Sustainability has long been part of the conversation in the Danish capital, thanks in part to the seaside proximity of the city, but this season it was the hottest topic: Stine Goya evolving its ethically-produced eveningwear, now retailing on NAP’s Net Sustain; Ganni off-setting the footprint of attending press and much more; Holzweiler producing only one metre of gaffer tape waste for its show.

Furthermore, an understated type of design talent wins here: Mark Kenly Domino Tan is quietly catching the attention of the sophisticated set, while Sophie Bille Brahe’s devotees were omnipresent — although you would never spot them from street style snaps given her perfect pearl and diamond pieces are small in scale. Freya Dalsjø focussed on luxurious fabrics while Rodebjer’s fresh neutral colours were deliciously appealing. And new brand Tekla Fabrics may be focussed on lifestyle, but that felt as fitting as ever in a city where ‘work-life balance’ is a defunct coupling (the staff at nearby Louisiana Museum wear their own clothes in lieu of uniform, believing that distinguishing between institution and individual is out-moded).

Ganni

Backstage at Ganni S/S 2020

This season, Ganni’s ‘Double Love’ theme sprung from recycled and reworked previous hits and best sellers from past collections. The brand opened a digital and physical ‘kiosk’ to sell the pieces during the week (Ganni’s pop-up in town became an instant hangout for beautiful people serving kombucha with DJ sets).

‘This collection feels personal. It always does, but maybe this one feels different because it marks ten years of Ganni for Nicolaj and me,’ said Ditte Reffstrup, creative director of the cult brand she’s built with her CEO husband that has sky-rocketed in recent years.

Satisfying its global audience, the cast was relevantly diverse and the brand’s digital content was notably well-executed — a sophisticated multi-camera live stream on Instagram Stories captured a performance by Danish singer Mø, as well as the clothes on the catwalk — or rather, tennis court. Crowd-lined balconies overlooked the court, with many wearing rain macs (pre-empting the torrential finale downpour) that added to the festival feel. A ruched slinky dress felt new and overtly sexy, while suiting and tailored cargo pants provided options for the Ganni girl who is growing up alongside the brand. Ganni has three major flagship stores pegged to open shortly in New York, LA and London, the latter opening in Soho on 16 August.

Cecilie Bahnsen

Backstage at Cecilie Bahnsen S/S 2020

In contrast to Cecilie Bahnsen’s sweet confections, the S/S 2020 collection was presented on a concrete jetty in Copenhagen’s new harbour-front creative district against a brooding sky, a stone’s throw — or rather a Danish skinny dip swim — from the newish Noma location.

‘This is my most romantic collection yet, which is really saying something,’ said Bahnsen. The fabrics alone spoke to that: fil coupé organza speckled with marabou feathers and cobwebby silk that felt like it would disappear on a light breeze, in candyfloss pink and icing yellow. Bahnsen cited Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the husband-and-wife artist couple, who created ephemeral fabric-based works by wrapping buildings. Concealment fascinates Bahnsen.

Sensuality and femininity are running themes of her dresses, although this season a desire for a ‘longer, leaner line’ extended to exemplary suiting – razor sharp, with some safari details, and executed with delicacy. It’s hardly surprising Bahnsen can turn her hand so effortlessly to a two-piece suit, when the architecture of her dresses is so precise it counters weightlessness with gravity, making her dresses bob along on air.

Stine Goya

Backstage at Stine Goya S/S 2020

Titled ‘House of Goya’, the inspiration for Stine Goya’s collection sprang from the ballroom culture of the 1980s, immortalised in films such as Paris is Burning and Kiki. The exuberance of the voguing scene was captured in the organza ruffles, graphic polka dots across rah-rah skirts and hosiery, bustier dresses, frills and bows. Not to mention the swagger of the models: the casting was truly representative of the scene, with members of the local and international ballroom scenes invited to walk in the show alongside other models recruited through the Bumble app.

Cleverly, Goya designed with a deftness that felt modern and relevant, capturing the essence of what the scene represented rather than serving up retro costume. The whole spectacle was choreographed by Puerto Rican Kiani Del Valle (responsible for last season’s dance show that replaced a catwalk format). ‘I have always intended my designs to be tools for individuals to lead their best lives, express their true nature and celebrate their unique personality,’ said Goya.

Holzweiler

Backstage at Holzweiler S/S 2020
Backstage at Holzweiler S/S 2020. Photography: Eva Al Desnudo

Holzweiler’s sporty collection, titled ‘Past, Present, Future’ was shown in the futuristic-looking DGI-Byens public gym hall. ‘The sports arena is the church of our times,’ said Andreas Holzweiler, ringing familiar with a theme of writer Heather Havrilesky. An active attitude ran through the clothes, which included lightweight waffle Ts, a multi-functional trench coat that felt like coated paper and lots of useful separates with a unisex slant in lemon yellow, white and beige.

‘The idea of the past is a nod to how we used to work,’ explained creative director Suzanne Holzweiler after the show. ‘The present is all about the design of our new store, outfitted by Norwegian architects Snøhetta, and looking to the future, we are so inspired by the strong environmental values of the Gen Z audience.’ Credibly, the only waste from the Oslo-based brand’s show was one metre of gaffer tape; every other swathe of fabric was taken off to be upcycled, or had come from a previous usage. §