Stylistas in head-to-toe black, new fashion phenomena and exquisite Dolce Vita dresses. Claire Duffy took a peek at Stockholm Fashion Week.
As far as I’m concerned, there is little point to taking a ferry unless you’re going to sit outside and enjoy the sea air. Indoors, let’s be honest, you might as well be on a bus. So when I boarded the Djurgården ferry on my way to Beckmans College of Design Fashion Collaboration show, naturally I headed straight for my usual seat, then two minutes later remembered there was a reason I’d carefully blow dried my hair.
Perhaps I could convince the in-with-the-in-crowd crowd that hair sticking in as many directions as one has strands of hair is terribly five minutes from now? Reaching Båthall 1, I waited outside in the scrum of press, feeling rather conscious of being the only one not head to toe in black. And also the only one with ferry-hair.
Entering the hall, I spied a front row seat and dove for it… then promptly chickened out of being a shining beacon in the front row in emerald green and wild hair, and scuttled round to a more demure second row seat.
Each year, the third year students at Beckmans College of Design collaborate with seven of Sweden’s most well-known fashion brands: Back, Diana Orving, House of Dagmar, Lagom Studios, Malinda Damgard, Filippa K and Örian Anderson, culminating in this show at Stockholm Fashion Week. Twelve students presented, their diverse styles a dizzying array of weird, wild and wonderful.
The difference between fashion as an art concept and the clothes people wear was clear, as each student strove to make an impact with an extremity of their vision. Silhouettes were oversized, fabrics audacious – ranging from soft draped velvet via distressed PVC to what appeared to be a shower curtain – and colour – or lack thereof – brazen.
The stand out for me was Ulrika Runius, not least because of the spectacle she put on. Her models, clad in flowing velvet and chunky sneakers, played drums and danced in a kind of primal celebration that managed to simultaneously evoke both tribal and urban influences.
Fashion shows as a rule are fairly short and sweet – I guess it only takes so long to parade a season of clothes up and down a few meters – and this one, with its frenzied pace of twelve mini shows, seemed to be over in a flash.
I had a brief moment of panic that I’d be the only dork actually taking the goody bag (stuffed with gorgeous lotions and potions from Toni & Guy) when my neighbour left hers behind (to be fair, her hair was already impossibly glossy), but then decided I didn’t care and high tailed it to Berns for Greta’s Autumn/Winter 2014 show.
This show was the real deal, taking place in the luxurious setting of Berns stora salonger, buzzing with Swedish celebs and international media, and there was no way a pleb like me was getting a first row seat. Or a second row seat… or a seat at all, as it turned out.
“You can stand there, or there,” the Madonna-headphoned usher imperiously directed me when I presented myself, waving with a grimace of distaste to two dimly lit corners at either side of the stage.
Firmly put in my place, I slunk over to my hinterland, but then happily discovered that I could hop up onto the stage itself, behind the TV cameras, and get at least as good a view as Isabella Löwengrip.
In contrast to the conceptual visions of the design students, this was clearly the collection of a thriving label. Everything that came down the catwalk was utterly gorgeous, and eminently wearable: the definition of functional elegance.
For the first time, I understood what fashion-types mean when they talk about the ‘woman’ they design for, because almost immediately, I could see her. With a wardrobe filled with these classic, luxurious pieces, this is a woman who dresses for style rather than fashion, knows what suits her, and stands out from the crowd only just enough to be admired.
Deep, mature colours, structured silhouettes softened with feminine, flowy fabrics – she’s in control as she zips from her professional job to cocktails with the girls then late-night supper with someone gorgeous and adoring. I found myself coveting not only the individual pieces (every last one, please) but the lifestyle they suggest: when I grow up, I want to be the Greta woman.
A slinky black lace see-through dress garnered applause, but my favourite was a polka dot halterneck dress with a full, floor length skirt, just crying out to be worn to wait at a Roman piazza for Cary Grant on a vespa.