With the glass-encased Copenhagen Opera House as its playground, OpéraSPORT revealed a collection that harkened back to its elegance-meets-sport DNA at Copenhagen Fashion Week.

OpéraSPORT Hits All the Right Notes at CPHFW AW24

With the glass-encased Copenhagen Opera House as its playground, OpéraSPORT revealed a collection that harkened back to its elegance-meets-sport DNA at Copenhagen Fashion Week.
February 07, 2024
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by James Cochrane

Inside the light-flooded marbled foyer of the Copenhagen Opera House, hauntingly beautiful notes are set loose.

They dance and flutter and glide across the vast, glass-enclosed space. Is there a more elusive, more melancholy sound than Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th”? It’s hard to say. The crowd, which has gathered around the foyer’s curved, violin-like center, slowly disappears from sight. It’s just you and the music; you can’t help but feel fully absorbed. What a moving way to start a show — especially for Copenhagen-based OpéraSPORT, which has built half of its identity around the sophistication of opera. 

To the sonic backdrop of this lamenting, universally adored piano piece, the first model steps onto the runway, tracing the curve of the foyer’s luminous golden-chestnut wall, which resembles a violin’s lower bout. One by one, they appear from around the bend, making a right toward the photographers before turning around and continuing their circular path. What’s especially noteworthy about this model cast? For its fall-winter 2024 show, OpéraSPORT took a personality-driven approach, bringing in a mix of street cast, industry professionals, talents, and models to the runway.  

“My palms became increasingly sweaty (sorry, real talk!) as I held the dark green leather skirt – which was rolled to look like a clutch – I had to carry in the show,” writes Alice Cary, commerce writer at British Vogue, about her experience modeling for OpéraSPORT. I would’ve never guessed this; everyone walks with such ease and confidence. I guess that’s the OpéraSPORT effect in action. Comfort and elegance. Nothing sharp or restrictive. No harsh angles or cinched silhouettes. Instead, it’s all about function — with a luxurious edge. 

On the rightDonning a body-hugging ribbed black dress with a cut-out shoulder detail, British Vogue writer Alice Cary walks the runway at OpéraSPORT.

Putting Opera in SportS

Friends Awa Malina Stelter and Stephanie Gundelach started OpéraSPORT back in 2019, driven by the goal of eliminating waste in fashion by focusing on small, limited runs made with recycled and organic materials. The founders were living in separate cities — Stephanie in Paris and Awa in Copenhagen — so when dreaming up their brand identity, they decided to blend the two aesthetics. OpéraSPORT was born with a Parisian flair for elegance mixed with Copenhagen’s penchant for practicality. 

For their fall-winter 2024 collection, Awa and Stephanie leaned on the interplay of these two worlds, the push and pull of two seemingly disparate ways of dressing. “Our collection captures the opulent baroque aesthetics while embracing the functionality of sportswear,” Awa and Stephanie said in the press release. “It’s a celebration of contrasts, gracefully merging the grandeur of the Opéra with the practicality inherent in sports.” 

The opening-look dress is a shining example of this marriage. The ruched drawstring effect adds some visual interest to the sleeves and the diagonal waistline, showing off stellar draping and cutting skills. (It hugs the body so beautifully.) Ruching is an often-used technique in a lot of OpéraSPORT collections. In this collection, we see gathered ruffles running down the length of a dress, slithering down the side of a stretchy top, and zig-zagging across the chest. With a pull of a string, you can change a hemline, shorten sleeves, tweak your clothing a little this way or that. 

There are ruffles and ruffles, of course — another OpéraSPORT signature. Eni Subair, fashion features editor at Elle, appears on the runway in a cream-colored ribbed dress with soft, asymmetrical ruffles down the front. We see more ruffles on Itunu Oke, GQ’s style projects editor, who’s wearing a semi-sheer robe-dress. Along with these visual signatures, however, Awa and Stephanie play up the “opera” factor with a few less-familiar silhouettes.

On the leftEni walks the OpéraSPORT runway, clutching the brand’s signature ruffle-trimmed bag in one hand. / On the rightItunu holds a miniaturized version of the bag during her walk.

Mixing Quilting and Fur

The mood darkens. To the tense, rhythmic pulses of String Quartet No.3 “Mishima,” a model enters the runway in one of the collection’s most striking ensembles: a brown faux-fur capelet worn on top of a black quilted jacket. “We’ve meticulously integrated quilt and embroideries inspired by the intricate shapes of baroque architecture,” Awa and Stephanie said. We see this incorporated in outerwear and beyond — from easygoing button-front jackets to a trusty pair of straight pants. 

One of my favorite looks: a quilted jacket and a corresponding skirt, layered on top of a white shirt and a hoodie zipped open. A pair of white stockings — what a tricky piece to style! — lends the look an air of sporty sophistication. This might be the most “OpéraSPORT” look of the whole collection. Elsewhere, we see more fur-forward outerwear and another faux-fur capelet paired with a classic denim skirt. It’s effortlessly easy and chic, without sacrificing an inch of elegance.

On the leftThe collection features 14 accessories — including a lineup of handbags and dainty belts.

The momentum builds to the final scale with Vivaldi’s ”Four Seasons” — and then, silence. For a few beats, we sit in that quiet, anticipating the final walk, a traditional segment of any runway show. But there’s no one in sight. Finally, the wall splits open, revealing the models, who are lined up like the cast of an opera taking its final bow. “You Are My High” by electronic artist Demon is playing, pulling up the energy of the show an octave or two. A resounding round of applause. Well done. Brava!