If Copenhagen Fashion Week has grown a reputation for being one of the most conscious showcases on the annual schedule with its reputable 18-point sustainability criteria and its egalitarian ethos, then this season the organisers made a point of acknowledging it. In her opening speech for Copenhagen Fashion Week A/W 2024, the fashion council’s CEO Cecilie Thorsmark told attendees that against a backdrop of war and political division, the fashion community should be ‘remind[ed] that democracy is not to be taken for granted. In this super scary context, to put it straight, let’s all remind ourselves that from our privileged ground in this industry, we must make the most of our voice, and the most of our platforms for something better.
‘Many of us in our industry, […] have such loyal communities who listen and take inspiration from us,’ she continued. ‘So, we need to take that opportunity and make ourselves heard and push for change. Whether we push for a better climate, peace, more diversity and inclusion, political stability, or the safeguarding of our democracy.’
Of the 29 brands on the schedule, a handful carried the same message (see: Alectra Rothschild / Masculina, Stamm and Henrik Vibskov) and were the most successful for it. Elsewhere, the absence of megabrand Ganni (which opted to support young brands including Nicklas Skovgaard, Sarah Brunnhuber, and Alectra Rothschild this season) put the spotlight on its fellow experts in contemporary wardrobing, for which this Nordic showcase remains famed. Stine Goya, Munthe and OpéraSport all got the memo, presenting collections that found a point of difference when it comes to originality and, crucially, retail positioning.
Here, we report on the best of Copenhagen Fashion Week A/W 2024.
The best of Copenhagen Fashion Week A/W 2024
Celebrity favourite Rotate took the big billing of the week bringing a close to the shows in a chandelier-lit warehouse. Its designers (and two of Copenhagen’s most popular fashion influencers) Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimarsdottir have built this brand into a huge success story because of their unapologetically fun-loving pursuit of sequins and OTT Nordic glamour. This season, they took it a step further with corsage-covering mini dresses worn with stockings, navel-cut cocktail dresses dripping in crystals, and transparent sequin wiggle dresses. ‘We love to embrace the female body and be sexy,’ said Valdimarsdottir after the show. The big gearshift this season was the pair’s foray into bridalwear for which they went digging in the archives of 1950s magazines that informed the cinched corseted waists of the eight-piece capsule (a number chosen in honour of Elizabeth Taylor who famously tied the knot the same amount of times). ‘We think about all kinds of girls, not necessarily only the girl who wants the long dress because a lot of people [already] cater to that,’ continued Valdimarsdottir. ‘If I were to get married, I would love to have something short, maybe a little bit see-through. The bridal market has become less and less traditional, so for us to step into that [space] just feels really natural.’As they brought the curtain down on the week, another velvet curtain dropped behind them to reveal a free vodka bar that was slated to go on well into the night to a club-night Lana del Rey remix – much to Madsen’s delight. ’She’s dramatic and she's powerful and she's all about that woman that we are catering to.’
Capturing an insouciant effortlessness that is as evocative of the Parisian Left bank as it is Copenhagen’s Vesterbro, Munthe has been answering the call for creative-office dress code since 1994 and continues to nail it. This season, creative director and founder Naja Munthe was inspired by her childhood love of horses. ‘Those formative years were marked by the sanctuary I found in the stables and the profound companionship of horses, each hoofbeat leaving an indelible mark on the canvas of my character,’ she said. ‘For this collection, we have embraced the meticulous contrast of rugged denim against delicate fabrics, ranch patterns and combined it with inspiration from my childhood memory of these majestic creatures.’ It accounted for the triple denim references (seen at multiple shows this week, arriving here with a fringed crystal trim), the balloon-sleeve shirts cinched with waistcoats, and true-blue jeans tucked into leather cowboy boots, the latter a Noughties styling hack that is making a comeback across multiple fashion capitals. For the most part though, this was a collection that just made looking good like easy, which is actually the inspiration one needs. Whether it be baggy jeans worn with a leopard-print blazer or cashmere sweaters worn over crisp shirts, this collection gave a fresh perspective to the familiar, bridging the gap between delicate hero pieces and daily essentials.
‘We just had to get through it a bit this time,’ smiled Henrik Vibskov after his show that was conceived after a deep dive into therapy. The designer, like several of his fellow designers on the schedule, was in a reflective mood when conceptualising this collection, and so had an open brainstorm with his team where he asked them what a fantasy day at work would entail. One answered, ‘daily therapy sessions’ and it stuck with Vibskov. ‘I think it’s very much a sign of a very fragile society where people are not 100 per cent sure, because you know, the world is in a mess. There are such big problems happening, from war to the environment,’ he expanded. ‘So, the only thing you nearly can handle is kind of individual needs because the other stuff is so big questions that you like: whoa I don’t know where to start.’
Exploring different therapies led Vibskov to digital gaming, old-school board games, horse therapy and morning light therapy, all of which were symbolised in the collection from matelassé embroidered chess pieces to knit-intarsia horses that appeared on enveloping padded coats, warming knitwear and multidimensional jacquard tailoring. ‘I think that clothes can do a lot and is a part of consumerism therapy in how you make yourself feel safe and how you protect yourself from all kinds of daily needs in this wobbly world,’ he said. Vibskov’s own therapy is chewing gum, hence this collection’s mantle, ‘The Daily Chewing Gum Therapy Session’, and the theme of the set design that saw performers (wearing costumes Vibskov has designed for the forthcoming production of Flammenwerfer in Malmo) stretch out gauze symbolising pink bubblegum from boxes from where they watched the show play out. ‘They were confession rooms,’ revealed Vibskov, ‘which is also kind of therapy.’
‘The mood is this intellectual New Yorker in the 60s and 70s, artists like Joan Didion and Leonard Cohen, people who use their words as their craftsmanship,’ explained Skall Studio’s Julie Skall alongside her sister Marie post-show. It’s a mood that the pair deliver with a light touch most of the time and this season they nailed the look of their literary heroes once more. Here, the clothes riffed off utilitarian and industrial codes that imbued an attitude of quiet determination to enveloping silhouettes, boile suits and boxy tailoring. With models clutching their coats (crafted from recycled GRS wool from Italian Manteco) close to their necks with one hand and a Moleskin notebook or newspaper in the other, it wasn’t a stretch to imagine these women walking around Manhattan – the wool coat over blue jeans look appeared to be a direct ode to the uniform of another NYC literary icon, Fran Lebowitz. In a counter celebration of their own artistic roots, their pair also incorporated heavy tape embroidery from India where the pair lived before starting their label a decade ago this year and collaborated with Kinraden on the collection of jewellery that appeared as earrings and brooches on lapels and is crafted from recycled silver and gold.
Last season, Stine Goya held a street party outside her Copenhagen home for her show; this season, she invited us into her atelier in the city to lift the latest curtain on her world. All sweeping staircases, bay windows and parquet floors, the space played host and muse, as the designer paid homage to its energy and architecture through her clothes. Ink illustrations of the atrium stairwell provided the hero pieces of the collection that Goya aptly titled ‘Art Work’. Meanwhile, watercolour lilies splashed across silk dresses looked as though they could have been finished backstage moments before on account of the paintbrushes and jars of pastel-hued water that were positioned around the set. It was intended, said the designer, to be a celebration of the artistry involved with fashion design hence why she sat the audience within a whisper of the models passing by so we could examine the skill up close. Micro-sequinned gowns, embroidered jacquard coats and bomber jackets, and layered pinstripe tailoring were countered with more casual leather jackets and denim on denim (the latter a trend that is slowly but very surely gaining pace), coming together to form a wardrobe with oodles of Scandi art-house appeal.
For his debut runway show, Mfpen creative director Sigurd Bank gathered guests in Galleri Nicolai Waller to watch his sweaty, messy, good-time crew stalk around the room in a hurry. For the record, this was a good thing – giving en-route-to-work-when-you-haven’t-been-home-yet vibes. ‘Exactly, they just left a punk show in their suits after a hardcore show and they are really tired but they're still psyched and pumped,’ smiled Wallner backstage. Probably the best-dressed ravers in town, the show presented corp-core with an alluring filter and a heavy punk soundtrack that included Circle Jerks. Super-light tailoring that looked like a second skin was worn with a nonchalant swagger, pinstripes were teamed with relaxed shirts, and shredded dresses kept under wraps by heritage wool and tweed tailored coats. ‘This is my playlist I've been listening to hardcore metal and punk since forever and I still love tailoring; I like I like the mix of those two,’ he added. Collectively, 60 per cent of this collection was crafted from deadstock, while the rest was made from organic and recycled cotton, giving a lived-in sensibility to these clothes and an extra dimension of authenticity.
After four seasons, OpéraSport founders and designers Stephanie Gundelach and Awa Malina Stelter have firmly hit their stride, fusing their signature sporty jersey silhouettes with a maturity and newfound elegance. The pair took inspiration from their name this season, not only opting to present at the Copenhagen Opera House but basing the collection’s motif of the baroque architecture and opulence of the Palais Garnier. It could be seen in the quilting on leather trousers and in a two-piece bomber and skirt set, each made from vegan leather; in the ruched waves that flourished across knitted dress and tuxedo-style shirts; and in the faux-fur stoles that sat atop models’ shoulders. Much like their incongruous inspirations, it created contrasts of sporty and sexy, casual and high-wattage that felt fresh. ‘I think we’ve really found our place now,’ said Stelter backstage. ‘We are growing and we know which direction we want to go.’
J.Lindeberg may have enjoyed a strong association with golfing attire since it launched back in 1996, but these days its sights are firmly set on higher ground. ‘We've got this rave dream apres-ski concept going on which goes back to our Y2K heritage,’ said chief creative officer Neil Lewty, backstage at the brand’s first show on the CPHFW schedule. ‘I love the idea of [going] back and forth between [then and now] and making it relevant.’ To do so, he used club-inspired glitch graphics as a symbolic segueway between both the eras and each sporting pursuit, bringing skin-tight motocross silhouettes, body-con golf-inspired knitwear and huge padded outerwear into one wardrobe. ‘We’re never gonna be the brand that's gonna take you all the way up to the top of the Alps. But we just want to make sure you look good on the way up there and on the way down,’ laughed Lewty. Joining the line-up of models here was Lucas Braathen, the reigning World Cup slalom champion, winner of five World Cup races and the brand’s new campaign star.
Elisabet Stamm’s collections are always a personal reflection of the world and how she sees her role in it. In doing so, she is one of this showcase’s most original thinkers and frequently the host of its most thought-provoking show. This season, she stayed true to form, inviting guests into a set that was scattered with objects from her life. Books, a car seat, a bottle of water, a Netto supermarket bag, her child Svante’s drawings, plants and a sofa, where musician Ephraim Raiden Rose read the show notes to the live soundtrack mixed by Columbus Marslew. ‘We live in between art and commerce. Art and commerce baby. What can I tell you about the universe? It’s a lot of business lingo lately, I see poetic in potential, I see potential in poet. Sales window, delivery window – it’s a window of opportunities. I just gotta catch my breath’. It related, she said, to her role as both a designer and a mum. Times are difficult, and I was like, ‘what is fashion right now? How can I do anything without it being superficial?’ I go to a lot to museums, which I love. It's kind of where I find peace. And then my everyday is, I go there, I go to Netto, I pick Svante up from school and I go home.’ Her routine materialised in pictures she had taken of sculptures laser-burned onto denim, in collaboration with her friend and denim designer Christine Detlefsen; a calming palette with hits of optimistic ‘Netto’ yellow; and huge enveloping padded coats designed to evoke a cocoon-like practicality that caters to both the everyday and increasingly trying times. ‘I see the art and commerce space as a window of opportunity, and this is art from my heart,’ she said.
Aeron creative director Eszter Áron chose her gallery show location in Frederiksgade for its serenity and sophistication, creating an apt prelude to her collection. The designer, who started her brand ten years ago, has long been fascinated by the intersection that exists between art and fashion – finding common ground in concepts involved. ‘[It’s] a continuous journey of learning, developing, and maturing,’ she says. ‘Art has always been a source of inspiration to me. Not just the artworks themselves, but the process of observing and interpreting the subject, which then becomes a new creation inside the mind. That's how I look at a garment or a collection: in motion, filled with feelings and emotions.’ For this collection, she collaborated with the artist Sári Ember, who is based in Budapest where Aron is also from, and whose sculptural medium translated to silver hardware and brooches on tailoring and trenches, abstract prints and an earthy-pastel colour palette that played out in razor-sharp silhouettes creating a positive tension between spontaneity and sobriety. Think ’artist on a reconnaissance’ and you’ve got the picture.
Last season’s wunderkind (among Wallpaper’s fashion designers to watch in 2024) returned for his sophomore collection with a well-earned bounce in his step. Last season for his debut, Nicklas Skovgaard wowed the crowd with a collaborative avant-garde performance by Britt Liberg, who modelled the entire collection solo. This season, she was back to bring the drama with a group. Skovgaard has seen results and a growing fan base from and for his Victoriana-meets-1980s aesthetic. Here, he conjured Melanie Griffith in Working Girl by way of Bridgerton. Exaggerated shoulders (with pads, of course), pleated midi skirts, suede-insert leather bomber jackets and sequined funnel necks paved the way for leotards and tailcoats, the latter proving a winning combo. And, while Skovgaard once again showed his natural flair at igniting a mood and putting on a really good show, take away the styling – all backcombed hair-sprayed up-dos, white high heels, Flashdance shoulders, and leg warmers – and this was still a collection full of great clothes.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Won Hundred made a solid case for investing in truly excellent separates with its A/W 2024 collection. Having made its name as an expert in denim, founder and creative director Nikolaj Nielsen went into the archives ‘to reimagine iconic denim styles that were pivotal in our early years’, he said. This translated to the brand’s signature slim-fit jeans reworked in a looser silhouette by integrating panels from deadstock fabric and the debut of a unisex jean, the ‘Genoa’, straight cut with a subtle flare. Aside from the denim, material advancement was the story here: the leather was a hit, arriving in the kind of biker jackets one could happily live in and made from hardy Realgrade-certified leather sourced from New Zealand. Elsewhere, advances were made with its puffer jackets which have been crafted with 100 per cent recycled nylon and given a ‘Bionic-Finish Eco’ that imbues water resistance without chemical treatment. ‘We’ve taken time to understand what Won Hundred truly represents. Now, we’re ready to unleash the full potential of our work, channelling our collective experiences into [this] collection and drawing inspiration from the past two decades,’ says Nielsen.
Having worked in the studios of Raf Simons, Christian Dior, Balmain, Lanvin and Theory, Forza Collective founder Kristoffer Guldager Kongshaug decided to make his own-brand debut in Copenhagen because his womenswear brand aligns with Danish values. ‘Quality, craftsmanship, longevity, responsibly sourced textiles and a love for natural products, community – through these values and by drawing on my experience from two very opposite cities in the world of fashion, Paris, and New York, I work to bring a new take on Scandinavian minimalism,’ he told Wallpaper*. For his show on Monday 29 January, the designer presented a tight offering that outlined his vision. Industrial-inspired dust coats and utilitarian dropped-waist dresses with PVC overlays contrasted with ruffled, picked denim and a series of quite dreamy corset dresses that had breastplate inserts and subtle cut-outs. The last he presented in nylon, as opposed to fabrics more frequently associated with the grandeur of eveningwear. ‘Something you usually think of as old and dusty suddenly gets a facelift and feels sporty and relevant,’ he explains. ’It suddenly feels very different and speaks to a different customer just by changing the fabric.’
The it-girl favourite of the Copenhagen fashion scene, which captured a million hearts with its ‘Foxy’ coat, returned to fashion week with a collection that proved outerwear remains its USP. Here, jewel-toned puffer jackets, a panelled cow-hide coat and the ‘Foxy 2.0’ in leather and shearling were the highlights of a concise 14-look show. For the rest of its ready-to-wear, Kate Moss at Glastonbury circa 2003 was clearly on the moodboard here, with a replica look comprising a pink kaftan, low-slung belt and black suede boots. Elsewhere, the baseball T-shirts, satin slip dresses, and whipstitch leather trousers, all of which were worn with kitten heels, were classic Y2K-era styling, a look that is continuing to peak this season – if it hasn’t already done so.
Alectra Rothschild / Masculina
Making their debut at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Alectra Rothschild and her eponymous brand – Alectra Rothschild / Masculina – staged what was only the second show of the week but its energy is proving hard to beat. Bringing her friends and personal heroes together to model her collection, entitled ‘The Rebirth Carry’, Rothschild turned the catwalk into a club with the help of DJ G2G, who created the exclusive soundtrack to the show, featuring voiceovers from trans icons that played from the decks in the centre of the room. As soon as the first beat dropped, the runway came alive, as each model took a turn around the room and remained on the floor thereafter. A trained tailor, the CSM graduate’s own identity and influences shone here, from the captivating corsets that feature her ’zero-waste technique’ to fit a multitude of bodies to the undeniable impact of her former mentor Casey Cadwallader at Mugler. ‘I think what I just showcased here today is my culture, what I come from and the people I have around me are other people than what’s usually portrayed as Scandinavia. I think it’s time we showed other narratives,’ she said backstage.
Stay tuned for more from Copenhagen Fashion Week A/W 2024.
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Scarlett Conlon a freelance journalist and consultant specialising in fashion, design and lifestyle. Before relocating to Italy, she held roles as deputy fashion editor at The Guardian and Observer and news editor at British Vogue in London. She is currently a regular contributor Wallpaper* Magazine among other prominent international fashion and design titles.
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