I’ve been to Copenhagen several times, but I’d never been to Copenhagen Fashion Week. So when Ganni invited me over as its guest, I was there before you could say ‘Danish 1940s lounge chair’ (I’ve been searching for one on 1stdibs, Pamono, Etsy — you name it — for approximately 487 years). I feel like Copenhagen is my spiritual home, mostly because I am consistently mistaken as Danish when I’m there and it makes me feel cool. Not because of my 0.001% genuine blonde hair but because of my ‘eyes’ and ‘chin,’ apparently.
I begin my journey at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning, soon discovering that I was essentially on the fashion flight, before checking in to the super-cute and well-located Hotel Babette Guldsmeden. It has a cow-print lift that I am particularly fond of.
My first appointment is at the BOYY showroom. The Danish/Thai brand has three stores in Bangkok, one in Copenhagen and is soon to be stocked on Net-a-Porter and Browns Fashion. You may recognize the furry loafers (below) as Insta-bait from a few years back.
Its bags are clean and structured — tapping into the Mansur Gavriel mode of no visible stitching or logos — and I think will find a good audience internationally. I have a peek at the archive too, and discover a bag that looks like Donald Trump.
See what I mean? Uncanny. Except the bag’s hair is so much much nicer.
From there I walk (Yes, walk! One reason why I love Copenhagen. Although it is f*&£8ing freeZing there right now) to the Saks Potts showroom to borrow a coat. I’m only kind of joking. There is a reason why everyone in Copenhagen wears one.
I zoom past Beau Marché, one of my favorite interiors stores, and cult designer shops Kassandra (shoes) and Holly Golightly (ready-to-wear, where super-influencer Pernille Teisbaek‘s collaboration with Danish fine jeweler Orit Elhanati resides in the window). I also do a snap-and-run of Frederik Bille Brahe’s tiny but exquisitely menu’d cafe, Atelier September, in Gothersgade, which is delicious. Sadly I had time to stop at none of them (I’m just listing them for your potential traveling benefit) because the skej was full and I had stolen all the chocolate-covered marshmallows from the BOYY showroom anywho.
I adore Cathrine Saks and Barbara Potts, the gorgeous young designers behind Saks Potts. I’ve known them since the beginning and I feel very proud of them; they have a seriously good eye for all aspects of the brand. Even their showroom, with its graphic, grid-style console tables from Danish designer Ikon København, is totally groovy.
Danish supermodel Nadja Bender stars in the new David Lynchian-style ’70s campaign for the brand’s seventh collection, ‘Swiss,’ which features humorous Alpine linings (complete with flags) and Saks Potts’ ubiquitous colored fur and shearling. I love the yellow-and-lilac silk dress (worn well by Barbara) as it offers something a little new to the brand, as well as cult coat the Febbe, back in numerous colorways (I have the pink.)
The duo is also making logo tracksuits, which tap into the aesthetic currently much loved by young Danish girls: baseball hat, sports trainers (actual, nerdy Asics-type trainers that you would wear to do sport as a teenager, not cool Feiyue sneaks or anything; somehow the irony translates), hoodie or track top and big furry coat. They wear next-to-no makeup; mascara is about as common as an open wedge is in January. Normally there is a YSL bag or an ironic piece of fake Gucci (see: model Maria Palm’s Instagram) in there, too.
People get it wrong when they talk about ‘Scandi minimalism.’ There’s nothing minimalist about Danish fashion right now. (It’s more Sweden that does the monochrome thing.) It’s quirky and pretty hard to copy.
The Saks Potts girls and I head to the Ganni show, the main event of CPFW, in a big warehouse slathered in pink light (pink is the color of the year, that’s for sure) with neon signs reading LOVE SOCIETY. All the Ganni girls showing guests to their seats are wearing black hoodies inscribed with the name of the collection; they look adorable. I’ve never met anyone who works at Ganni who ISN’T adorable. Is it a Danish thing? The people here are so goddamn nice. The collection is young and punk and a bit subversive, with lots of printed and beaded hearts, slashes of patent leather and a few ruffled plaid dresses which reminded me a little of Vetements. Take it all apart and it’s always very wearable.
The ‘Love Society’ collection is about politics, explains designer Ditte Reffstrup after the show. “I was thinking, what am I doing bringing another child into this world?” Reffstrup is six months pregnant with her third child. “I just want everyone to come together and to love.” Et voila. It also refers to social media, which Reffstrup says she has a “love-hate relationship” with, as “there is so much fakeness.” Her red sock-and-patent flatform combo (flatforms are a Ganni signature) come from, “this saying we have: red shoes and red socks keep your feet on the ground.” I’ve never heard the saying, (neither, seemingly, has Google) but I make a mental note. I like it.
From there, I head to the hotel for a quick change into a Viktor & Rolf tuxedo blazer, lace bralette from & Other Stories, Ganni leopard-print skirt, BOYY bag, Sarina Suriano earrings and vintage Maison Margiela boots. I describe this look on Instagram as ’80s power broker meets sexual deviant but really, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on.
Dinner that evening is a raucous affair at Ditte and Nikolaj’s i-n-s-a-n-e-l-y beautiful house. They have hella great taste and with 50 of us at dinner and old-school dancing, I don’t get back to the hotel until 1 a.m. I find two furniture designers from Oslo sitting at the bar and join them for a glass of wine and a furniture chat. When I wake up the next day, I have an Instagram account full of new furniture follows.
Breakfast is a butt-ton of avocado on rye bread (uniform meal in Copenhagen, not good for constipatory types) made by Frederik Bille Brahe (sister of fine jeweler Sophie) and grapefruit salad at The Apartment, a spectacular interiors showroom set up in the vein of Vanessa Traina’s The Line E.G. a shoppable home. Curator and interior designer Tina Seidenfaden Busck has a brilliant eye and the apartment is constantly evolving as people buy pieces. I love the ‘Lens’ tables by McCollin Bryan, a British brand. Do note that if you want to visit The Apartment, you have to make an appointment prior.
I also sit down on a 1940s DANISH LOUNGE CHAIR. It pains me that I still can’t find one within my budget. I’m wearing an extravagantly pleated sleeve by new shirting brand Monographie Paris (which I actually had to take off to eat lunch due to sleeve dipping), stretchy Topshop trousers, vintage Margiela boots (clearly I only own one pair of shoes) and Aamaya by Priyanka earrings.
I exit breakfast and head for the Malene Birger show, another institution on the Danish fashion scene. The MB lady is a little older and more sophisticated and this season was a great one for the brand: it parlayed well into multiple age brackets, which isn’t always easy. I want the knee-high red boots, the pink striped shirt and the paperbag-waist black trousers. The influence of Balenciaga/Demna is REAL — one look featured a zip-up track top, checked blazer and glitzy earring.
It is now totally f-f-f-ree-zing and the Uber took 87 days to come because they’re semi-illegal in Copenhagen (technically they’re between rulings), so I take this opportunity to photograph the feet of my friend Naomi Smart of British Vogue in *those* Dior shoes. Carrie Bradshaw must be scrabbling for them from her televisual grave.
I swing by the AF Agger showroom (a simple luxury brand made with sustainable fabrics) hosted in one of my favorite stores (although it’s more like a gallery of very expensive design pieces) called Etage Projects. I like to visit this gold tray by FOS regularly. (FOS designs pieces for Celine store interiors, including those marble plinths that shoes sit on and giant plant pots.) If anyone has a spare 5K, please buy me the tray so I can stop with the frequent visitations.
After ogling the F out of Etage, I make a pit stop at Hay House, a brilliant interiors joint which mercifully I can actually afford. I purchase a selection of multi-colored geometric trays which I plan to arrange on my coffee table. I’m very excited by this, because I am a tragic individual. Look on my Instagram to see the results.
Lunch with Ganni means more rye bread, this time as an open sandwich known as smørrebrød from Restaurant Palægade. I then take a fashion break with a trip to the famous Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is situated 25 miles out of Copenhagen on the shore of the Øresund Sound. (The panoramic views of the water are as calming as they are eerie. You can’t help but think of all those Scandi noir murders.)
I have a guided tour of the exhibition of Louise Bourgeois; I particularly like her Femme Maison series where the suggestion is that a woman is seen as a sum of her sexual parts and her ability to keep the home. Given the politic and social situation of today, I’d say that still resonates pretty strongly. I also love her sculpture, which looks like my brain on a Monday. The gift shop here is legendary and the museum is worth a visit for that alone.
On Thursday night, I go for dinner with my friends who recently moved to Copenhagen. They take me to a natural wine bar called Gaarden & Gaden (natural wine is really big in Copenhagen ATM so it is likely to explode in both the U.K. and U.S. in due course). Apparently, natural wine makes your hangovers much milder. I devour the fantastic food, including a citrus salad and the tenderest beef.
Friday morning I have an appointment at Sophie Bille Brahe‘s showroom. Every Danish girl with a big birthday invests in one of Sophie’s ‘croissant’ diamond single earrings; pearls always feature heavily in her work. Sophie introduces us to Princess Thyra cakes, a sort of melt-in-the-mouth eclair. They are, quite simply, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life. Soon the TV presenter and food editor Laura Jackson and I are pegging it to Conditori La Glace, rumored to be the oldest patisserie in Denmark, to buy another huge one to share. The cafe, like almost every shop in Copenhagen, is beautifully designed: pink (more pink!) with gold paneling and green marble tables. I wonder to myself how much it costs to implement paneling on my walls at home.
I’ve only got a few hours left, so I make haste to two of my favorite vintage stores, Time’s Up and Jerome Vintage. I prefer Jerome as it’s a little more curated and design-led. The last time I was there, I found an Yves Saint Laurent skirt. I’m not so lucky this time, but I do enjoy a moment with this yellow silk embroidered kimono.
I packed a lot into this trip, but I still didn’t have time to visit some of my favorite places and also, the new ones that the lovely people at Ganni recommended. Here’s a little list for those taking a trip to Copenhagen anytime soon:
1. Grød: you don’t have to be a huge porridge fan (I’m not) to think that Grød is the bees knees
2. Ruby: a cocktail bar on the harbor that’s a little like Soho House
3. Spaghetteria: popular Italian
4. Christiania: a ‘lawless’ town which means pot-smoking but also, a car-free neighborhood with interesting street art
5. Lot#29: a women’s shop
6. Torvehallerne: an enormous food market and one of my favorite places
7. Any of the restaurants owned by Michelin-starred chef Christian Puglisi
Formerly the Fashion Features Editor and Wardrobe Mistress columnist at London’s The Sunday Times, Pandora is a freelance journalist, brand consultant, stylist and co-host of pop-culture show The Pandolly podcast. Read Pandora’s work at pandorasykes.com or follow her on Instagram @pandorasykes and Twitter @pinsykes. Feature photo by Christian Vierig via Getty Images. Additional photos by Pandora Sykes.