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Fall/Winter 2024: poetry and workaholism at Copenhagen Fashion Week

By Jule Scott


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The Garment Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) has long been more than a mere stopover in the run-up to the official kick-off of the 'Fashion Month' with the big women's fashion shows in the major fashion metropolises. A favourite among Instagram it-girls, industry veterans and buyers alike, most of the styles that make it onto the catwalk in the Danish capital are likely to dominate both wish lists and social media feeds in six months' time.

Scandinavian style, ever so often associated with minimalism, has shaped into an unparalleled take on practical playfulness and yet, for the most part, refrains from gimmicks. In recent years, aesthetic associations with the city have been largely characterised by brands such as Baum und Pferdgarten, Stine Goya and Ganni, although the latter decided not to stage a catwalk this season.

Instead of partaking in the official Copenhagen Fashion Week Show programme, the brand celebrated its tenth anniversary as part of CPHFW by taking a step back from the spotlight to set the stage for emerging talent. Working with the fashion week's talent programme, Ganni selected seven up-and-coming Danish artists and designers, each of whom presented a piece as part of the fashion house's "Future, Talent, Fabrics" exhibition.

Promising talents demonstrate a sense of poetry and drama

The designers taking part in the exhibition included Nicklas Skovgaard and Alectra Rothschild, two of the most promising talents on the Danish fashion scene. However, both were not only involved with Ganni, but also presented their visions on the catwalk in Copenhagen. For Rothschild's eponymous brand Alectra Rothschild/Masculina, it was a catwalk debut that will be one to remember for a long time to come.

The Central Saint Martins graduate, who has already worked with Mugler's creative director Casey Cadwallader and the team at Alexander McQueen, among others, showed provocative looks full of 'Y2K' inspirations. The collection was characterised by draped zero-waste dresses that adapted to different body shapes and were effortlessly staged by a diverse, largely transgender cast of models. Her transition and the experience that came with it also served as the inspiration behind the collection, which bears the name "Rebirth Carry". "This is a narrative of the transformation that many trans people experience once the active transition process has begun," explains Rothschild.

Alectra Rothschild / Masculina Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/Spotlight

The internet's fierce reaction to John Galliano's latest couture collection for Maison Margiela has emphasised the industry's longing for poetic design as well as the desire for theatricality in fashion. Nicklas Skovgaard's collection, which combines a soft corporate silhouette with a flair for drama and the Tudor period, could and should fill a space that only greats like Galliano have dared to fill in previous seasons. While his flowing and flouncy pieces spoke for themselves, the designer emphasised his presentation with choreography and 80s beats. The models, many of whom resembled dolls - another parallel to Galliano's by now infamous Margiela presentation - mingled with the audience, posing, dancing and playing with various fruits as they held the viewers spellbound.

Nicklas Skovgaard Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Half performance, half fashion show also best describes Paolina Russo's show. After the two designers Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard staged their first show in Copenhagen last season, they returned to the Danish capital for Fall/Winter 2024 together with performance artist Esben Weile Kjær. Stonehenge served as inspiration for the set, adorned with giant monolithic sculptures, while models danced around in the brand's signature knitwear. Runes, both in the form of patterns on the clothes and in the scenery, conjured up a folkloristic yet contemporary atmosphere and a touch of nomadism on the catwalk, which was reflected throughout the collection.

Paolina Russo Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/Spotlight

Although the three young brands introduced an energy not unlike that of the once vibrant London fashion scene, they are the exception rather than the rule in Copenhagen. In many respects, commerce tends to reign here, but the Danish capital also proves that commerciality is not synonymous with monotony. Cult label Saks Potts presented a small but refined collection that harked back to the 2010s, in particular to the festival style of model Kate Moss, while Rotate once again proved that the next party - and therefore a reason to wear a shiny, see-through gown - is just an invitation away.

Saks Potts Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight
Rotate Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2024 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Copenhagen gets to work

Nevertheless, an atmosphere of celebration was not the predominant theme of Copenhagen Fashion Week, as most designers seemed to be in the mood for work. Many of the fashion narratives this season were more business-like, more commercial, and ultimately a little more corporate.

The Garment Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Tailored coats, two-piece suits, stiff shirts and ties - for both men and women - were seen en masse. The Garment shortened the sleeves and length of jackets and placed oversized, pointed shirt collars over knitwear, while Mfpen added a dash of grunge to standard office wear.

Mfpen Credits: ©Launchmetrics/Spotlight
Design Caroline Engelgaar's collection for her brand Mark Kenly Domino Tans was modelled on pilot Amelia Earhart, and although there were some stylistic nods to the world of aviation, including flight jackets, it's easier to imagine the collection in a boardroom than in the air. Shoulders were severe and tailored, collars stiff and trousers wide, maintaining a serious interpretation of 'power dressing' that emerged in Copenhagen this season. Unlike some recent fashion trends, this approach also translates easily across all age groups - something the designers at CPHFW seemed to have taken to heart, presenting clothes for different age groups that should no longer be revolutionary on the catwalk, but in many ways still are.
Copenhagen Fashion Week