Copenhagen Fashion Week FW20 drew to a close yesterday and despite the gloomy weather, there was a palpable sense of hope. It wasn't just the fact that the last two shows on schedule – Rotate and Ganni – were brimming with ideas, energy, and community (although that certainly helped); the whole week was saturated with a collective drive to do and be better.
Copenhagen kicked off this season by announcing a major sustainability pledge: an action plan so impressive, we're hoping it inspires bigger fashion week cities to follow suit. Committing to reducing its environmental footprint by transforming its business model, CPHFW promises to offset carbon emissions, ban single-use plastic, minimize travel to events and use electric transport only, move to vegan food offerings and be a zero-waste event by 2022. Developed by a board of directors including Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, and reviewed by experts including Orsola de Castro of Fashion Revolution, our expectations are high for the eco-conscious plan. Here's hoping New York Fashion Week kicks off next week with the same kind of responsibility.
The FW20 collections were set against the backdrop of a hopeful future and boy, did the Danes show up. Over the past few years, CPHFW has gone from being an insider's secret to globally influential, a shift that was reflected in this season's collections. Here are five trends we're stealing from the Scandis, from high-shine patent to clashing coats.
Touch The Leather
Sanne Sehested's label Gestuz started Copenhagen Fashion Week with a bang, presenting its FW20 collection in an art gallery. Abstract paintings and sculptural pieces sat in synchronization with the oversized checked suiting and graphic floral dresses. Leather, however, is what the brand was first known for and with this collection, Sanne returned to her roots. Glam rock green snakeskin knee-high boots and coordinating pencil skirts, '80s puff-sleeved workwear dresses, and olive shirt and matching midi skirts all featured in Gestuz's signature buttery leather fabric.
Leather was a big feature over at Ganni, too. The brand's FW20 collection was truly thrilling; it's no mean feat topping last year's much-hyped 10th anniversary, but look after look not only paid homage to classic Ganni – exposed stitching, balloon sleeves, fantastic outerwear – but also reignited our love for the beret, the stomping boot, and the oversized collar. While every look had us swooning, the leather pieces – all black, coming in knee-length board shorts, sweetheart neckline cocktail dresses, and zip-front dresses – are top of our cold-weather wish list.
Keep 'Em Cozy
With their extreme seasons, it's no wonder the Danes have defined our summer wardrobes (we have them to thank for the ubiquitous floral midi dresses and chunky kicks) – but we should be looking to them for cold-weather styling tips, too. Copenhagen Fashion Week's knitwear game was mighty strong this season. Rodebjer's collection, inspired by Pablo Picasso and the art of the creative process, brought us cozy cashmeres and wools you just want to hibernate in. Models' hair was tucked into rollneck knits, ankle-skimming vests came in oversized crochet, and the navy knitted dresses looked just as ideal for wearing with Birkenstocks around the house as they would layered over denim and loafers.
Over at Norwegian brand Holzweiler's show, head of design Maria Skappel Holzweiler was inspired by her home country's natural landscape. "For this collection, we looked to nature, valleys, mountains, woods, and agriculture... The collection explores the many facets of country living in Norway, from the knitted soil patterns to fossil prints, whilst incorporating thick tactile fabrics made for durability and function." The knitwear was more extreme here, with a layered Lenny Kravitz scarf moment (divine!) and – our favourite look – an oversized Fair Isle rollneck jumper with an extra pair of sleeves acting as an extended scarf. Wrap us up and take us to a cabin in the Norwegian woods.
Clash Your Coats
The Scandis' aforementioned knack for outerwear is rooted in their familiarity with sub-zero temperatures, but if you think it's all sleek minimalist puffers and quilted jackets, you can think again. The most joyful trend to emerge this season was coats in a cacophony of prints. A mash-up of '50s, '60s, and '70s florals was spotted at Rave Review, the cult Stockholm-based brand founded by Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück in 2017 which makes all its clothes out of upcycled fabrics. With a hodge-podge of checks, stripes, florals and more, the brand created a collection that found calm in the chaos. For both sustainability and aesthetic reasons, the label should be on your radar going forward.
Clashing coats needn't only come in the form of different fabrics spliced together. Emilie Helmstedt has fast become one of the most anticipated shows on the schedule in Copenhagen, entrancing women far and wide with her whimsical motifs and joyous colour palette. For FW20 she gave us a modern-day Alice in Wonderland tea party, and while there were plenty of abstract prints and clashing colours to choose from, our standout look was this utterly adorable Eskimo-style candy-coloured coat. Now that's how to make the miserable weather more bearable.
Rise & Shine
If leather is the grown-up take from FW20's catwalks, patent is its rebellious little sister. High-shine vinyl and PVC have steadily infiltrated our wardrobes over the past few years, but rather than your classic trench coat or tote bag, we were given a new take this season. Rains, the brand that makes you actually hope for April showers, presented its very first on-schedule show at Copenhagen, having grown its following globally, and it did not disappoint. Models stormed down the catwalk to thundering beats, and the (yup, you guessed it) rain-proof patent outerwear was so good that we're already dreaming of a sodden festival season.
Over at Stand, we were pleasantly surprised with the brand's evolution. While its signature teddy shearling and fluffy faux fur coats thankfully featured, alongside fabulous oversized checked pieces sat high-shine vinyl and leather. Turning biker jackets from standard game to '80s outsider, and making cropped zip-ups the centrepiece of the look, the brand made us a lot less eager for summer's arrival.
While we're glad to see the back of the beige, sand and cream tones that were adopted with far too much zeal last year, there's a new hue in town and we're embracing it with open arms. Meghan Markle made waves when she wore a brown monochrome Reiss get-up to London’s Canada House last month, and understandably so. Less severe than black but not as feeble as beige, brown is the perfect autumn/winter colour, and the dreamiest designer on schedule, Cecilie Bahnsen, incorporated it heavily into her FW20 collection. Coming in cozy rollneck knits and quilted scallop-hemmed skirts, sheer tees, and layered dresses, her pieces had us as sweet as Cadbury's chocolate.
Copenhagen Fashion Week mainstay Baum Und Pferdgarten also presented sumptuous cappuccino shades, going for head-to-toe looks of brown riding boots, caramel quilted jackets and rust tops tucked into matching leather trousers. Go for monochrome à la the former or a tonal look like the latter – either way, brown is the new black.