"I think Danish style is understated and effortless," Sanne Sehested, creative director and founder of Danish womenswear label Gestuz tells me. "We love fashion and care a great deal about how we look, the quality of our pieces, and our style but, ideally, we want it to look like we spent very little time on it." It's this secret formula that has propelled Danish fashion into the global spotlight, eclipsing the French girl's je ne sais quoi and providing sartorial inspiration via an easy aesthetic that's now copied the world over.
Don't assume this means staid minimalism and a neutral palette, though. "We used to be known for a very clean, minimalistic expression," Sanne explains, "but I think we have gotten braver when it comes to colors and patterns." Too right: anyone following the band of Scandi women leading the street style charge (Jeanette Madsen, Thora Valdimars, Emili Sindlev, Anine Bing et al) knows that pastel hues, candy colors, and paintbox brights saturate their wardrobes as much as clean lines and classic silhouettes.
Sanne founded Gestuz in 2008, so she's seen firsthand how the Danish fashion scene has evolved from insider's secret to become globally celebrated. Her label pushes the envelope on traditional Scandinavian design, resulting in disruptive contemporary pieces with energy and innovation that befit Copenhagen's most stylish. Think classic trench coats in unexpected checks, cozy knitwear in abstract prints, and versatile afternoon-meeting-to-Aperol-spritz leather dresses.
Presenting her irreverent AW20 collection at the brand's Gallery Gestuz, Sanne says: "The collection pays tribute to the prominent minimalistic Scandinavia, but it's accompanied by a focus on a quirky edginess. We went with calmer colors and new silhouettes with a touch of power. You will see dark navy blue as one of the main hues this season in the shape of masculine suits, statement leather pieces, and outerwear. This collection is for the woman who demands much from her outfit, but also doesn’t want to take herself too seriously."
Ahead of Copenhagen Fashion Week AW20, we asked Sanne to give us her insider's guide to the Danish capital, from an unbeatable brunch to where to rummage for vintage treasures. Click through to find her picks.
Copenhagen offers many good places to grab a coffee but one of my favorites must be Prolog in the Meatpacking District. It’s a rather small place but if you are lucky to get a seat I love to sit here and take a break. In the summer you can sit outside and catch the rays and enjoy the buzz from the area.
My preferred vintage places in Copenhagen are Jerome Vintage, I Blame Lulu and Magnolia 2ndhand. They're all good for luxury fashion. The Danes love to shop but I also feel that we are good at reselling, so you can actually get a hold of quite new collections in vintage shops, too.
There is a general focus on and interest in good food in Copenhagen and the number of good restaurants is proof of that. For a romantic dinner – or just any dinner – I would suggest Restaurant Lola in Christianshavn. It is situated in an old mill and can sit around 50 people. I just love the atmosphere here as it is laid-back and a place where they also take social responsibility. And the food, of course, is amazing.
I am a big fan of Frama, their products have a beautiful aesthetic and their scented candles are a must. My next buy from them is the Adam Stool as I like the industrial look, which would create a nice contrast at home.
Copenhagen has so many nice places to have brunch, it is hard to pick a favorite. I like Ipsen & Co. on Frederiksberg as it offers a delicate, yet small selection with a focus on organic products — all in cozy surroundings. Another great option is Hotel Sanders where you can spend hours in their 'Sanders Kitchen' or roof terrace. The interior here is amazing and whether you are up for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks, it is worth a visit.
I love getting out of the city and taking in the fresh air and walking with my family and our dog. One of my favorite spots is Dyrehaven during autumn. All the trees change color and it is magical to walk for hours, breathing in the crisp air.
I haven’t done a lot of karaoke in my life but for the traditional feel I would visit Sam’s Bar, the oldest karaoke bar in Copenhagen, and for a more daring performance I would visit the restaurant Falang, which besides food also offers karaoke.
For a true Danish food experience, I like to visit Restaurant Gilleleje. It is in Nyhavn and offers real traditional Danish lunch. I always order rye bread with shrimps and egg. It’s very traditional but it’s a must-have in a place like this.
A Tacky Souvenir
If you are in for a tacky Copenhagen souvenir you should visit Royal Souvenir in Bredgade. They have everything the heart desires and I would recommend buying a wooden guard or a statue of the Little Mermaid. It doesn’t get tackier than this.
Currently, I am very inspired by @studioolivergustav
. I am drawn to the calm and grey darkness of his universe. I have a big renovation planned, so I find his style very inspirational.