Holzweiler Turns Skyward at Copenhagen Fashion Week SS23

For its spring-summer 2023 collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Holzweiler turned its gaze up above, drawing inspiration from the “voluminous folds” of a parachute. Take a look at the aviation-forward collection and some of its most standout pieces.

Photography by James Cochrane.

You can’t help but gasp a little when walking past the wrought-iron carved doors and into the Axelborg, a former bank-turned-conference-hall that Holzweiler picked as its show stage for the afternoon. That’s because you don’t expect any of it. You don’t expect the soaring glass ceiling and the heavenly light that filters through it, the all-encompassing wooden paneling and its rich grandeur. You don’t expect the colorful weather balloons (made from deadstock materials) and shimmering silver cords suspended over the runway. Everyone slows down, cranes their necks and fixes their glances skyward. 

Up above is exactly where the concept behind Holzweiler’s spring-summer 2023 collection was born. The Oslo-based Norwegian brand drew inspiration from the “voluminous folds” of a parachute, its special “ripstop” nylon fabric and the way it seemingly slows gravity —  not to keep us from touching the ground, but to make our landing on earth safe. As such, everything is lightweight, everything is almost airborne.

The show starts with a gentle, swirling flurry of notes, light as a cloud. Models descend down the grand double staircase and glide their way around the hall, torsos swaying, arms carving the air, as if directing an invisible orchestra. Immediately, we’re let in on the crux of the collection, its dynamism, its emotiveness. Titled “In Motion,” the combined men’s and women’s line-up shows overwhelming fluidity.

Choreographed by director Yagamoto, the show’s creative movement is meant to emphasize the distinct character of various fabrics used throughout the collection — like recycled nylon, cotton, alpaca wool and even a used parachute canopy.

Braided belts swing side to side. Fringed harnesses mimic that of a parachute system. Drawstring details with cord-lock fastenings dangle and tremble with every step. In the show’s most dramatic one-off number, a cream dress is festooned with fringe, its train trailing across the floor like a deflated parachute after landing. Knitwear, the brand’s bread-and-butter, makes a vivid appearance by way of macrame corsets, cable-knit sweaters and crochet dresses. 

Silhouettes range from the voluminous — think: oversized drawstring sleeves, bulbous cinch-fastened hemlines — to the relaxed. (Like, a butter-yellow chiffon dress layered over chiffon pants.) Trousers are spliced. Split skirts feature meticulously placed ties that hold the top and lower half together, giving the wearer the versatility of styling. This easy-to-make-your-own styling is fairly familiar Holzweiler fodder; the brand has always been about individuality. 

When siblings Susanne and Andreas Holzweiler first created their namesake label back in 2012, they wanted to make functional, sustainable — and most importantly, well-crafted — clothing that could withstand the test of time. Giving us the right, basics-with-a-twist garments and letting us run with them is something that Maria Skappel Holzweiler, Andreas’ wife and the brand’s design director, has championed since she stepped into the position. And this collection is chock-full of pieces that beg for clever styling combinations. 

Color is also an important part of the story. And even if the largely neutral clothes appear simple, closer inspection of the palette lets us view, yet again, the world from above. More specifically, soft whites, the sandy earth, its forest greens, and in the case of one bowling-style shirt, a night’s sky pierced by an eagle, mid-flight — a print designed by wildlife illustrator Steven Michael Gardner. 

As the show progresses, the sound of birds chirping eases into the soundscape, dreamed up by London-based producer Yves Tomas specifically for the event. All of the looks filter through the hall, one after the next, as the last musical notes float up into air, over the mesmerized guests, over the weather balloons, and seemingly out to the stratosphere. Yes, Holzweiler set its sights high, and in Copenhagen, that vision made a successful landing.

As an Los Angeles-based journalist and fashion writer, Mari Alexander highlights local and global talents through runway reviews, designer interviews, and trend reports.

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