Prediction: These 10 Copenhagen Trends Will Define What Is Cool This Year
Photo:Courtesy of Aeron; Courtesy of TG Botanical; Courtesy of Remain; Imaxtree/Skall Studio; Courtesy of Saks Potts
Fashion can sometimes feel reductive and repetitive, or at least, that's the perspective one can come to hold after years of following the industry. It can be easy to fall into a sartorial-inspiration dry spell when the trends begin to feel monotonous, the production cycle is far too fast to keep up with, and the brands feel inauthentic to their identities. All of this is to say that stumbling upon something that feels new is like a reawakening of one's entire perspective.
For me, that's very much the case when it comes to Copenhagen Fashion Week. While it's a privilege to attend and report on shows in general, something about being able to travel with CIFF to attend the fall/winter 2023 shows in this Danish capital was something else entirely. It opened up the world to me, quite literally. With that opening, I discovered new brands, spotted street style trends, and experienced firsthand why Copenhagen has become the world's coolest fashion capital.
That newly minted status very much has to do with the fact that some of the buzziest brands in the industry are coming from this city. But it also relates to the Scandi set's renewed approach to clothing. From choosing to produce in a more sustainable way to creating trend-forward pieces that can transcend time to staying true to their brands' aesthetics, this community has changed the way I look at fashion. But you don't have to take my word for it. Ahead, I've highlighted 10 major trends from CPHFW's fall/winter 2023 collections. If these can't break you out of a clothing-related rut, nothing will.
1. Spread-Collar Coats
Photo:Courtesy of Gestuz; Courtesy of Holzweiler; Courtesy of Saks Potts; Courtesy of Remain
While most may assume some of the biggest outerwear trends come from New York or Paris, the truth is that they're secretly coming from Copenhagen. The ultra-chilly city does not play when it comes to its outwear, and the fall/winter 2023 collections further prove that. Across the board, coats were a focal point for every Scandi brand's collections, but the most prevalent style was spread-collar coats. What makes this jacket style distinct goes back to the silhouette—it typically features a high neckline with a shorter pointy collar. But in true Scandi fashion, this classic coat was given a fun twist.
Photo:Courtesy of Baum Und Pferdgarten; Imaxtree/Skall Studio
It wasn't about going overboard to make this silhouette feel fresh. Instead, designers are focusing on the details. We saw leather trench coats reimagined in earth tones with spread collars at Gestuz and Saks Potts. At the same time, if the coat didn't come in an unexpected color, then we saw shocking design details. For example, Remain sent a leather trench down the runway with built-in gold hardware to emphasize the spread collar. Baum Und Pferdgarden used white contrast stitching, and Skall Studio used lace and a bow on its coat to add a subtle pop. If the style didn't feature unique design elements, then the styling itself was enough to sell the coat—look to how Holzweiler layered cuffs over the sleeves of its coats and added corded necklaces over them to add visual intrigue. Overall, each collection showed that this "boring" coat could be bold if done right.
2. So Many Sweaterdresses
Photo:Courtesy of Aeron; Courtesy of The Garment; Courtesy of Gestuz; Courtesy of Remain
The sweaterdress has undoubtedly cemented itself as a cold-weather staple in the minds of many around the world. One could even argue that it's such a universal piece it can't possibly feel unique. Yet as the Copenhagen design set showed their fall/winter 2023 collections, they proved otherwise. We know the knitted dress is beloved for its versatility (both in silhouettes, fabrications, colors, and styling possibilities), and that range was on full display on the runways this season.
Photo:Courtesy of Gestuz; Courtesy of Birgitte Herskind
There were, of course, the classic body-hugging knit dresses we've all come to know. But rather than keeping them simple, designers embraced some of the hottest colors of the moment. Remain sent a ballet-pink version down its runway. We also saw thicker knit maxi dresses in every color imaginable styled with extra-long scarves at Aeron, The Garment, and Birgitte Herskind. And if that weren't enough to show how versatile this piece can be, then you simply just have to look at Gestuz's collection. The brand sent every possible version of this dress (from body-hugging to loosely fitted to maxi- and mini-length silhouettes) down the runway with oversize gold jewelry to accent it. The result was a season filled with so many knit dresses it made one yearn to skip over spring and summer to return to sweater-weather season.
3. Sharp Suiting
Photo:Courtesy of Remain; Courtesy of Holzweiler; Courtesy of Birgitte Herskind; Courtesy of Mark Kenly Domino Tan
No matter how many trends come and go, one thing remains relevant: suiting. From Paris to New York, there's no shortage of how blazers, trousers, waistcoats, and everything else in-between have continued to be a prevalent part of collections. And while one could argue that suiting isn't cutting-edge, there is something to be said about how Danish designers approached them for the new season.
Photo:Courtesy of The Garment; Courtesy of Remain
Unlike the oversize suiting separates we've seen over the past few seasons, Scandi designers emphasized tailoring. It wasn't that big and boxy fits were ditched outright. Instead, they were altered by adding sharp angles. For example, oversize blazers were given exaggerated shoulders at Mark Kenly Domino Tan and Birgitte Herskind. At the same time, we saw a slew of blazers and waistcoats with nipped-in waists (see: Remain's and Holzeiler's F/W 23 collections). And baggier trousers were given a more formal touch with either exposed waistbands or crisp pleats, as seen at The Garment. Each detail made these tried-and-true suiting separates feel a little bit edgier.
4. Skin Is Still In
Photo:Courtesy of Stine Goya; Courtesy of Baum Und Pferdgarten; Courtesy of A.Roege Hove; Courtesy of The Garment
It's no secret that fashion has been having a love affair with risqué pieces. From the pants-less looks to bra tops to micro hemlines, there's no shortage of sultry separates on the runway. But possibly the most prevalent trend of them all is the embrace of sheer fabrics. While mesh, gauze, chiffon, and open-work knitted pieces are nothing new, we've seen more and more designers play with opaque textiles, including at CPHFW.
Photo:Courtesy of Lovechild 1979; Courtesy of Baum Und Pferdgarten
For Scandi designers, it was all about showing skin without being fully naked. How that translated depended upon the designer. For some, it meant sending longline dresses adorned with sequins and fringe down the runway (see: Stine Goya's and Baum Und Pferdgarten's collections). For others, it was about styling sheer separates in unique ways. At The Garment, a chiffon tank was paired with trousers and a scarf. At A. Roege Hove, we saw ultra-fine plissé separates layered on top of each other. And then, there were just ultra-pretty open-work knit pieces (see: Lovechild 1979's white maxi dress) that made showing skin a more practical option for colder temperatures. Each variation of sheer looks showed that putting your skin in the game isn't as big of a risk as it's made out to be.
5. Seeing Double
Photo:Courtesy of Remain; Courtesy of Birgitte Herskind; Courtesy of Mark Kenly Domino Tan
Let's be honest: Layering is a nonnegotiable, especially in a super-cold city like Copenhagen. And while layering is a necessary part of life, it still is noteworthy enough to talk about. Unlike previous seasons that focused on excessive layering, the Scandi set stripped back the maximal styling elements and made wearable pieces for their fall/winter 2023 collections. Rather than adding layer upon layer on top of each other, designers used similar-cut pieces together to create a doubled effect.
Photo:Courtesy of Saks Potts; Imaxtree/Munthe
For example, a shorter blazer was layered over a longline coat at Remain and Mark Kenly Domino Tan. At Munthe, there were two identical blazers styled over each other. But it wasn't just jackets that got duplicated; we saw bottoms given the same treatment. There were skirts of every length layered over trousers (see: Birgitte Herskind and Remain). If pieces weren't actually styled over each other, we saw designers embrace pieces that give off the illusion of layering. Saks Potts had a green maxi skirt that looked tiered. While each approach was varied, it showed us that donning extra layers doesn't have to be dull or undue.
6. Not Your Typical Textures
Photo:Courtesy of TG Botanical; Courtesy of Helmstedt; Courtesy of A. Roege Hove; Courtesy of OpéraSport
With every cold winter breeze comes thicker fabrics. Fall collections are typically filled with textured pieces, from chunky knitting to wool, velvet, and leather. But to say that Copenhagen's fall/winter 2023 collections were typical would be a disservice to the depth of creativity put on display to create richly textured pieces. Instead of opting for traditional winter fabrics, designers were daring and played with textiles and techniques to bring how the pieces looked and felt to the forefront.
Photo:Imaxtree/Henrik Vibskov; Imaxtree/Iso Poetism
Take, for example, how TG Botanical and Iso Poetism designed matching sets with excessive ruching that created an almost popcorn-like texture, and OpéraSport applied ruching techniques to vegan-leather pieces to create a bubble effect. But it wasn't just the use of ruching that brought depth to the collections. We saw sheer plissé at A. Roege Hove, embroidered silk at Helmstedt, and distressed fabrics at Henrik Vibskov. While each designer's approach to playing with textures in their work may have been different, the overall consensus seemed to be that garments should make you curious enough to want to touch (and wear) them.
7. Iced Out in Sequins
Photo:Courtesy of Saks Potts; Courtesy of Rotate; Imaxtree/Selam Fessahaye; Imaxtree/Munthe
It wasn't just extreme textures that were spotlighted on the fall/winter 2023 runways in Copenhagen. Sequins were too. Of course, it should be noted that metallic-hued pieces were a prevalent part of spring/summer 2023 collections and will continue to be prominent throughout the year. But with the Scandi design set, it wasn't just about creating shiny pieces. Rather, designers were taking classic silhouettes and using sequins to introduce texture and vibrant tints into the mix.
Photo:Courtesy of Stine Goya; Courtesy of Rotate
A prime example is how Munthe took a classic minidress silhouette and gave it a spin with the addition of fringe sequins or how Rotate and Stine Goya created maximal takes on maxi dresses with the addition of pink and orange sequins. But it wasn't just traditional dress silhouettes adorned with sequins. At Selam Fessahaye, a matching cropped blazer and a miniskirt were embellished with multicolored sequins, and Saks Potts adorned a lime-green tube top, maxi skirt, and skinny scarf with sequins (my personal favorite). Whether it was a skirt, corset, dress, or blazer, each piece managed to make the classic silhouettes we all love shine even brighter.
8. Extra-Long Scarves
Photo:Courtesy of Aeron; Imaxtree/(Di)Vision; Courtesy of A. Roege Hove; Courtesy of Holzweiler
I know what you may be thinking: "Scarves, really?" The accessory is a winter staple, after all, and is always relevant. But once again, the CPHFW design set managed to take a seemingly simple staple and make it all the more stylish. And the way they did this was through extra-long and often dramatic scarves.
Photo:Courtesy of Holzweiler; Courtesy of Aeron
The vibe for these scarves wasn't necessarily function—it was fashion. This is evident when you look at how Aeron, (Di)vision, and Holzweiler scarves were either close enough to graze the ground or fully dragged behind the models and how extra-long scarves were paired with pieces that aren't seemingly winter friendly (e.g., sheer tops at A. Roege Hove and The Garment). The various forms of styling seen on Copenhagen's runways proved that even the most "stale" winter accessories can be stunning. It just takes a little extra fabric and maybe a good strut.
Photo:Courtesy of Remain; Courtesy of Nynne; Imaxtree/Alpha; Courtesy of Saks Potts
As I've previously reported, belts have had a renaissance on the runway. Not only have we seen designers begin to style more runway looks with this accessory, but it's also become a pivotal part of the design details of the garments. And that trend has continued with the release of fall/winter 2023 collections from Copenhagen.
Photo:Courtesy of Mark Kenly Domino Tan; Courtesy of OpéraSport
Designers, of course, used this tried-and-true accessory in timeless ways (e.g., low-slung jeans were held up with a belt at OpéraSport). But we also saw more experimental forms of embracing the belt. For instance, at Mark Kenely Domino Tan, belts had chiffon trains attached. At Alpha, hip cutouts were accentuated with the usage of a simple black belt. At the same time, oversize belts were worn as tube tops at Nynne. But possibly the most "controversial" styling was the belt bags.
Before you gawk, though, you should know that these belt bags were far more polished than the fanny packs we're used to. At Saks Potts, we saw a sleek corset-like belt with discreet pockets styled over a wool coat. At Remain, a leather tube dress was styled with a low-slung burgundy belt bag. While the belt bag may not be for everyone, the various ways this accessory was incorporated on the runway gives us plenty of options to feel good about fastening themselves into.
10. Cool Canadian Tuxedos
Photo:Courtesy of Baum Und Pferdgarten; Imaxtree/Skall Studio; Courtesy of Stine Goya; Courtesy of Gestuz
By now, you've hopefully been convinced that some of the coolest trends this year will be exported from Copenhagen. If you still need convincing, let this final noteworthy trend be what get's you on board. We've already seen Canadian tuxedos play a prevalent role in spring/summer 2023 collections, but Danish designers took the trend and gave it an even trendier update.
Photo:Courtesy of Remain; Courtesy of OpéraSport
There were, of course, the more timeless takes on the tuxedo—button-downs were paired with matching pants at OpéraSport and Skall Studio. Plus, we saw a belted denim blazer paired with matching bootcut jeans at Gestuz. And there were also more risqué takes of this classic suit. For instance, there were pink stone-washed denim looks at Stine Goya and Baum Und Pferdgarten. At Remain, I saw a denim blazer tucked into matching pants, and the look was finished off with a metallic jacket and cowboy boots. Though there were so many variations of Canadian tuxedos on the runway, each look emphasized trendy elements—whether through the denim's wash, fit, or overall styling. It all proved that Copenhagen is the city to watch if you want to know what's next in fashion.