Thursday 13 February 2014

Copenhagen A/W 2014: The Fashion Capital of Scandinavia

Asger Juel Larsen presented a collection called Arctic Suburb Manual of daring digital prints of heads, legs and arms ~ a sort of dolls' horror show that no one could take their eyes off. Larsen's designs are a clash of textures but have an aesthetic that is both hardcore industrial and romantic.
Our fashion correspondent Limor Helfgott looks at Scandinavian fashion and chooses the best new talents and established designers at Copenhagen Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2014

THERE are many reasons to get excited about Copenhagen Fashion Week, including the street style and the chic, winning looks of the new autumn collections. We’ve had our eye on Scandinavian fashion and particularly on the scene in the Danish capital. Danish designers are starting to have the same impact as those in London and it is now the place for young talents to be educated.

Presenting its autumn/winter 2014 fashion week, Copenhagen lived up to its reputation for edgy, imaginative shows. Bringing Danish fashion to the world, the catwalks had a mix of new and established Scandinavian designers with avant-guarde upcoming labels. Local hero, Mads Nørgaard returned to show his collections to the Danish crowd after a four year absence. Barbara I Gongini brought a strong dose of innovation while Henrik Vibskov added colorful prints and fabrics. Veronica B. Vallenes presented soft classic Norwegian silhouettes on the runway for her show.There were many highlights from the catwalks, but some shone brighter than others and made this fashion week outstanding.

Asger Juel Larsen (see his collection below) is one of the rising stars of menswear with his creations worn by pop stars like Rihanna. The rule-breaking, adventurous designer established himself in the UK after graduating from the London Collage of Fashion. He has worked for John Richmond and Burberry Prorsum and and he is now one of Scandinavia's brightest stars.

Larsen's current collection is called Arctic Suburb Manual and uses lots of nylon and high-tech fabrics. There were functional and slouchy metallic pants and boxy, glossy jackets in grey,white and turquoise. The wearable, well fitted collection also introduced Larsen's signature mix of prints which look cool instead of screamingly tacky.

Next to the tribal patterns, he presented daring digital prints of heads, legs and arms, a sort of doll's horror show that it was difficult to take your eyes off. Larsen's designs are a clash of textures full of an aesthetic that is both hardcore industrial and romantic.

Fashion house Baum und Pherdgarten (see collection below) was founded in 1999 by Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave. They like to approach their designs with a touch of irony and humor and the brand is well-known for its innovative approach, quality and focus on details.

They presented a strong A/W 2014 collection that was a celebration of prints, feminine shapes and lace combined with sporty influences. The tartan trend was an overall print in the show, quilted jerseys with quirky accents such as leopard prints. The monochrome palette was dotted with splashes of oxblood, lilac and a very beautiful bottle green. 

The signature piece was the flared mini skirt with pleats also appearing on sleeves and peplum tops. Grandpa collars also featured and were layered with knitwear, shirts with contrast piping, sequins (we saw a lot on the catwalks!), snakeskin (that too!) exposed zippers, leather panels, chiffon and quilting. Again layering was a key player in styling this collection as well as experimenting with proportions. Baum und Pferdgarten proved that they are a true go to brand for a simple feminine and classic style with quirky details.

Anne Sofie Madsen (see collection below) trained under John Galliano for Dior in Paris before moving to London to work for Alexander McQueen as a junior designer. For the past couple of seasons, she has risen to be one of the most promising stars of avant-garde fashion in Europe. Her designs are a mix of great detailing, punk and extravagance. Her A/W 2014 collection called A Journey That Wasn't was inspired by the namesake video installation by French artist Pierre Huyge, taking the viewer to Antarctica and combining it with the millennium fears of the 1990s.

There was a big focus on technique as well as materials like silk, micro fibre, embellished cotton and neoprene contrasted with metallic rings and chains. The thick leathers developed by Anne Sofie Madsen and ECCO are a very successful collaboration and the pieces are some of the best of the collection.

Functionalism is important to the designer, with big leather jackets lined with warm neoprene. Washed and bleached denim with frayed edges add to the late ‘90s feel. Her signature sheer and embellished couture dresses were combined with handmade silver accessories by jewellery designer Trine Tuxen. The fur helmets were created by milliner Søren Bach to complete the collection. Overall, a very powerful collection that attracted a lot of attention at this season’s Copenhagen fashion week.

Henrik Vibskor (see pictures of his collection below) one of the most curious, fun and quirky designers, rocked his provocatively titled collection The Spaghetti Handjob. The idea behind the name: he wanted to show the difference between cooked and raw spaghetti and did so with an exciting mishmash of colorful prints, shapes and patterns which were both oversized and tailored at the same time.

On the catwalk, models walked on a twenty-metre-long bed of stretched elastic bands, wearing headwear with chinstraps, reminiscent of those worn by soviet military tank operators. Footwear took the form of boots with a sea foam band fit for the coldest conditions. The layering of fabrics within individual pieces was a significant part of the collection, each layer serves a different purpose; baggy trousers that give a relaxed feel to the classic look, hand crafted knits that were created using old-fashioned rug hooking techniques.

The outerwear also shone: short coats with a zippers and big sculptural neoprene layered sweatshirts added to the edgy look. If you examine the collection closely, putting the styling aside, Vibskor is a master of turning wearable, casual, pieces into something utterly special without being over the top.

Malene Birger (see the collection below) is a popular, high-end international designer brand that has a Net-a-Porter line and is a long time classic worn by style-setters like Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Called All that Jazz, the new collection was all about layering and mixing materials. The A/W 2014 collection is a new chapter for the fashion house as design manager Christina Exsteen took the bow after designer Malene Birger recently left in order to pursue new creative challenges.

The collection was sophisticated and elegant, yet more playful and a bit younger then the last collection, mixing luxurious materials with soft knits and chunky hardwear. There were a wide variety of silhouettes for both everyday wear and evening wear. Pieces included over the knee skirts and floating, flattering silk dresses, loose pants with inspiration from menswear and oversized knitwear. The prints were a very big part of this collection – retro-inspired pin stripes, flowery and animal motifs.

The color palette was dominated by strong blue, black, white, brown, silvery and golden tones. Another very strong element was the combination and layering of sequins, soft knits and leather. This collection had some items high on my wish list. We are looking forward to seeing more from Malene Birger with Christina Exsteen.

Pictures by Copenhagen Fashion Week

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