Stockholm Steps It Up
Stockholm fashion week came to a close yesterday, and it was fitting that the Swedish Minister of Culture chose this season as the first to award a representative of the fashion industry with the government’s oldest medal—the Illis Quorum. It was given to Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s head of design for more than twenty years, for her contribution toward raising Swedish fashion to international success and stimulating the growth of Swedish designers. And her efforts, it would seem, have paid off. During the Spring ’14 shows, there was a noticeably stronger international presence from buyers, members of the press, and even street-style scenesters—some of whom experienced a touch of wardrobe confusion thanks to the sunny and unusually hot weather.
Suitable for an outdoorsy nation of egalitarian renown, quite a few of the shows featured both menswear and womenswear, and there was an emphasis on practicality, nature, and the modern luxury of affordable garments. Impossibly high heels and astronomically expensive handbags were nowhere to be found—rather, designers expressed a fascination with functionality. J.Lindeberg articulated this via puffer jackets and boots punctuated by insect prints (above, left). In her BACK presentation, Ann-Sofie Back offered workwear that was mirrored in her collection for Cheap Monday, and monochromatic and nude color schemes dominated at Whyred and Carin Wester. Tiger of Sweden provided a refreshing closing show that mixed punky details with micro-patterns and sharp tailoring.
There were a few stand-out moments—Filippa K’s sand-colored menswear suit with a black leather shirt and black suede shoes (top, right), The Local Firm’s designer Richard Hutchinson opening his show playing the flute, and Bea Szenfeld’s haute papier collection of giant animals made out of paper (above, left), among them. AltewaiSaome—designed by Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome—deserves a mention, too. Inspired by a gentleman’s wardrobe, with garters and oversized un-tied bowties, the innovative collection (above, right) was impressive for a duo only in their fifth season showing. Overall, Stockholm felt more confident in its identity as an emerging fashion capital, understanding its strengths and building for the future.