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Henrik Vibskov: The grand master of theatrical presentations boxes clever with a knockout show

Henrik Vibskov, Wednesday den 9. august at 18.00 in the backyard of Designmuseum Denmark

One question that always seems to come up when discussing Henrik Vibskov is ‘where the hell does he find the time?’ Not only is he at the helm of his eponymous clothing label, now over two decades old, but there’s the art, the music, the costume design, the forays into interiors and even the running of a cafe now and again. So it’s a mystery that such a calm and laid back guy has the hours to come up with the concepts (and designs and sets and.. and.. and..) for his collections. And these are no ‘buy the fabric and run it up into a pair of pants’ clothes either – the work that goes into print and textile and pattern cutting is extraordinary. His presentations (both in Paris and Copenhagen) are always high concept and highly theatrical – think choirs, magic tomato trees, giant inflatables and more than a little performance art that manages to be witty and fun rather than cringeworthy. So we all approach his show with a great deal of excitement – even under the threat of rain that hung over today’s outdoor presentation.

The left-field inspiration this season came from the idea of boxes – both literal in terms of cardboard, deliveries and packaging and psychological with nods to the emotional limits we put on ourselves. Always one for a pun, Vibskov mixed this up with boxing as a sport so for the show, we were invited into a literal boxing ring where a vogue-ballroom style EmCee chanted ‘Vibskov! Vibskov!’ to nonplussed looking models. Imagine the Thrilla in Manilla fought between UPS and FedEx… The goading was interspersed with gorgeous orchestral music as Vibskov’s usual eclectic cast navigated three presentation ‘tents’ before squaring off against each other in the ring. Mercifully though, the theme didn’t overwhelm the collection which ticked all the usual, covetable signature pieces. Beautifully printed plissé dresses, reverse cut jacquard striped tailoring, oversized colourful checks – all our favorites were here. Many models wore hats or hip paneers with heavy stitching and thick, corset-like laces and eventually, these morphed into curvaceous full scale outfits with laced together pieces forming jackets and trousers. The postal theme was driven a little more forcefully home with knitted OUT FOR DELIVERY dresses and sweaters and IN TRANSIT picked out along a pinstripe coat but maybe the most playful were leggings and tops in a circular textured fabric that was like a funky take on bubble wrap. A shirt, according to the show notes inspired by unexpected deliveries, featured two sets of sleeves and two collar and neck holes, giving an undecided dresser multiple options. But as always, it was Vibskov’s outerwear that really played to his strengths with voluminous parkas pulled into shape with draw cords and an interesting porthole shaped cut out at the back yoke reminiscent of the handles of a carton. With these, the show really delivered.

See a selection of the show looks below and see the entire collection here