I’ve always been a fan of Scandinavian style, so when the opportunity to attend Stockholm Fashion Week came up, I jumped at the chance. The Swedes are known for their uniform look – chic, understated and functional, often comprised of edgy basics like unisex jeans, bomber jackets, trench coats and of course the ubiquitous pair of white trainers. They are also big fans of the androgynous style, which works wonders on their long and lean physiques.
While the streets were awash in these very looks, what was happening on the catwalks told a different story. During the week I uncovered a host of brands that are building a new foundation for Swedish style, ranging from contemporary labels to high luxury. So yes, there was plenty of denim (thank you, Cheap Monday) and high quality basics, but there was also the conceptual, the avant garde and the feminine.
Without further adieu, here are my top picks of the week.
I’ve written about Altewai Saome on the blog mainly because I think there are one Swedish brand that could easily stand up against counterparts in cities like Paris and New York. I like to think of them as the Proneza Schoulers of Sweden because they have a knack for transforming clean silhouettes into high fashion pieces through their use of innovative fabrics and couture craftsmanship. There was so much to covet from their spring collection from the skirt suit updated with black leather trims and functional mesh pockets to the cool yet casual striped raffia and linen jackets and trousers. They are also experts at embellishing , adding just the right amount of detail to classics like a simple white wrap dress. Perfection.
Back is actually a diffusion line designed by one of the country’s most conceptual designers, Ann-Sofie Back Atelje. Her latest collection mixes elements of sartorial tailoring with a punk vibe, which immediately draws comparisons to her British counterpart Vivienne Westwood. There were plenty of stripes and body-con one shoulder tops and dresses made from jersey or fleece. Suiting fabrics were turned into spaghetti strap tops or fitted dresses with cut off shoulders. Safety pins added a subversive touch. My favourite was the floor length shaggy coat made from bleached denim. Who needs fur?
Carine Wester’s designs are a favourite with stylish locals thanks to her abstract prints and modern shapes. The look is urban and playful with an elegant twist. For spring, she took inspiration from Asia with layered looks consisting of wide sleeved tunic tops and loose wrap jackets matched with crisp bottoms layered with skirts. More edgy were the drawstring jumper and off-the-shoulder sliced knits, which featured a flattened origami pattern.
Draping the perfect dress is an art form that only a few designers can perfect (take a bow, Alber Elbaz) and Diana Orving is another to add to the list. Her look is all about layers and volumes, and she brings her silhouettes to life by combining different fabrics in her one-of-a-kind pieces. Her styles may appear simple but can be worn in several different ways, moulding to the body of the wearer. Her latest collection is definitely timeless in its appeal but have enough details to make them interesting and creative from clean silk dresses featuring ties that allow you to change the silhouette, to tops made up of different panels of fabrics and textures.
Filippa K epitomises Swedish fashion with its minimalist styles, executed in high quality fabrics. Everything here is timeless but each season designer Filippa Knutsson adds an urban edge with details, fabrics and colours (this season is all about yellow, green and blue). The silhouette for spring is much leaner and includes fitted turtlenecks, jumpers, button down shirts and jackets, which come belted at the waist for a nonchalant look. Details such as folds and pleats add volume to wrap skirts and dresses.
House of Dagmar
I discovered Dagmar a few years ago and have been a fan ever since. The brand, which is run by three sisters, is known for its innovative knitwear which is both edgy and feminine. For spring they continue to build on this with styles including a dress with a pleated skirt and sexy, sheer V-shape panel at the front. New materials such as pebbled leather were thrown into the mix while they experimented with some striking prints including a picturesque mountain landscape which is surreal and stylish at the same time.
When a friend first told me about Hunky Dory I didn’t expect much (I judged this book by its name!). Its offerings for spring however are so effortless and wearable that I became an immediate fan. It’s all about modern sportswear (think shirts made from sweat material and long parachute skirts) mixed with functional styles like military jackets, and chambray shirts. It’s part boho, part urban city dweller – what’s not to love?
Whyred is all about breaking conventions. The brand references streetwear but transforms them into urban must-haves that still look sophisticated and polished. It’s all about contrasts; structured meets soft, masculine vys with feminine, and the street goes couture. The art world is the inspiration for their latest collection – think colourblocking, and collaging both with prints and fabrics including leather. I loved the more edgy pieces like the fire engine red patent leather tops and dresses with asymmetric necklines.