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Stockholm Fashion Week report


Sweden’s fashion labels are increasingly making waves around the world. Dominique Fenn journeys to Stockholm to look at its designers’ offerings for this season

Dominique Fenn
Dominique Fenn,

Stockholm presented its collections for autumn/winter 2013/14 against a perfect, wintry backdrop of snow and ice. Temperatures had plummeted to minus 10 the weekend before the style crowd arrived and cosy knits and protective outerwear were on everyone’s minds – and backs. More eyes than ever were on the twice-yearly Mercedes-Benz event, attended by journalists from all the publications you would expect to see in the front row in the established fashion capitals.

On the rise

The event supports around 30 local designers, whose diverse collections are, nevertheless, underpinned by an emphasis on creating long-lasting pieces, something that appeals to the modern consumer more than ever. With labels such as H&M, Cos, Cheap Monday, Monki, & Other Stories and a growing portfolio of other Swedish names making their presence felt internationally, the fashion editor who skips Stockholm is one who’s out of the loop.

Start in style

Bea Åkerlund, the Hollywood stylist who has worked with Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna and Madonna, opened the show in a stunning custom-made BLK DNM leather dress. The Local Firm was the first to take to the catwalk with an urban collection which was a pleasing mix of black leather with fringe detailing and chic separates. Up next was Hunkydory, the label often described as the Isabel Marant of Sweden and known for its laid-back bohemian aesthetic, with a collection inspired by the 1960s that featured skinny trousers and smart velvet jackets.

Cult label Stylein used its autumn/winter collection to celebrate strong-minded performers, artists and visionaries who are renowned for refusing to conform. Masculine tailoring met feminine silhouettes to create interesting contrasts. ‘We like the feeling of being in the wrong context: to bring your own glamorous world into a mundane everyday life, without letting your environment affect you,’ says Elin Nyström, Stylein’s founder and chief of design.

Glacial glamour

Odd Mollys show closed the first day and took place, unexpectedly, on a pop-up ice rink; the models danced and skated in the folk-inspired collection, which featured light, feminine fabrics, crochet, neutral-coloured cottons and lots of embellishment.

Minju Kim was announced on the second day as the winner of this year’s H&M Design Award. The 26-year-old was selected from eight finalists by a jury that included designer Jonathan Saunders, blogger Hanneli Mustaparta, stylist Leith Clark, photographer Sølve Sundsbø, editor Tim Blanks and H&M’s creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch. Her conceptual collection, inspired by Japanese manga artist Junji Ito, was cartoon-like, with pastel colours and jumpsuits that resembled furry teddy bears.

Stealth fashion

Away from this sense of playfulness, there were plenty of options for the quietly luxurious dresser. House of Dagmar, the award-winning brand internationally recognised for its contemporary twist on traditional craftsmanship, showed fitted, sleek separates, capes and dresses under the title of The New Renaissance in a warm palette of violet, caramel and soft black – each look topped off with military-style tweed caps and thick horizontal stripes in the models’ long hair.

Cheap Monday transported the audience back to the 1990s for a show set in a former high-school gymnasium. The audience waited for events to begin seated on sports benches and listening to the eerie sound of screeching trainers and bouncing basketballs. A soundtrack of remixed Nirvana and Hole played while models with braided hair displayed a mash-up of distressed denim, lace trousers and plaid shirts under the theme of Artificial Grunge.

Tailored to perfection

Roland Hjort, head designer for Whyred, presented the finale of the second day with a collection made up of suede, tweed, denim and leather, seen by some as a return to the brand’s roots. Updated classics – tailored trousers and blazers, cocktail dresses and longer coats – were feminine and classic.

The final day began with AltewaiSaome. Inspired by a trip to New York, the brand’s design duo Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome offered army green quilted jackets, long, casual, day dresses, and leather jackets with clean lines and an urban feel.

Rich tones

J Lindeberg looked closer to home for inspiration: Stockholm city library, an extraordinary building created by architect Erik Gunnar Asplund. Sharp tailoring was evident in both the men’s and women’s collections. Structured shapes and patterns were a direct reference to the building, while the palette of deep green, burgundy and reds was taken from the rich colours of the traditional desks and lamps inside.

Tiger of Sweden has become a firm favourite both locally and internationally, and closed Stockholm Fashion Week with a standout show that juxtaposed the brand’s tailoring heritage with utilitarian clothing boldly colour-blocked in black and deep purple. And so the fashion pack migrated on, secure in the knowledge that Sweden’s style savvy is as honed as ever.

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