A slicked-back pony, some kind of puff-sleeved dress, a quirky shoe: Scandinavian style is now so ubiquitous within culture that it has become the new aesthetic standard. Designers like Alectra Rothschild, however, are proving the region has far more to offer than the sartorial equivalent of solid teak furniture and dried flowers. Her designs span a peak-shouldered, iridescent blazer with suspender straps and massive nipple holes, a second skin bodysuit barely held together by sinuous strands of fluorescent string, and a ruched LBD, sliced from shoulder to hip, worn with a pair of metallic opera gloves.
Drawing on the subversive glamour of Pete Burns and Angeleyne, the designer’s stuff has been worn by Michèle Lamy and Arca, but it’s her own community of drag queens and ballroom kids that best embody her outlook. “Flamboyant, high femme, and quite shameless,” she says, of her designs. “The people I design for are like myself, trans people, and people who subscribe to glamour and femininity.” Having dressed in an androgynous manner for most of her life, Rothschild’s breakout collection exorcised the multiple characters that have camped out in her body, conjuring witches, showgirls, and pirates in three-piece suits and burlesque minidresses. “The point of the collection was to say that you can be a lot of things all at once,” she says. “Stop minimising yourself into one box when you can be 15 boxes.”
Text Daniel Rodgers