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Piece of Me

From the moment I walk into the backstage area of the enormous hall where the Danish designer Henrik Vibskov shows his SS15 collection, I can feel that this will be different. Remarkably different. This seem much more organized, there is no fuzz except the usual excitement screams and no confused dressers running around shouting for shoe-tape. It is an unusual space for a backstage area; it is almost like walking into a dream of an underwater world, a melancholic dream with subdued light and calm people. I guess there are about ten meters to the ceiling and the dress rails seem small in the huge hall on the ‘Paper Island’ close to Christiania in the inner city of Copenhagen. I Love You got a moment with Henrik Vibskov himself – the designer who is considered as the most talented and innovative fashion designer and artist in Denmark and well-know in the international fashion industry.

I walk into the actual show-space. The designer had made an unusual catwalk of his own – this time it was more organic and made of a low pool of water with a Norwegian ballet team dancing in it while wearing iconic doctor-looking white coats with “TEAM VIBS” written on the back of them. Heavy electronic music is banging in the hall and a unique, special vibe is immediately created among the guests. As well as it is an unusual catwalk it is an unusual front-row – instead of pretty goodie-bags with fancy hairspray and expensive chocolate Henrik Vibskov has placed a strong, golden Tuborg can on every seat.

“I think it went well. People were happy. They even started clapping in the middle of the show – I was like: wow, what is happening? I was very grateful that the ballet dancers wanted to work with us so I wanted them to have a moment where they could freak out in the middle of the show.”

His clothes are colourful, weaved of rough materials, oversize and indeed extremely entertaining for this collection called “The Sticky Brick Fingers”. Henrik Vibskov himself is a humble-looking, toned down man despite his figure of to meters and baggy clothes.

“After a show I always thank everyone that was in the making – all the models, everyone that has helped. It’s not all about me. There are a lot of people that have helped me through a long time. There are older people that come by just today and help me with the show – electricians as well as old friends. My team is not that big, but there are a lot of people that come by and help. We didn’t have that much money for this show, so we had to do it a bit lo-fi. Everything is more loose, you know? Sometimes things work and sometimes it needed more work. For example we couldn’t afford a back-drop – then we just had to make a human back-drop. Just by placing a lot of people.”

Henrik Vibskov knows of the quality of his work as a designer and an artist, but is not selfish. He is grateful for the people, who help him, but aware of the world outside – every season he has a show during Paris Fashion Week and it is always possible to reach for new, bigger goals. He wants to stand out.

“I made the Swan Lake with the ballet dancers three months ago. They were doing a lot of underwater exercises and in comparison to the subject we have chosen, weird things that happen underwater and contrasts to water like bricks, it suited. First we did the show in Paris. And I asked the dancers: “hey, when you have vacation in August there is this thing called Copenhagen Fashion Week. It’s kind of something else, but do you want to do it again?” And they did, so that’s great.”

Didn’t the dancers steel too much of attention?

“I have built so much stuff. It was so nice that it was so minimal. I mean – it’s just water and movement in it. Of course it stole a lot of attention. When I go to fashion shows it’s usually pretty boring. I need to be entertained on some level or get surprised. I hope that’s what the audience got this time. I want to bring more layers to the meaning of a show, an extra dimension. It has to bring us somewhere else than where we already are. I’ve done it for many years – personally I have to experience different ways and possibilities for keep this circle going of all the different things I do. I want to reinvent.”

Nobody is able to write a recipe to success, but looking at Henrik Vibskov’s career it might be the availability to keep your mind open and get as much out of the world as possible. That’s what he did for this collection as well; all while managing to transform his inspiration sources into wearable pieces – this time voluminous pieces with a sporty touch in mint, strong orange, fringed jackets, 70′s-inspired and geometrical prints but also a lot of black and white in shapes inspired by the fluid water.

“Normally I work with three, four, five different inspiration sources- impossible things – ways that don’t necessarily connect; things that happen in water and bricks for example, and cement mixer and a lot of different things. It can be death rituals in Guatemala or dance rituals; it can be so many different things that hopefully melt together. Sometimes some of it disappears and sometimes the inspiration sources brings a lot.”

Henrik puts up a funny face.

“Hello, I made some beautiful clothes and now you can buy it.” Ehm, great. I just need something more to happen.

The observer has to be pushed in different directions and be able to look at it in different perspectives. And then it might not sell that well – but fuck it.” 

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