LESSONS FROM COPENHAGEN FASHION WEEK

Author: Ruta Endriu

Photographer: Deimante Dubauskaite

 

Copenhagen Fashion week is the largest fashion event in the Nordic region. And Copenhagen indeed is Scandinavia’s fashion capital. Yet for me, it is also something bigger. Even in the international sense, it has this vibe that fashion–philes become initially attracted to and that my fellow fashion lovers and me can never grow tired of. CFW is something we anticipate most in the grey and moody days as a way to kick out winter blues.  Although this Copenhagen Fashion week was only three days, it certainly gave us a good fix of fashion and art and proved once again that there are things to learn from this great event.

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HOW TO MASTER THE SCANDI – COOL

 

Although Copenhageners are the masters of minimalism and monochromatic comfy, sporty style it is oh so easy to sense and see Copenhagen Fashion week has started. Braving unglamorous weather with frost, wind and rain, the fashion folk fill the streets with bold bright colors so uncharacteristic to a simple yet cool Danish style. Mixing calm palettes with bold accessories, bright color with sporty shoes, oversized puffer jackets with heels, they simply know how to pull off this juxtaposition of styles. Danes simply know how to tune up things in their ensembles that at first glance might seem way too quirky and crazy for our Baltic taste.  Sporting the casual and the neutral with a touch of glam, combining sporty with the elegant, trashy with luxurious they create their own style that never gets confused with – the scandi swag.  In spite of unflattering weather, the show-goers do not compromise on style and sometimes might look a bit too crazy for some people to look at. Still I find their fashion week outfits something to adore.  Bare legs, open toe shoes and see through dresses hiding underneath fur coats speak of spring yet huge puffer coats and layers show the cozy details of winter. After all, they are Vikings with flair of hygge in their outfits too. If there is something else we can learn from the Danes is combining the cheap and mainstream with high-end brands. Although capable of buying expensive fashion, Danes simply like to combine the simple casual wear with the luxurious shoes or purses to create some badass streetwear-esque looks that are original, on-trend, wearable and effortless.

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HOW TO TRANSFORM THE CATWALK

 

Something I absolutely love about Copenhagen fashion week is this tickling sense of anticipation to some shows because they bring surprise. This is something that makes CFW so unique and different from the Baltic fashion events where you get what you expect- a traditional catwalk and same venues. In CFW shows transform from the traditional catwalk into a performance or really, a piece of art that makes a social or political statement. The Danes can teach a masterclass on creating artistic, conceptual and creative fashion presentations that trespass the boundaries of catwalk, theatre, dance or performance art.  Amidst recent global political stirs, this Copenhagen Fashion week was as freaky and thrilling as ever.

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Lala Berlin fashion is unmistakable in its bold femininity. Lala Berlin show this season was as loud and badass as I expected and with the biggest political statement. Slogans such as “Revolution”, “Think“, “Change” appeared embroidered on the clothing and when all the models walked down the catwalk, the german designer Leyla Piedayesh proudly raised a handwritten sign to the audience that said – “I’m an immigrant!” which made the audience stand up in cheers and applause. This season designer showcased her signature bohemian and anarchic city girl style, but this time it was also very elegant and youthful – cutout shoulders, leopard bandanas and heels, edgy leather skirts, “boyfriend” overcoats, wild prints and popping red color – the biggest season trend- accenting the clothes. The designer also presented her huge and heavy knits that she is so known for with embroidered slogans making the knitwear look contemporary and cool.

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Munthe’s designs can be easily compared to Lala Berlin’s as both base their fashion on powerful femininity. Designer Naja Munthe knows how to surprise her audience with unconventional ways of presenting her collections. Previous seasons it was intimate book reading, this year- girl power in the skater park. The designer managed to show off some “Pussy Grabs Back” attitude with both glamour and kickass.  Rebellious and badass looking models surrounded by skaters showing off their tricks, loud music and graphics took over untraditional venue- indoor skater park, which added some fun and youthfulness to the overall atmosphere. We were even greeted with chocolates that had a “Pussy Grabs Back” printed on it. The fashion itself was a play with color, textures and prints.  Red, being the season’s queen, was the central color of the collection with white and black complementing ensembles. The wardrobe included sweat pants, sock boots, pleated dresses, and t-shirts with pop arty lip prints, colorful fur, camouflage and snow white sneakers. While Lala Berlin’s shirts spoke of revolution, Munthe’s prints naughtily stated “Ok, so I lied” printed over t -shirts. As if it was to little of a statement, models put on funny Trump masks to finish off a great show.

 

Han Kjøbenhavn– a duo team consisting of Tim Faith Hancock and Jannik Wikkelsøe Davidsen is one of my favorite Danish brands along with Henrik Vibskov and Asger Juel Larsen. AW’17 show this time made people raise their brows and go “What the f***?!”. And even though the show was pretty controversial, I still found it amazing not only because of the fresh fashion aesthetics they create but also because of their endless creative expression that manifests in their shows. I prefer when presentations shock, scare or captivate or simply – make you feel something as any piece of art should, rather than just be forgotten once you leave the venue. The dark, twisted and morbid show titled “Rats and dogs, killing men” left everyone in awe and was truly a boundary shaking experience. Prisoners were lined up in the gallows behind the curtains ready to be… hung. Men with rat masks patrolled with real dogs and acted as executioners to the men. In this scene of anarchy and drama, models walked the catwalk sporting somewhat filthy colors of deep marine, mossy green and intense burgundy. Materials were very varied – denim, fur, velvet, leather, camouflage and cotton. Weird puppy print, puffy vests, tweed, cowboy shoes created the effortlessly cool attitude of the “bad guy” – a signature look that Han Kjøbenhavn is so known for.

 

Henrik Vibskov is by far most sought-after Danish designer with probably the biggest international success and recognition. The name Henrik Vibskov has become iconic and associated not only with his fashion label but also with his distorted and mesmerizing universes that he creates with each and every show. “Panopticon And On”, “The Transparent Tongue”, “The Stiff Neck Chamber”, “The Bathtub Observer” and “The Spaghetti Handjob” are just a few names of his collections that convey his unique creative vision. Thankfully, this season the chosen venue – the raw and impressive Østre Gasværk Teater (1883) – was big enough to accommodate all the excited viewers. The Five O’clock Leg Alignment collection that is inspired by the idea of harmony, peace and meditation was set up around imitational sanctuary of distorted yogi. The yogi were first laying on the ground surrounded by a bizarre red installation and later stood up to perform some synchronized moves almost imitating a human clock. This season Vibskov played with different materials such as wool and raw heavy denim and his playful knitwear, vertical stripes and elaborate colorful patterns went perfectly together with alien like spiral headpieces or earrings and quirky felt necklaces. The tones were earthy and autumnal with pops of deep blue and red. Silhouettes were oversized to the extremes and architectural.

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HOW TO OPEN YOUR MIND AND… DOORS

This fashion week blew new winds of change – not only new conceptual performances or innovative venues, but also new emerging talents, one of which is Diana Kuzmickaite. It is lovely to see how open Copenhagen fashion week is – although mostly Danish, of course, it presents international names such as WEARETHEFACES, Fashion Hong Kong, DOMANOFF, Lala Berlin. This time it was time to shine for Diana Kuzmickaite, a Lithuanian fashion designer of a young generation.

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Diana Kuzmickaite is a well-known name in Lithuanian fashion scene and a veteran of “Mados Infekcija” – the biggest fashion event in Lithuania. She is also a first Lithuanian to present her collection in Copenhagen Fashion week. Her Autumn-Winter 2017 collection titled “Circulation of Blood. Close up” was also presented unconventionally- in a niche perfume boutique “Crime Passionel”. Models of whom one was a dancer performed a piece of contemporary dance, while others changed and exchanged their clothing in the face of the audience. The idea behind this performance was to convey the meaning of life – a circulation of blood, circulation of clothes, a constant movement of models that were walking up and down the perfumery, a continuous change. The collection was presented on two levels – upstairs and downstairs of the perfumery and models were constantly moving throughout the two levels of the venue. The palette was neutral and calm with a splash of red and orange. The materials were varying with latex, leather, knitwear, cotton and linen forming mystic and edgy but very wearable neoclassical ensembles. The collection was built around functional conceptuality, interesting and innovative cuts and lengths that dramatically changed the silhouettes of the ensembles and gender- neutral approach, which I really loved.

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The things that I mentioned are just few things why I find Copenhagen Fashion week so admirable and worthy of praise and even more recognition. The openness, professionalism, laid back attitude and inexhaustible creative drive that Danes posses makes each and every fashion week not only a feast for eyes, but also food for thought and a massive boost of inspiration that I can never get enough of.

 

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Part of the series to discover female career paths within the creative and digital industries 

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