes, we usually do so to enhance not only our physical appearance but also our identity. Clothing protects the body; it also conveys social messages to other humans. Paradise gowns are an opportunity for those who think clothes are meaningful. The power of dress is in its own meaningfulness.

We can also choose to dress the deceased in their own clothing. In that case we have to ensure that there are no regulations that restrict the materials used. Today, environmental issues have to be considered when loved ones are buried or cremated.

For the early Christian communities, dress played an important role. Christians did not want to dress in keeping with the Jewish tradition. Instead, they wanted to create a new dress code in the Christian style. During the first Christian centuries in Rome, they wore their white baptismal robes as everyday garments and this served as a secret code by which Christians recognised one another. The new styles of clothing, church architecture and interior designs were created during the third and eighth centuries in many places throughout the early Christian world. The new cultural elements drew on the Greco-Roman, Jewish and Persian worlds.

The clothes we dress our dead in have carried strong symbolic meanings throughout the ages. Burial ceremonies are the passage from the community of the living to that of the dead, and toward a new life. All around the world people have honoured their dead with burial ceremonies, and dress has played a central role in burial rituals. We are born naked, but our culture dresses us for the last journey.