As the models were strutting down the catwalk, the usual political debate raged inside one of the main venues, Copenhagen City Hall, and in the press. Organizations and politicians voiced concerns that the model used for the official banners was too thin while others pointed out that the models on the catwalk looked healthier than ever. One subject left untouched, however, was the fact that the major sponsor, Kopenhagen Fur, had made sure fur was an element of almost every single collection.
As usual, Kopenhagen Fur kicked off the week Wednesday, this time with a male-focused show featuring designers like young and hip danish Astrid Andersen and international houses like Gaspard Yurkievich and Maison Christian Lacroix. The pieces from the show could hardly be called wearable by Danish standards, but then again, the show seemed to be targeted towards the Chinese and Russian markets.
Whiite followed and although the show venue seemed promising with burning firelogs outside, rum toddy at the entrance and a concrete parking garage, the collection seemed bland and even boring at times. There were a lot of greys, drawstrings and demure little jackets and the only item that stood out were a pair of loose-fit checkered suede and leather trousers.
Freya Dalsjö showed her collection at the City Hall and used armour in the shape of clothes as a central theme for the collection. She mixed her signature leather with fur, neoprene, PVC tights that almost seemed spray-painted on, all combined with simple cropped and tapered trousers. Focus was on shoulders and necklines and loose leather panels on the sides of skirts and coats brought connotations of Middle Age executioners. The female form was also a great element and a few of the items almost seemed to play with the concept of sexuality and femininity versus hermaphroditism; a few dresses and jackets had front panels shaped like a female torso, that reminded of a naked but somehow genderless mannequin. The undressed mannequin references also gave a sense of timelessness and reminded onlookers of the period in between seasons when storefront displays are being switched out for a new and exciting collection. Freya's collection was interesting and an amazing follow up to her excellent debut collection of last year.
Voyage by TEKO Design Academy
Day 2 of Copenhagen Fashion Week started with Voyage, a graduate show by TEKO, a Danish design school know for focusing on design as well as the growing importance of business knowledge and an understanding of commercial requirements. The show was one of the most interesting of the week, perhaps because it is always interesting to gain a little insight into the future of Danish design and the minds of the young and untainted talent. As the show title indicated, the central theme for the show was journeys, in particular the personal and individual journeys all graduates had embarked on. One of the most interesting of the graduates was Camilla Jæger Jespersen who showed sheer cotton and extremly clean lines, inspired by clothes used at mental institutions.
Susan Woodcock was another interesting talent with intricate veils as a central element combined with minimalistic simplicity, clean lines and muted colors. The models somehow remined of modern Sardinian vidows and excuded a secretive darkness.
Other graduates showed raw edges, 90s-inspired fringe details, prom skirts combined with denim vests that had been ripped apart, futuristic prints and cocoon shaped coats. The graduates intriguing details and accessories was perhaps the most interesting of the whole week and consisted of everything from crocheted covers for shoes to assymetric knee socks.
For men, there were an array of different styles ranging from fez-inspired hats to beautiful knits and leather jackets.
All collections were interesting and seemed promising for the future but if there was one graduate that had suceeded with creating a commercial and approachable collection it was Anna Støy Jessen. Her collection, consisting of a beautiful color combination of pastels with burgundy, had typical late 50s/early 60s shapes but still managed to look modern and minimalistic. It seemed taken out of a Céline or COS lookbook but downplayed with a feminine retro twist.
Stine Goyas shows and collections are one of the most anticipated during Copenhagen Fashion Week. Previously, we’ve seen her show at a swimming hall with a popular Danish dance artist singing from the diving board. We’ve also seen Guya showing one collection in a remarkable bourgeois apartment with press lined along the walls of the entire apartment. This time, however, the collection and the interesting show format was almost (but not entirely) overshadowed by the slightly chaotic situation that broke out once the photographers had done their walkthrough of the presentation and the press, bloggers, buyers and friends could enter. Once the dust had settled, though, the collection mesmerized the audience.
The collection, which truly is one of Stine Goyas' best, had beed inspired by the movie Le Voyage Dans La Lune or A Trip to the Moon by French director George Méilés. The styles consisted mainly of Stine's signature looks such as soft pastels, pinks and delicate fabrics combined with gold, this time in the shape of star and moonshaped sequins, but also of beautiful printed down jackets and a red and aubergine colored uniforms with Arabian-inspired hats, that seemed fitting since Arabic deserts often were a popular location for a lot of the early sci-fi movies. Other refrences to the film were leather, wool and feathers that symbolized the hard surface of the moon, the complete blackness of the atmosphere and the weightlessness of space.
Asger Juel Larsen
Asger Juel Larsen left a big impression last year when he had his models walk down the concrete catwalk of the industrial Carlsberg Breweries to the sound of German techno. This year was no different, although the venue for his show ”CCTV on Fire” was a bit more common and unfitting for such a designer, namely the City Hall. For the first time, Asger launched a female collection and the female styles, just as his male styles were as filled with leather, bomber jackets, neon prints, biker shop references and rave inspirations. One would think that such a plethora of references and styles would seem ambigious and unclear, but Asger has managed to hit a certain nerve with his underground looks, and if anything, the collection seemed thought through and a guarantee for sucess among the dark alleys and underground people of the metropolitan cities in the world.
Veronica B Vallenes
It’s been a while since Veronica B Vallenes, a Norwegian/Danish designer focused on soft femininity, beautiful fabrics and flowy shapes, showed in Denmark and it was a welcome comeback. Veronica's show at exclusive downtown hotel Nimb was a feast of delicate color combinations of purples, beiges and sultry soft materials. Vernica B Vallenes has a unique way of combining classic tailored womanly looks with a sporty twist.
Anne Sofie Madsen
Anne Sofie Madsen, declared a genius in Denmark, named her AW13 collection ”Silence of the Chrome” and was inspired by Jesper Just’s film Sirens of Chrome, a story about four women that drive through an empty Detroit and end up at the Michigan Theater ruins. The collection aims at showing a female that is changing from human to half-monster and half-machine…a siren and a monster that is the outcome of an apocalyptic city. The collection has clear references to the movie in the form of the prints that resemble the decaying theatre, fetish detailing and monster-like futuristic accessories, but also bears Anne Sofie Madsen's signature complex laser cuts and techniques, the unique 3D effects and the extraordinary knits. Anne Sofie Madsen truly is an amazing artist.
For a few seasons, Designers Remix shows and collections have best been described as nice…nothing less, nothing more. This year, however, was an entirely different story. The clothes were still wearable but had some surprising pieces and the idea behind the whole show ”Eskildsens Hospital” (Eskidlsen is the designer behind the brand) seemed very coherent and well thought through. Ladies in lab coats greeted the guests at the old bank with champagne carts when entering and the models wore nurse-like hats and oversize keyrings to symbolize a mental ward institution. The collection was stunning and had the signature feminine yet slightly sporty looks such as chunky knits, lace and feminine jackets. Still, Eskildsen managed to renew the design DNA by introducing even more boxy shapes, cocoon coats, tailored basketball jackets and truly amazing caps that balanced perfectly between being sporty and feminine all at the same time. Another interesting thing were the hemlines, a cross between a full maxi-length and the hyped midi-lengths that were so popular some seasons ago. Hemlines landed mid-calf and were extremly flattering, although perhaps best suited to a tall model. The colors ranged from different shades of white to burnt orange and rich midnight blues. All in all, an amazing show and collection by Eskildsen.
Barbara Í Gongini
Later that evening Faeroese designer Barbara Í Gongini showed her collection which was a step back to the dark and gloomy universe that Barbara does so well. Her designs are deconstructed, assymetric, avant-garde and could at times even be called gothic. Her collection this season was all about harness-detailing, intricate leather drapings, ultra-sheer knits and the last look played on the designer's Faeroese heritage when the model entered the stage in a gown that reminded of a fishing net.
By Malene Birgers' 10 year anniversary show was a spectaular one in the Royal Danish Theatre and her collection ”The Letter” was an homage to classic men’s tailoring and female bohemian shapes. That is indeed what the designer does best: creating wearable pieces that play on the dichotomy between typically male and typically female, creating balance by using sharp edges combined with sheer fabrics and opulent fur. Malene's designs are highly influenced by Moroccan rugs, arabic tiles, delicate orchids and that was very visible in the designs that featured brocade, pussy bow details, sequins and an ambundance of pearls. The Letter was a peep into the brand's archive and the classics had been updated or just slightly twisted to fit the current trends such as longer hemlines and mixing minimalistic sports influences with the extravagant.
Perhaps my ill-disguied crush on Soulland designer Silas Adler could render me as unbiased, however it seems Adler can do nothing wrong. His collections just keep getting stronger each and every time. He has managed to make simple chinos and printed shirts look sexy and renew himself while still keeping the original DNA for years and this really was no exception. For the AW13 collection, Silas had been inspired by Japanese baseball culture up until the 1950s. The collection consisted of tailored pieces such as a shorts suit and highly wearable chunky knit sweaters with an Icelandic touch and baseball jackets that combined with tailored pants looked exclusive with a sporty touch. Although the Soulland guy is very manly and the show oozes testosterone, Soulland still isn’t afraid to play around with feminine touches. For this collection, he let his models sport tights under their shorts, gave them hot pink accents to balance out the neutral tones and even showed a head-to-toe polka dot look. Soulland is a designer that embodies the Danish urban streetwear look while still managing to make it look modern and new each year.
Wood Wood is another Danish streetwear brands that seem to age with grace. They held their show Thursday night at a sports hall right in the middle of the ultra hip city part Nørrebro. Wood Wood continued on their new path by mixing their classic streetwear styles with some tailored pieces. The collection called The Club was inspired by 70s and 80s New York and entailed quilted vests, a few shift dresses and beautiful prints. One of the best styles for the girls was a back-to-school look with a tailored mini skirt combined with the classic WW sweater.
Ivan Grundahl is an insitution in Danish fashion and as usual, ladies of the wealthy surburbs north of Copenhagen had made their pilgrimage to see Ivan Grundahl on Friday. As always, Grundahl's designs consist of oversized shapes, beautiful drapings, drawstring details and the signature hemline that hits the calfs and makes the midi-length trend look very dated. Last year, Ivan Grundahl introduced a new and younger look for some of his styles but this year the house seemed to lack that special something, and that was a shame because that could open up a new market for Grundahl.
Riis won the H&M Design Award last year and nothing could describe the clothes better than wearable with interesting details. The color palette consisted of deep muted colors such as burgundy, bottle-green and deep oranges and the styles were simple and modern with attention to interesting details such as contrasting color panels, patent leather panels and accessories and asymmetric hems where the back was longer and the front was short. The collection also featured an 80s-inspired suit jacket with shoulder pads, that show Stine Riis is getting more experimental and is slowly moving from wearable safe bets towards a more interesting design. The standout piece of the collection was a blouse with sheer sleeves in the most beautiful blue color.
One of the most well-liked PR personalities of the Copenhagen Fashion scene, Marlo Saalmink, made a heartfelt apology for the 1.5 hour long delay of the Gaia show, that had people oh-ing and ah-ing in every corner of the City Hall. Ironically, the delay had nothing to do with Gaia but with the previous show. The incident highlighted the fact that the show schedule at Copenhagen Fashion Week is often too tight and that it leaves no room at all for delays and unpredictable occurrences. It’s been said before but can well be said again: Copenhagen Fashion Week would highly benefit from adding another day to the show schedule.
Gaia's collection was perhaps her best yet, with a beautiful strong color palette and contrasting knit techniques. For the collection, Gaia was inspired by the crisp Nordic skies, starry nights, sweeping chilly winds and foklore painters such as Høst and Cézanne. Gaia, who is excellent at creating wearable yet interesting knitwear, showed a collection of heavy merino wools, alpaca and cashmere, and proved that, yes, knitwear can be used as formalwear. A beautiful knitted shiftdress with sequin details and a sports-influeced neckline was the highlight of the collection along with a cocoon shaped dress with colorblocks.
Han Kjøbenhavn is probably best known internationally for his hip almost iconic eyewear and Friday marked a new chapter for the brand as they showed for the first time in Copenhagen. The brand truly proved that they are so much more than an eyewear brand. Han Kjøbenhavn make clothes for the guys that have outgrown the streetwear looks and wants classic pieces, tighter silouetthes while still keeping things young and hip. The collection seemed heavily influenced by 70’s sportswear and consisted of blazers, beautiful sweaters with the brands iconic h logo, cardigans with wood buttons, tight bomber jackets and tailored macs. Now if only there was a Han Kjøbenhavn for girls…
images: COPENHAGEN FASHION WEEK®