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Ivana Helsinki

Copenhagen Fashion Week Roundup Pt 1

The Danish may be quivering over the future of their well established "premium middle market" but the recession might benefit the unique voices at CFW.

Dansk Daily, the daily rag produced and distributed by Dansk Magazine reported that the "premium middle market", a buzz term characterised by those semi-established Danish fashion exports such as Bruuns Bazaar, By Malene Birger and Designers Remix Collection may be quaking in its well-made, but not that exciting boots.  The article proposed a shopping theory that when in crisis, we will either turn to either the Wal-Marts or Chanels of this world to console ourselves.
 
This doesn't bode too well for the Danish fashion scene that has largely been built up by being able to meet in the middle of those two extremes, by providing clothes that are high in quality, not overtly conceptual and destined to become wardrobe essentials. This is reflected on the Copenhagen Fashion Week schedule which has is now on its third day of the A/W 09 season. The truth that nobody even wants to whisper though is that like other fashion weeks in the world, there isn't the really need for this number of designers and that an elimination process is inevitable. There isn't the need for twenty different perfectly cut blazers and white shirt dresses.
 
The silver lining is that Copenhagen Fashion Week can perhaps concentrate on supporting young designers that aren't offering that black blazered, white shirted vision but something that dares to be different. Judging by the whoops and cheers from the audience as soon as anything remotely risque appears on the catwalk, clearly fashion enthusiasts in Copenhagen are crying out for something that isn't middle of the road, demonstrated by a few examples on day two of Copenhagen Fashion Week.
 
The day began with Ivana Helsinki, who has made a name for herself indulging in Finnish folkloric patterns and prints. For A/W 08 she had stars in her eyes, and transferred variations of her star print onto feminine dresses. A feeling of Little House on the Prairie came through the in the smock dresses and was made more dramatic with high-volume square shoulders. The surprise ensemble came out in the form of a peach knitted dress and a metal sheet skirt with cut-out stars recalling something the metal dress opening scene of William Klein's Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo?

Bibi Ghost forced her models to walk out blindfolded by a printed peach pillow, wrapped around the head. Or was it a jacket? Nobody was really sure but those not too distracted by the headgear saw loose silhouettes in a tactile-friendly washed silk (guests got a swatch of it to take away), sticking to either a mock-croc print in dusky pink or plain black, grey or blue. Slashes at the kneecaps of leggings will please the girls of Copenhagen.
 
The shows started to get a whole lot more serious when the Designers Remix show venue was elevated to the Black Diamond Concert Hall, as part of Copenhagen's Royal Library. What played out was a slick affair of "equestrian elegance" complete with helmets made out of jet black hair, impossibly high pony tails and a take on riding gear that only a fashion designer could conjure up. Designer Charlotte Eskildsen's signature style could be seen in fleeting glimpses, in the raised puffed shoulders, exaggerated origami and structural pleating.
 
Stine Goya garnered the most amount of anticipation and guests crowding into the tent were met with burlesque-style models on swinging on each side of the catwalk. Fashion show goers were clearly crying out for some light relief because as soon as the diamante tights and gem-encrusted catsuits started strutting out, people were cheering them on as if to say "More more more!". Goya stuck to her own brand of modern chic though with fitted jackets and body-conscious but not frighteningly tight dresses.
 
The day ended with Soulland, one of the few menswear only designers showing on the schedule after winning the +46 talent award a few seasons ago. In a Carlsberg warehouse, an abstracted wooden hut was set up for models to walk out barefeet, in almost naive camping attire. Knitted long johns, quilted jackets, high-necked knits and trousers made out of high endurance rubber were the Soulland camping staples. Given that the collection is called "Savage Mountain", the cosmetic tribute to Heath Ledger's Joker make-up made sense in the context of the clothing.