Carin Rodebjer moved to New York City from Stockholm about a year ago. Back in Scandinavia, Rodebjer is an established brand; here in the States, it hasn't yet made much of an impact. Today's debut on the New York fashion week calendar was clearly intended to redress that. Will Rodebjer be the next Swedish blockbuster brand, following in the footsteps of Acne? Probably not. For one thing, Rodebjer doesn't make jeans. And for another, although the brand's clothes are very hip, they aren't particularly "cool." As a designer, Rodebjer wears her heart on her sleeves, as it were; her take on Scandinavian utilitarian fashion is warm, personal, and poetic.
This season, Rodebjer expanded on many of the ideas she introduced last time out, notably her exploration of nature themes. Moving to New York has made her think back on her days growing up on an island in Sweden, she explained before her presentation, and she wanted to conjure both the environment of that place and the sense of mystery she felt about nature as a child. She went about that project with a great deal of understatement, focusing on texture, subtle and suggestive tonal variations, and modest exaggeration of conventional silhouettes. There was a fanciful element here, as well—as the designer noted, primeval forests often provide the setting for fairy tales, and she translated her girl's-eye view on romance and magic into fluttery pink silk organza blouses and a wool suiting material flecked with silver sparkle. The fairy-tale pieces were highlights—tulip-shaped pants and a slouchy gray suit in the sparkly wool were particular standouts, and the pink organza was not only lovely but a welcome tonic amid all the earthy color.
Meanwhile, other key looks proved to have just as intimate a referent for Rodebjer, if a vastly more literal one. The lambswool and sheepskin used in the collection's fringed hand-knits and curled jackets, scarves, and capes all came from a farm owned and managed by her mother's best friend. "I was really thinking a lot about my mother and her friends, and all the handicraft they used to do when I was young," Rodebjer said. "That feels modern to me now, that sense that something's been made, it's been touched. I like a human scale."