In addition to industry mainstays such as GANNI and ROTATE, Copenhagen Fashion Week serves as a stage spotlighting some of the most exciting emerging designers from the Nordic region each season. The Fall/Winter 2023 edition didn't fail to disappoint, highlighting promising names in the scene.
This season marked the first time CPHFW implemented its sustainability-focused strategy, where all showing brands are required to meet a minimum of 18 requirements that cover everything from finding a second life for samples to using preferred materials in at least 50% of each collection. With these rules, brands were challenged to not only showcase visually pleasing designs, but also to be more mindful and intentional in their production processes.
For the FW23 edition of her eponymous label A. Roege Hove, designer Amalie Røge Hove started her show with a naked model stepping onto the stage, reminding guests of Bella Hadid's famous spray-on dress at Coperni's last show in Paris. Two members of Røge Hove's team joined the model on the runway, dressing her in the creative's signature knitwear pieces. The show officially began after the first look was constructed with a sheer dress layered with a draped black-and-white piece tied at the front.
The designer explained that she hoped the audience would better understand the texture and material of her looks, which mainly feature ribbed knits made out of cotton and nylon. Those watching the show will likely have thought of Issey Miyake and the late designer's recognizable pleats as Røge Hove's trademarked material bobbed up and down on skirts and dresses, depending on the direction the knits were placed. The Woolmark Prize finalist introduced wool into her collection this time around, with heavier items layered atop the sheer ribbed knits to complete each look.
Gestuz, founded in 2008 by Sanne Sehested, joined the CPHFW schedule for the first time in 2020 but only presented its first FW23 this season due to the pandemic. Titled "DARK DESIRE," the collection was showcased at Thorvaldsens Museum also known as the first public museum of Denmark, where Sehested explored a "darker and sexier version" of the Gestuz muse. The creative director explained, "I wanted to create a rich and sexy vibe that would perfectly compliment both the darkness of the colors but also the darkness of the winter season. I looked towards quite classic elements and fancy dressing, but with a new take." She added, "'Traditional female' fashion elements such as lace, showing skin and tight fits are often judged as vulgar or too girly. I didn’t want to hide these things, but rather integrate them in the looks."
The museum's beautiful marble sculptures served as the backdrop to the looks featuring lace dresses, check-printed skirts and glittery separates. Corset tops arrived with matching trousers in straight silhouettes, followed by glossy shearling jackets and coats. The palette gradually moved from darker colors to brighter denim and all-white looks, which were accessorized with ultra-large gold chain necklaces.
Titled "COPENHAGEN OBSIDIAN SOCIETY (13)*," Tobias Birk Nielsen's FW23 collection was presented in a stone-filled space with rocks hanging from the ceiling. The set introduced a series of tech-focused wear with tie-dye elements referencing the rock inspiration. "Since I was a kid, I’ve been collecting stones. It started as a modest hobby inherited from my sweet grandma. When beginning, it mainly had a focus around a visual attention, simply to find beautiful and unique shape and colors," the designer explained in a press release.
Puffer jackets were paired with reflective track pants, while muted brown hues were seen on cargo pants and halter-neck dresses. Bulbous textures were added to a vest with matching oversized pants as the tie-dye theme continued on coats and skirts. The collection additionally included a collaboration with Kappa in a capsule range titled "AUTOFOCUS."
Designer Ervin Latimer, presenting his latest Latimmier collection as part of CPHFW's NEWTALENT program, kept his FW23 showcase intimate. Inviting a small crowd of Fashion Week to the venue, the designer sat on a stool on the runway as he personally introduced the 11 looks in his latest collection. "Three months ago, I wasn’t sure if we could even make a new collection," Latimer explained on the stage. "I had a burnout because, as most of us know, it is so hard to work in this industry, especially with limited resources. I’m very proud that I can show you guys a collection today, but I also made this collection as an homage to all of the young and upcoming designers out there who may be struggling, who maybe aren’t sure if they can make it." He continued to note that the presentation was dedicated to all of the young designers out there: "If you’re here today or if you’re watching this live-stream, or if you’re watching this afterward: I hear you. I see you. And this one is for you particularly."
The collection began with a white shirt paired with a cock ring and garters, followed by sculptures created in collaboration with Swiss-Haitian artist Sasha Huber. These two-dimensional pieces were held by models walking down the runway, while the artwork was also replicated on suits. Elsewhere, the menswear range included chunky stitching on knit sweaters and crocheted tops.
Peter Lundvald Nielsen, who showcased his debut runway show last season at CPHFW, worked with inter.agcy to stage his FW23 collection at the city's Bella Center. Guests were invited into a dim-lit and foggy venue with spotlights lighting up the runway, where the Balenciaga and Vetements alum presented a blend of commercial and one-of-a-kind designs created for the event. Working with the 100% recycled material Circulose, the rising designer filled the runway with hair as models walked in tops made out of dyed hair. The inspiration was also evident in the glam, with select looks featuring ultra-long eyelashes.
The creative expanded on his deconstructed aesthetic with frayed details on denim shorts, while straps were wrapped around a leather bikini set. Buckled and studded belts were hanging from skirts, and fringes were laid atop oversized tees.
Selam Fessahaye marked her fourth runway show as one of three finalists of the Zalando Sustainability Award. The Swedish-Eritrean designer, who has had her creations worn by Beyoncé, brought a playful collection to the runway as the next step for her eponymous brand as she continues to work as a stylist to support the independent label whilst working with the Swedish Fashion Council on production and strategy.
Models strutted in fish-shaped slides to accompany the majestic garments crafted with colorful beads, tulle and more. These upcycled looks featured everything from cut-out details to floral adornments, in addition to a dramatic camo-print gown and a green suit with oversized shoulders. Maps were printed onto three-piece suits while gold embellishments highlighted an extra-sheer bodysuit, while the collection was rounded out with a pink tulle dress.
Matilda Venczel -- who was recently appointed as Mugler's accessories designer to debut the brand's new Spiral Curve 01 bag under Casey Cadwallader's direction -- presented her latest creations for her eponymous label VENCZEL in her home ground at CPHFW. Dubbed "Collection 010," the range was presented at Etage Projects in a minimalist space lit with neon lights reflecting against structural podiums put together by the designer's friend and artist Charlie Boyte. The new designs included new, purple iterations of some of the label's bestsellers, such as the V8-S STRIPE and ÉLAN, as well as a new silhouette dubbed the AERA.