copenhagen fashion week: benedikte utzon
(images via cfw)
a season ago, when closing out my coverage of copenhagen fashion week, my review of benedikte utzon’s a/w 2011 show was a curious mixture of raptures hedged in by skepticism, at once appreciative of the designer’s alluring and elegant range and fraught with concern that she wouldn’t be able to maintain it in the ever-oppressive-and-pressing-forward manner the fashionies have of imposing on us younger and sexier aesthetics. could ms. utzon retain her refined silhouettes and adult-appropriate designs while still appealing to the ever-seeking-the-fountain-of-youth fashion crowd?
to answer that question, a lot of hemming and ‘umms’ are required, for while the ending wasn’t satisfying and classic as i’d quite hoped (although i can feel smug & prescient for having asked those questions last season to begin with), neither was ms. utzon’s s/s 2012 range entirely pandering to the botoxed-‘i still wear my daughter’s clothes!’ crowd or the twenty-something wannabe blake livelys. to be sure, there was a significant glamming-up, with a firm target of the club-going types for the season, but those willing to keep the designer on their radars might still find themselves satisfied, if looking a little harder through the collection than the last incarnation demanded.
the soft palette included classic shades such as navy, pearly gray, nude, milky white, teal, black, and powdery pink, but the flash of metallics like champagne-gold, silver, and brilliant gold added a heavy dose of pizazz, while sweet floral prints and stripes were amped up by gucci-esque snakeskins and batik-like hazy abstracts. materials included fluid luxuriant fabrics such as silk, satin, and chiffon, served alongside the club-going staples of leather, fur, feathers, and metallics (possibly lamé).
the site modette chose the term “power woman” to describe the range, while stilreif magazin commented that a theme of (trans.) “female sensuality” ran throughout a collection defined by jazzy little cocktail frocks, draped jumpsuits, smart work-ready blazers and suits, flowing evening gowns, and leg-baring microscopic minis and short shorts. with feather accents, ruffles, fringe, bows, flounces, and ruching, broad metallic gold waistbands, and collar-like necklaces and cuffs, while most girls toted a fabulous clutch or handbag, this was a collection for the girl who dutifully trots to work to spend most of her day in eager anticipation for the 5:00 happy hour.
makeup was heavy: girls were given thick black brows that had an almost japanese theater-like effect, with hair tightly slicked back and gathered into a little topknot. sheer socks with heels accentuated the asian-influenced styling, although the collection itself maintained more of a costume-y appearance than anything from the east. indeed, these girls gave off the perfume-soaked vapors of hollywood club-going types, perhaps a little older than some of their peers (most of the clothes seeming suitable for the thirty-something), but working all the harder because of it, intent on making their mark.
and though there were some striking clothes to be found, i missed ms. utzon’s range of six months ago. yes, that girl was fashion-forward in the extreme, but she seemed as comfortable at her office, an art gallery, an opera as she did on the dance floor at the local hot spot, and spring’s girl seemed concerned with that to the extreme, with little good impression inclination left in her thoughts mostly tied up with outshining her neighbor (she’s not younger or prettier than me!).
certainly it’s all in the way you wear it, but fashion seems forever occupied of late with the pursuit of hedonism, seeming to little remember that most of us need something to carry us to the place we make the cash to live all that out first, and that we can’t get it without our forty (or sixty, or seventy)-hour week to place it firmly within reach. we’re not all blake lively, however much she rises and people seem to want to be. and i wish more than a few designers would remember to cater to that as well.
(watch the complete show video here)