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READ DAY 1
Day two in sunny Copenhagen really came into focus when I realized I was sitting across from a princess, looking at a catwalk of socialites, in a crystal encrusted room at Nimb Hotel in Tivoli Park. What that means is, Copenhagen Fashion Week S/S '14, or CPHFW, is paradise. After breakfast at the hotel of the stars (while they're in Denmark), Skt. Petri, I was taken again to City Hall for a colorful Marimekko show. The brand has done well for itself and will continue to do so with this staunchly Danish collection. And one of the best parts of showing here is that Danes appreciate the Danish things in life: cheerful patterns, androgynous shapes, and fresh faces. A line like this one would most likely get a presentation in New York, simply because of the simplicity of the designs--if the drama of a show does not rely on movement, the clothes should remain still, say the event coordinators of NYFW, trying to buy space and time in a spread-out and packed-in week and a half. Here, only the very Danish and the very innovative are granted shows at all, and only the newest and the loyal stay. This only leaves enough shows to fill three days, if that, and only one or two shows per hour. And this means that each of these shows is pretty special, for one reason or another.
I had some time between Marimekko and the next event, so I took a walk around Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park/"pleasure garden" in the world. (The oldest is also in Denmark.) Tivoli is out of a storybook, perhaps a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale (this city is also the home of the famous Little Mermaid and her landmark sculpture on the water), with exotic birds roaming around gilded fountains and purple blossoming brush, while a few meters away, roller coasters soar past a tiny China Town, swinging planes flip riders through a cloudless sky, and families climb into rocking gondolas. It was hard to leave, but luckily, MI-NO-RO was showing in the little white castle-like hotel connected to the park, where I was ushered past paparazzi trying to get a shot of Crown Princess of Denmark Mary Elizabeth. The show was sort of a Real Housewives of Copenhagen scene, with socialites apparently very recognizable to half of the front row and everyone behind us, walking in soft leather and Louboutins. The international press may have been left out of the inside model casting, but we weren't unamused by the turnout.
Next was the standout show of the week thus far, Ann Sophie Madsen, with a collection a leather laced up dresses and raver style leg accessories. I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. In fact, the Danish version of the anime girl streetwear look is not behind the U.S.'s; it's actually ahead of ours, perfecting it in ways overdone NYC and L.A. party girls can only edit for, and using only fine materials, a minimal makeup story, and pointed bangs sure to catch on quicker than cornrows. Speaking of streetwear and of decidedly Danish brands, Wood Wood held their show in the Karlsberg Beer-built sanctuary of Classical and not so Classical Greek sculpture, Glyptoteket, and, as a nod the the setting, used marble printed material for their bike shorts (worn under khaki Bermuda shorts). Kids applauded the new styling ideas brought forth by the brand, and whined on their way out about needing the new signature windbreakers.
Baum und Pferdgarten, Designers Remix and By Malene Birger all had equally grand show spaces, at the National Gallery (which currently holds parts of the bronze, broken down Statue of Liberty series "We The People" by Dahn Vo), Den Blå Planet (the Blue Planet Aquarium), and Palmehaven D'Angleterre (another, even more regal hotel), respectively. Although the massive windows backing the runway at the museum, the wall of manta rays and sharks gliding over the models at the aquarium, and the candlelit dinner with Copenhagen's elite at the hotel threatened to upstage the actual garments on display, these dramatic settings, including the ornate City Hall and Nimb's many chandeliered rooms, spoke of a smallness of clothes--a quieter elegance, present but only subtly represented in each designer's vision. Like a soft-spoken but deeply disturbing Danish film, a truly Danish collection has only a minimal amount of important dialogue. I got the sense today that there is a defined limit of artifice for this trade, as if fashion here knows its place as only a glassy tip on a proportionately gargantuan (and seminal) iceberg of history.