Comfort in Copenhagen

Published August 20, 2012

Last week, Denmark’s capital came to life for the Nordic region’s biggest fashion gathering of the year, Copenhagen Fashion Week. This season’s event featured dozens of runway shows and four trade fairs, highlighting over 2,700 international brands.

If there’s one thing that can be surmised from the jam-packed week, it’s that in Copenhagen on and off the runway, comfort is key. Given the city’s active bike culture, flats, loafers, and trainers dominated, along with a surprising number of platform sneakers and creepers. Sportswear, bright colors, tribal patterns, and experimental silhouettes defied the region’s reputation of embracing minimalism.

On the runway, Danish lines Wackerhaus, Wood Wood, and newcomers Stine Ladefoged and Tabernacle Twins were standouts, as were the UK’s Peter Jensen, and as always, Henrik Vibskov, excelling at the avant-garde. His massive, performative pink tongue with hidden dancers gave a whole new meaning to a runway show; while Copenhagen menswear line Soulland took over an obscure mansion, placing in its halls stoic models as living statues outfitted in patterned rompers, short suits, and rain gear.

At Gallery, one of the main fairs, brands like Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Surface to Air, and Norwegian Rain previewed their SS13 collections throughout the week. To combat the monotony that trade shows breed, designers were creative with their booths, staging “presentations” that turned out to be loose interpretations of the word: At BLK DNM, designer Johan Lindeberg laid down coffin-style on a bench, casually entertaining press, napping, and perhaps coming up with new ideas for his denim line; while Venice, CA’s Lightning Bolt, eager to capitalize on the Nordic area’s newfound interest in surfing, offered the fashion masses two shirtless blond “smoothie boys,” who handing out fruity drinks from behind a surfboard.

While it still has a ways to go to compete with New York, Paris and Milan, Copenhagen Fashion Week proved to be up to the challenge, offering experimentation, wit, and a diverse style that appeared effortless, comfortable, and fun both on and off the runway. Here, we picked some of our favorite looks of the week.