Saks Potts Stages Biggest Runway Show Yet at CPHFW SS23
For its Copenhagen Fashion Week spring-summer 2023 show, Saks Potts showcased a new — and more mature — side of the brand, sending a line-up of grown-up 2000s pieces inspired by the crown princess of Denmark herself.
Featured image by Genevieve Williams.
Across a blue sky and over a mid-trot equestrian statue of Christian V, a flock of birds fly in long low wavering lines, breaking east and twisting west before continuing forward. Though it’s nothing but pure coincidence, it almost feels like a part of the show Copenhagen-based brand Saks Potts is staging here at Kongens Nytorv, a public square in the city. This will be its largest runway event ever, and the prologue to an identity shift that’s been a few years in the making. All to say: It’s a new era for Saks Potts!
It’s late afternoon, and the sun is at its most viscous mood. The heat has been baking Copenhagen, and everyone is feeling it. Sitting on benches that sandwich a narrow strip of circular runway, the brand’s fashionable guests are fanning themselves furiously. More and more passersby stop and stand, wondering what the fuss is all about. By the time all the seats are filled by invitees, the square is packed with people — 4,000 is the estimate — standing on their tiptoes to sneak a peek.
A spine-tingling chord progression blares throughout the square, and everyone grows quiet. The show begins. It takes quite a few minutes for the first model — clad in a short-sleeved white button-down and a brown ombre leather skirt — to walk around the cobblestone square and make her way to the end, but that gives us more time for inspection, more time to truly digest a look before the next one appears in sight. And in soaking in these looks slowly, piece by piece, you’ll begin to feel a distinct shift in Saks Potts’ DNA.
Photography by James Cochrane.
But first, some background: When Barbara Potts and Catherine Saks — best friends and power designer duo — first started Saks Potts back in 2014, it was their colorful fur trimmed coats that put the brand into the forefront of every fashionista’s mind. Who doesn’t remember those butter-yellow and vibrant green offerings, with their belt-cinched waists and extra trimmings that arguably kicked off a whole trend? Despite the fact that these “timeless” pieces are still available, more recently, Potts and Saks decided to let go of fur and steer away from that well-established cool-girl persona and into a more grown-up territory.
This brings us back to Kongens Nytorv, where we’re seeing a decidedly different — and more mature — collection unfold. If it feels more grounded in reality that’s because, well, it is. Saks and Potts were inspired by real women, and in particular, Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, who met the future king Crown Prince Frederik, at a pub and began what many call a modern-day fairytale romance. “We were inspired by the time she came from Australia to Denmark in the early 2000s, living an almost ordinary life in Copenhagen, casually walking around the streets in her stylish looks,” Potts told Hypebae.
This can be felt throughout: in the low-slung fringe belts of the early aughts, the skirts layered over pants, the multicolored striped shirts. In one look, a long tunic-style top (with a ruched bodice) is layered on top of loose-fitting white pants, and punctuating the torso is a chain coin belt — a little more discreet than its more bulky, early-00s ancestors. A tasseled scarf is wrapped around the neck, trailing down to her ankle on one side.
Saks Potts’ more colorful playfulness also seeps through by way of pink sequins rendered as a halter-neck dress in one look, a side-tie skirt in another as well as a halter-neck top. Metallic sparkle — something the brand does well and repeatedly — shines through in the form of a gold lamé dress festooned with a black braided-and-tasseled belt, and an all-gold trench coat look with a buckle collar. We see it again in long gold shorts as the last model circles her way around the square.
It’s nice to see that despite its newfound sophisticated sensibility, Saks Potts still maintains that cheekiness that made us all fall in love with it in the first place. And this collection is proof: it is clothes real women want to wear — a revitalization of an aesthetic we all loved and enjoyed so much because it broke the rules and allowed for plenty of experimentation. It was also a period of massive change, which seems very much the case for Saks Potts, too. In the best way.