Brands such as Nhu Duong, Cheap Monday, The Local Firm and Whyred made the Swedish fashion outing a success
As one of the last smaller, international Fashion Weeks before the official Spring Summer 2013 Ready to Wear season kicks off in New York, Mercedes Benz Stockholm Fashion Week took it upon itself to show the finest in Scandinavian fashion. Copenhagen might be bigger but with a focus, at least among the better shows, on street menswear (Wood Wood, Soulland, Henrik Vibskov, Peter Jensen), Sweden’s capital stepped up to own womenswear.
This was accomplished with the help of Nhu Duong, one of the first to show at the three-day event. As always, Duong brought her semi futuristic techno attitude along for the ride, along with martial art-inspired details, all in all creating an exciting mixture of trouser shapes and loosely fitted tops. The focus on bottoms meant we saw three types of trousers (XXL wide, slim & flared and high waisted) plus a new style, looking almost like reversed shorts, i.e. the models only wore the bottom half of the trouser. Excellent use of net materials in bomber jackets and dresses made garments that are normally quite rough look vulnerable and sensitive. Oversized denim jackets and T-shirts contrasted against the slim trousers and dresses in what has become a Nhu Duong trademark.
Roland Hjort’s Whyred is a Swedish fashion staple. His work has always been heavily influenced by sub cultures, often British, and the S/S13 season was no exception but this time Hjort's attention was turned to New York City. Adding a bit of colour (orange, electric blue) to proceedings, we saw paisley patterns, shimmering suits and monochrome graphic prints on slim, 80s new wave-inspired suits and pleated trousers. Golden pointy shoes added glamour and rock edge.
The Local Firm (Richard Hutchinson and Axel Nyhage) is a bit of a super team, especially combined with the stylist POV from long time collaborator Robert Rydberg. This approach is always visible in a TLF show due to the aesthetic coherence. The often dark and moody colour scheme was merged up with lighter, more natural shades. Headscarves added to a stylistic consistency, one that – according to the duo – was inspired by “urban rave kids from the 90s”. A unisex sartorial base of jeans and bombers was mixed up through layering geometric shapes with body-tight lycra pieces.
In terms of shapes, cuts and draping, the prize went to Diana Orving who showcased a collection of dresses, jackets and coats in silk and organza. Calling it ‘Flowing Origami’, Orving set the tone straight away and delivered all the way throughout with simple and clean cuts in luxe fabrics. A few abstract prints and subtle paint splatter gave the collection a visual identity, but Orving’s Spring Summer vision was all about how the fabrics and the body worked together in harmonic movement.
As one of three headline shows, together with J.Lindeberg and Tiger of Sweden, Ann-Sofie Back’s Cheap Monday is free to just about anything. It’s of course a high street brand, albeit one with an attitude, and Back – a veteran of high-end catwalk extravaganzas – has taken Cheap Monday to new heights since 2009, often with a bit of humour. For S/S13, we were driven to a skate park outside central Stockholm. Shirts and Tees with slogans, the overall silhouette (loose and over sized) plus camouflage caps all testified to a 90s grunge attitude. But for Back it was also about all the ‘in between’ phenomena in life: people, feelings, looks and thoughts that can’t be placed or categorised. As always there was a strong denim focus, but more than anything Cheap Monday impressed with conceptual coherency and strong looks.
One of the last designers to show, Hernandéz Cornet, will have to represent the next generation of Swedish fashion. In an intimate setting in one of the upper floors of Berns Salonger, the designer showed a collection inspired by a MTV generation experimenting with “workwear, baggy jeans and denim bras.” Off white denim – utility waistcoats and flared trousers with slits – made for a strong start. Throughout the collection, two visual themes were evident; the Hernandéz Cornet logo featured heavily but - perhaps even more eye catching - several jackets were embellished with metal bits, creating a welcome contrast to the swanky setting and sophisticated collection.