Milan Fashion Week is always busy, with the (often clashing) schedule of events, shows and parties leading to a week that passes before you’ve even had a chance to process it. Some designers know how to cut through the noise though, and leave a lasting impression in an otherwise fleeting and fast week. One of these brands is Han Kjøbenhavn, who’s studio felt calm and collected in the run up to the show.
“It’s going well! We’re putting together some of the looks and have had an intense day of casting, but we still have time” founder and artistic director Jannik Davidsen told us. First taking us to a giant look-board to get a glimpse of the collection in full, Jan explained the key guiding elements – darkness, contrasting shapes, anatomy and emotion.
Each played out both visually and conceptually – huge rounded shoulders formed an anchor of the collection, which as Jan explained, was a way to balance the collection’s dark colours and imposing silhouettes. “If I were to do it all spiky, it would be too much”. While the brand’s work is dramatic, it possesses a sense of measure that keeps it within the realm of high fashion rather than theatrics – combining a singular vision with the material and technological concerns of Han Kjøbenhavn’s futuristic fabrication.
Able to be worn and shaped around the body is another important aspect of Han Kjøbenhavn’s designs. Collarbones are exposed with a cut-out, and then extended into a rounded shoulder. Elsewhere, new, metal limbs are foregrounded as both a sense of body armour and technological updates to the human anatomy, asking what fashion could do in imagining new conceptual bodies.
For this season, the brand worked with lots of chrome and vegan leather – as well as pleated silks, jacquard organza, wool and Japanese jerseys. For Jannik, a piece often starts with the concept – sketching out designs and then working fabrication into the mix as the piece begins to develop. However, with some fabrics, this is reversed: seeing draped mesh and envisioning it in motion on the catwalk.
Motion and emotion were also imperative to this collection. “Indifference is unacceptable. We try to make beautiful things that people will like, but it needs to elicit some form of emotional reaction” Jan expressed. One piece which was sure to do just that were the shoes – death-defyingly tall heeled boots with long aluminium extension spikes that looked as though McQueen’s armadillo boots and Rick Owens’ dark tall heeled aesthetic combined.
This collection was a progression of the Danish fashion house’s overarching artistic vision and direction: focusing on sharp contrasts with straight lines and skintight design that are elegantly combined with voluminous silhouettes. Lightweight, angular eyewear encapsulated this vision well: presenting interesting silhouettes, darker colour palettes and preoccupation with structure.
“This collection originates from the emotions that are brought to life when being in the darkness and searching for shadows. Shadows are what we think of it to be. The objects, shapes, and emotions it carries with it, is up to the receiver to feel. My aim is that it is interesting enough for people to engage in”. From the distinctly focused energy in the studio to the palpable energy when we saw it on the catwalk, it’s safe to say that this aim was well and truly achieved.
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