A pioneer in the Danish fashion scene, designer Henrik Vibskov put on a spectacle of a show at Copenhagen Fashion Week AW24 — marrying fashion, dance, and a sprinkling of theater.

Henrik Vibskov Stretches The Imagination At CPHFW AW24

A pioneer in the Danish fashion scene, designer Henrik Vibskov put on a spectacle of a show at Copenhagen Fashion Week AW24 — marrying fashion, dance, and a sprinkling of theater.
February 10, 2024
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by James Cochrane

I pick up a stick of gum from my seat and examine it — It’s wrapped in red foil belted with A candy-colored outer paper.

In retro-inspired letters, it reads: Daily Chewing Gum Therapy. That’s the title of Danish designer Henrik Vibskov’s fall-winter 2024 show at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Øksnehallen’s event space is doused in bubblegum pink. Multiple stalls are set up like confessional booths across the runway, with doors and squiggly circular windows. “What’s happening here?” My mind races. 

When the lights dim, I can feel a giddy sense of excitement edging through. The windows glow red, and then, the doors open. Eyes dart. Necks crane. Phones are out. Dancers in inflatable costumes step outside, moving their bodies to every twist and curl of the saxophone playing in the background. 

From the windows, they pull on pink mesh fabric — stretching it like an endless ribbon of bubblegum squeezed through a factory extruder. Their dresses flare and swell with movement. (It’s worth noting that Henrik created the dancers’ costumes for a performance of Flammenwerfer that’s taking place this spring in Malmö, Sweden.) It looks whimsical — alien, even. By the time the dancers disappear out of sight and the models step onto the runway, I’m already glued to my seat.

On the leftAs the opening looks suggest, the show is saturated with prints — something the Henrik Vibskov is known for.

IS it mindfulness or escapism?

What is your therapy — the thing that resets your stress, calms your body, levels you out? Since the height of the pandemic, everyone’s developed a way for healing — whether that’s crocheting or bread-making. The current ambient anxiety has forced us into maintaining these self-soothing habits — or “daily therapy sessions” as one of the team members scribbled on a post-it note during a company brainstorm meeting. The idea resonated. 

“We asked amongst ourselves: What’s your daily therapy session? Is it conscious or is it a tic? Is it mindful or is it an escape?” Team Vibs wondered, according to the press release. “The world seems very fragile at the moment and people keep looking into different ways of handling it on an individual level.” For some on the team, it’s escaping in a video game. For others, it’s light-therapy glasses and equine-assisted therapy. For Henrik, it’s grinding away at a stick of nicotine gum. 

On the leftLeave it to Henrik Vibskov to dream up wardrobe staples that are both relaxed and sharply tailored.

A pioneer of contemporary Danish fashion design, Henrik Vibskov is one of those visionaries with multiple hyphens in their job titles. He’s a fashion designer, but he’s also an artist. A curator but also a musician. And while these disciplines might seem disparate, they are, in fact, everything you need to put on a damn good fashion show — artistry, curation, sound, and of course, design. For fall-winter 2023, for example, he took to a graffiti-covered, red-carpeted warehouse and dreamed up an entire world centered around the humble tomato. Last season, he set up a boxing ring at a secondary school’s private garden. 

With every Vibskov show, you can expect a spectacle — and this one is no exception. Flanked by long drapes of stretched-out “gum,” the models walk down the runway to the sound of moody, airy synths layered with saxophone. They maneuver around stretchy strands of gum, like players in a video game. The theme manifests itself in other, more literal, ways, too. Navy knits feature horse-shaped patterns, and several denim pieces mimic the cross-shaped D-pad on gaming controllers. Noticeably, several looks feature chess-game jacquard (another therapeutic exercise for some). 

Exploring Illusion

Back in November of 2023, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess honored the designer with the esteemed Kronprinsparrets Priser culture award. “With his visionary approach to design, he has put Denmark on the map,” Vogue Scandinavia shared the message behind the award. “He has managed to establish a distinctive style that can be recognised across all the disciplines he works in — both in Denmark and internationally.” 

Henrik’s visual language is truly unlike any other. His designs often feature vibrant colors, bold patterns, and unconventional silhouettes, which, this season, were inspired by paper collages. Fabric is folded over like origami, creating angular shapes around the shoulders. (Jackets are calibrated to look especially warped.) It’s tied together to cinch a dress at the waist and draped over the hips to create a skirt-over-pants illusion. Pants and shirts are cut with ballooning elbows and knees. 

Throughout the collection, Henrik also plays with contrasts, juxtaposing more delicate see-through fabrics with heavy woven jacquards. Organza-like material is draped over solid fabric to create a hazy, dream-like outline. One of my favorite pieces is sent out close to the finale of the show. It’s rendered in a blurred midnight-blue print, and the layered construction is particularly pretty, especially under the runway lights.

On the rightHorse-shaped motifs appear once again throughout this look.

This is my first Henrik Vibskov show. Like chewing on a fresh stick of gum, it’s a burst of flavor that activates all the senses. Reaching the end of the spectacle is much like reaching the end of that sweet phase. As the flavor wanes, you can’t help but want to reach for another stick. Can we get an encore, please? Already, I can’t wait to see what Team Vibs comes up with next. In the meantime, however, the brand has left me with enough inspiration to chew on for a long, long time.