For all the talk about “Scandinavian cool” in the fashion circles (and of course, on this blog, too) – minimalist, utilitarian, limited colour palette, not-trying-too-hard – and the international success of labels that champion said looks, such as Acne, Cheap Monday and COS, there is a flipside. Read more » >>
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A lot of my time, I’m not in Sweden, but in London. And when you get to the international scene, Sweden could sometimes seem a bit… hm… peripheral. At least it used to be that way. Because these days Swedish fashion is absolutely everywhere. London Fashion Week kicks off tonight with the opening of the new Cheap Monday store on Carnaby Street, while Björn Borg, the underwear brand, is putting on a fashion show at Battersea Power Station complete with performances by Robyn and Coco Sumner. This fashion show extravaganza will be livestreamed on MTV.co.uk.
Acne is showing their women’s wear line in London since a couple of season and it is one of the hottest tickets in town – the spring collection had the critics fawning and is sure to be another hit for the brand.
A few days ago, the Guardian ran an article about how “Scandinavian brands made ‘anti-cool’ fashionable”. Because behind Acne there are a lot of Swedish brands quietly moving onto the shelves of international stores. I noticed it myself where I lived until just a week ago, Windsor. In the more fashion-forward men’s stores in the town, Swedish brands were ubiquitous. From Acne to Our Legacy and Cheap Monday. These days even and old school geeky brand such as Fjällräven has some serious fashion cred. In fact, my intern here at Bon’s London office has one and she’s studying at Central Saint Martins.
To me, the success of Swedish fashion has a lot to do with the way style has moved into our everyday life in the last decade or so. Fashion is not just for parties or for the aristocracy; it is for everyone and every time, so what used to be Sweden’s Achilles heal is now its foremost strength. Having gotten used to making the most out of dressing for the Swedish weather and paired this knowledge with the practicality of Sweden’s fashion consumers (everything needs to be able to be washed in the washing machine, it shouldn’t cost too much, it should last a few seasons), Swedish fashion designers are well equipped for this new brave fashion world where we want to look fashionable all the time – yet still be presentable, professional and practical.
True, Swedish fashion is not only about this, but I believe this to be the core. And these days, when everyone talks about brand DNA, I think we can safely say that Swedish fashion has got it nailed.
The fashion circus is over for this time as you know having read Sabrina’s post from yesterday and as hectic as they are (especially if you are, as I was, reviewing some of the shows over at Bon.se and trying to get the review up within two hours) they are also great fun.
In many ways Sweden’s men are the true fashionistas of Sweden, so a proper look at what was happening over the three days that go under the name of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Stockholm needs to include the biggest fashion trends for male consumers.
1. Turtle necks
On the first day of the week, at Filippa K Man, designer Morgan Sundberg explained to me that the turtle neck was back. His words were to be proven true in almost every menswear show over the following days and worn in any way possible from chunky, as at Whyred and Boomerang, to thin, as at Ubi Sunt, or in between: Oscar Jacobson.
Techno looks were mixed up with more natural-looking materials and the synthetic vibe often came in the way of quilts. Most innovative were J. Lindeberg who showed quilted cargo shorts worn over trousers or leggings, but the material were spotted at Josefin Strid, Boomerang, The Local Firm and V Ave Shoe Repair.
3. Sixties silhouette
It’s the Mad Men influence that keeps trousers cropped and suits sharp. It was no wonder that it was the mod aficionados at Whyred who did the look in its most clear way, but the cropped trouser suit turned up at Oscar Jacobson and Tiger of Sweden as well.
4. Eastern influence
Most obviously seen at the Cheap Monday show where jumpers were wrapped around heads in a way reminiscent of Afghani mujaheddin, Eastern dress styles kept being alluded to throughout the week. Long shirts, reminiscent of the Pakistani kameez were seen at Carin Wester while sarongs popped up at Josefin Strid.
The autumn in many ways seem a bit more dressed up than previously, it was a trend we could see at the international shows and it was also evident here in Stockholm. Capes at Oscar Jacobson, Karl Lagerfeld collars at Ubi Sunt and all-grey double-breasted ensembles at Carin Wester – it signals a move away from the more outdoorsy urban looks we’ve seen recently.
In a couple of shows there was a return of styling as a way of making clothes look fresh and interesting. It signalled that fashion designers think we should have some fun with the clothes and adapt them, turn them around and wear them in unexpected ways. This was seen as Cheap Monday, V Ave Shoe Repair and The Local Firm.
All photos by Kristian Löveborg, courtesy of the ASFB.
Over a hectic three days earlier this week, the A/W 2012 edition of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week took place in Stockholm. We scampered from one show to the next and scrounged for food when we had a few spare minutes, but once we settled into the venue and the lights were dimmed, the excitement of what’s to come on the runway made it all worthwhile.
With more and more international eyes turning towards Sweden for the latest in nonchalant style and clothes people will actually wear out of the house, the shows provide a glimpse of the next big (wearable) trends in fashion. Here’s a run-down of the top five in womenswear:
Every conceivable shade of grey was represented in nearly all the women’s collections. Whether this is a reflection of the gloomy times or merely a small side-step from that retail favourite black, the trick for it to read as “A/W 2012” is to wear grey head to toe. Altewai.Saome, Hernández-Cornet and Busnel are the perfect examples.
Love ‘em or leave ‘em (I love ‘em), but I believe “flatforms” (flat platform shoes) pretty much personify Swedish fashion – they provide height without the hurt, and thereby stylishness without the vanity. While Whyred went British creepers-crazy, Cheap Monday, Minimarket and V Ave Shoe Repair all showed fantastic versions of their own.
The dictionary calls it “a short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress,” but I think of it as a curious flourish about the hips. Either way, I counted several collections with peplums, Carin Wester and Altewai.Saome being the main proponents. I can see its appeal: peplums visually narrow the waist and accentuate a woman’s curves.
4. Floor-length skirts/dresses
It’s been awhile that we’ve seen skirts and dresses this long. But to keep it interesting (and sexy), most had thigh-high slits – Filippa K, Dagmar and newcomer Maria Nordström, especially. What I really like about this trend is that you can go glam with heels or comfy with flats. Maybe even the aforementioned flatforms?
5. Loose trousers/jeans
Could it be? Are we really moving away from skinny jeans and trousers? Judging by the A/W 2012 shows, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Even Cheap Monday, the fervent purveyor of skin-tight denim switched things up and gave us the baggiest jeans possible, cinched high at the waist. Elsewhere, Rodebjer and Filippa K favoured fluid wide-leg trousers.
Other wonderful and weird things from Fashion Week:
- Spike Lee was at the Dagmar show. Huh?
- H&M held a show with the finalists of their first ever Design Award. The winner was Stine Riis.
- Noomi Rapace opened Fashion Week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and attended several shows.
- Overheard: Really sunburned American guy #1: “DUDE, that’s the ORIGINAL Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Really sunburned American guy #2: “NO WAY!” Really sunburned American guy #1: “WAY.” Really sunburned American guy #2: “NO WAY!” Really sunburned American guy #1: “WAY.” (I walked away at this point. For all I know, it went on this way for a while.)
All photos by Kristian Löveborg, courtesy of the ASFB.