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137: Nicklas Skovgaard loves a polyester prom dress
Reporting back from Copenhagen Fashion Week SS24.
Shoppable observations from scenes of interest: Copenhagen Fashion Week SS24.
Run of show
A good few brands tentpoling the week’s events need no introduction—benevolent AI unveiled as the latest Ganni girl, Saks Potts slinging striped polos in the rain, Cecilie Bahnsen’s emotional live Brodie Sessions Home show with Suki—and while I hate to gloss over them so quickly, in the spirit of exploring some less familiar names to shop now, I’ll leave you with the confidence that there’s a lot to look forward to come spring (or, in Saks Potts’ case, up on their site since immediately after the show).
Paolina Russo drove the most off-site conversation, the chat among US editors being that they could easily be “the next Collina Strada.” Interest also hovered on the brand’s shoe choice for the show, which included vintage knee-high Puma Mostro Alto boots that one of the designers apparently collects and has over 100 pairs of.
The discovery of Mark Kenly Domino Tan is a coup for this newsletter and my personal wardrobe. The brand is so Attersee-Toteme-Kallmeyer-coded, and I’m already predictably overtaken with the desire to acquire more fluidly intermixable pieces in addition to the low-slung bias skirt I picked up while on the ground. The brand worked with jewelry maker Monies on custom pieces for its show—bulky organic strings of minerals that livened up the looks’ soft tailoring.
Sophia Roe (daughter of Louise Roe, the glassware designer whose imprint is all over the city) and Charlotte Eskildsen’s The Garment provided the most fodder for future-viral bet making. After 2023’s Tanzania dress, would it be the little apron top, the crochet black maxi dress, or the sweeping car coat to take its place next year? The inclusion of a tempting little neck token on par with Lemaire’s castanet or The Row’s comb, theirs a conch, did not go unappreciated!
Those who think themselves familiar with A. Roege Hove via several helpings at the SSENSE sale should know that as loyal to its materials meditations as it is, the brand is full of surprises—for SS24, that includes a collaboration with Georg Jensen, applying the celebrated Moonlight Grapes jewelry collection to its sheer, bouncy garments.
Baum Und Pferdgarten abides by the codes of CPHFW, which is to say denim, printed dresses, open knits, and blazers, while folding in some familiar Prada-isms—belted nylon outerwear and gingham car coats—though of course no brand can completely claim those. The looks were immediately and pleasingly wearable, to the point where I realized I kind of was wearing it from the front row; not just the Baum coat I had on (the brand nails outerwear), but the Paid Actor silk furoshiki bag I held, which mirrored those on the runway.
Birger Christensen’s gemini brands Remain and Rotate could adequately sum up an entire wardrobe, attending to your professional and polished self through the former while offering an outlet for energetic spillover via the latter. It also just so happens that Rotate, the correctly priced uniform for party girls and divas a world across, is printing money these days.
Also of note from the week were the Opera Sport show, a youth-beloved brand that’s increasingly creeping into New York (keep an eye on it); J.Lindeberg’s presentation that positioned motocross as the next golf as far as sports influences in fashion go; Aeron’s object collaboration with artist Leïla Guinnefollau; and the How Long Gone boys’ collection with Palmes.
Spotted off calendar
Away from the official calendar, I’m coming home with a lot of new brands discovered through sussing out what stylish Danes wear out in the wild. The headliner for me was AF Agger, behind what was undoubtedly the city’s leading It coat, an oversized Barbour-like trench I saw on an alarming number of beautiful, tasteful women.
There isn’t a brand attached to this, but I really took to the look of the small, knit scarves the locals tied around their necks atop sweaters, clearly a second-nature Scandi move. These seem to be abundant on Etsy.
The shoe report in short was sooOO000ooº many Salomons, Onitsuka Tigers, Alaia flats, and flip-flops, as per the local convention to “always go casual with shoes when the rest of the look is dressy” as one PR rep put it. Nothing new to chew on there, but I did come across a niche local shoe brand that interested me: Maerkbare, which makes barefoot shoes that look more like Campers than the traditional orthopedics elsewhere in the category.
Of the many other good brands found walking down good shopping streets and peeking at clothing labels, among the most tempting were Frau, an organic cotton pajama-like brand (think Tekla) making exceptional neutral and cobalt-blue poplins; Kokoon, which is arguably doing the same with high-quality silks and silk blends (think Raey); there’s Caroline Brasch’s girlish, vintage-inspired Caro Editions (somewhere in between La Veste and Rosette); Yvonne Koné is putting out Italian-made leather bags with welcome minimalist Scandinavian sensibility (like Cuyana or Mansur Gavriel); and finally Elhanati, a rough, hand-crafted gold jeweler blending Copenhagen and Israel influences (Alighieri-like in form).
Plenty of non-Nordic brands came up on this discovery mission, too—Ricorrobe from London, which makes great oversized linens; Barcelona brand Steve Mono that does great leather footwear; Japanese socks from Hakne; unexpectedly sexy knits from New Zealand-based Dune; the really fantastically priced Blacktogrey; and an underwear brand to die over—Zimmerli of Switzerland—which makes it also worth mentioning how obsessed the city is with Hanro, another Swiss intimates brand made famous via Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut.
A few non-fashion brands include the 160-year-old Danish bedding brand Geismars, which also mades great sleepwear and boxers; New Zealand’s Abel Odor fragrances, dabbed on in the Mark Kenly Domino Tan flagship; the extraordinarily simple and not-too-pricy furniture brand Moebe (if I go back next summer for 3 Days of Design, expect a much fuller interiors report); The Organic Company is a great source for home textiles and uber-comfy robes; and Aeris Cocktails—I don’t think they’re available in the States yet, but I’ve been an IG fan for ages and finally got to try them IRL at a Levi’s event, where I also managed to embarrass myself unknowingly geeking out about the product to the founder himself. Come to New York, please!
Honorable mentions: By Malene Birger is well-known and loved (by me at least!), but it was still nice to see so many of its boutiques lining the city and even the smartly curated airport mall; Tekla opened its first-ever retail space that’s quickly become the neighborhood’s unofficial living room; and Frama is unknown to no one at this point, but I’ve come to discover how slept-on its towels and textiles are.
Nicklas Skovgaard’s collaborative show with Britt Liberg beamed us into the moment when fashion is at its most serviceable: as a source of frenetic yet tender empowerment through closet play. His clothes, with remarkable, wearable ease, submit carefully considered views on beauty that challenge the dominance of the sensible silk dress. I caught up with Nicklas after the show to get to know the designer, as shopper.
“I do a lot of thrifting, every week I visit a thrift store just in front of my studio. I go on my lunch just to browse through everything: old shoes, old fabrics, clothes, books, a teapot, whatever fits my idea of what I like. I have this policy where I just buy everything I like; because it’s a thrift store, everything is affordable. I think it ends up being a part of my work somehow. In the show, for example, by the entrance we had this bouquet of flowers that was on a pedestal with a brass pot on it, it was just something I bought because I liked it—I could see someone wearing a dress standing next to that. I love taking something old, something already existing that someone else gave away, and I can see it in a new way and give it a new life.
For the past two years I’ve been collecting a lot of ‘80s dresses, a lot of prom dresses that are quite cheap? They’re polyester, but they’re still living, there’s something still there. My mother grew up in the ‘80s and really didn’t like the ‘80s when I was a child, because it was all about cheap quality, and now I really have a big love for that kind of style.
I buy a lot of shoes. It could be designer shoes or no-brand shoes. I think it’s such a defining thing for a look, you know, I just complimented your shoes because I think they fit very well with your outfit! When I see a pair of shoes I think, ‘Ah, I could imagine these with this dress.’ A lot of my looks from the past years have really been created from a pair of shoes…I would love to design shoes, but I have no idea how to. I really hope some day it will happen. I really have a big love for old Sergio Rossi, and I have a lot of them from the ‘90s to mid-Millennium. I’ve also saved a lot of the old ads. I know they have a really big archive, it would be fun to visit that. In terms of making something new since so much of my work is affected by already-existing things, it would be fun to work with someone else’s archive—a big shoe brand archive.
I think the very first memory I have of a designer is Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, I remember when I was 10 or 11, and I got the iPod Video—I still have it in the studio—and from the iTunes store, you could download these videos. Chanel did these custom videos of the shows that you could download for free, and I would watch them all. They really hit me with what they created, they created a universe, I think Karl Lagerfeld did. Being a child, it was really a dreamlike state I got into when I saw those shows. I grew up on a small island a few hours from here, so it was very small-town living. There was no glossy magazines or nice stores around, so this escape at the time meant a lot to me, [creating] a direction for me. This was a time when blogs really became big, which is where I met people with the same interest. That’s what Instagram is for me today, and I think that really shaped my brand—I owe it a lot to Instagram.
My work has a lot of the things I like at the moment, what am I obsessed with, what kind of music do I listen to. It’s my personal life that then becomes my work. I identify myself as a male and I wear menswear, but I think I’ve always had this idea of what would I want to wear if I was to dress in womenswear. It’s not a way that I would dress myself, but I still love to make the dress and put it on someone else, mix it with some shoes, some earrings. It is an extension of myself, I design for myself in my personal taste.
For me, I wear a lot of straight fit trousers and a pair of shoes. I ride around on my bike a lot here in Copenhagen, so something easy and a lot of layers. My own personal style is a little eclectic as well, I don’t really buy a lot of new stuff, it’s also mainly thrifted. I have a uniform—I got to the studio quite early so I like to just get up and get some clothes on. I’m also working with clothes every day, so I don’t want to spend the time thinking about what I should be wearing myself, I’d much rather be in the studio thinking about what I should create with my designs.
I shop online as well. I use a lot of Danish auction sites, a little bit like Vestiaire, but a lot of different stuff—they also sell cars. It’s called DBA; in English it would be translated to “the blue newspaper.” Back in the day, it used to come as a real newspaper and you would look through the sections for shoes, for cars…Now online, there’s something like 4 million articles for sale. Sometimes in the evening, I’ll get home and just type in ‘shoes, size 38’ and say it can’t cost more than, like, 10 euros. I also like Vestiaire Collective for old Sergio Rossi. I’ll search where the highest amount is 30 euros and I’ll go from there. I’ve found so many good things.
The last thing I bought were these—spats. I bought them and then actually used them for the collection just now. We were going to have all of the mannequins, and I was like, ‘what should we do for the shoes?’ I bought these, they were 3 euros or something at the thrift store, so we made them into a longer, knee-high version, and since then I’ve been wearing them myself.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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