Remain, Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 17.00, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning
Perceived as the more grown up, slightly more reserved sibling to Rotate in the Birger Christensen family, Remain has nevertheless been the go-to for classic, wearable and yet still stylish clothes for the past few years. But, in his first full collection since being appointed Creative Director, Martin Asbjørn is focussed on keeping that same discerning working woman as his customer but pushing her, just a little bit, into being more edgy and more deliberate in her sartorial choices. Drawing in equal parts on his experience in mens tailoring gleaned from years at his eponymous label and on the capabilities and craftsmanship of the ateliers at his new employers, Asbjørn has the skill set to bring Remain out from the shadow of her sister and present us with something special. So, as we filed into the Art Nouveau portals of Den Frie gallery on a chilly January afternoon, there was a palpable sense of excitement to see where Remain was going.
We were not disappointed. Asbjørn flexed his technical abilities, his creativity and most of all, his great sense of taste with a collection that looked elevated, wearable and utterly beautiful. The cutting and make was exquisite with a masterful fabric selection that explored texture in many forms: from fuzzy knits and liquid jersey to masculine wool suiting and, of course leather in a myriad of forms. The silhouette was predominantly long and lean (not so easy for a Copenhagen bike commute but, hey, we’ve got a great Metro system these days…) so much so that the two or three very short skirts were a bit of a surprise (though no less appealing than the longer shapes). Jackets and coats followed the lines of the body with seams tracing waists and hips before flaring out to a fuller peplum or skirt or, in the striking first outfit, a balloon shape that brought back memories of 80s puffballs. Unsurprisingly, leather was a highlight, appearing in oil slick pony skin suits, tweed look check shearling, butter soft nappa and, in a spectacular coup de grace from the Birger Christensen atelier, a trompe l’oeil pleated skirt and top that were, on closer inspection, sun-ray appliquéd panels. It wasn’t all cover-up though – human skin glimpsed beneath the clothes was part of the allure: supple net was used for long, lean dresses, transparent silk gauze exposed legs and arms behind a mosaic of marcasite silver beading and mesh boots and shoes added an almost fetishy hint of a darker side. Accessories were kept to an absolute minimum with a smattering of custom-made silver earrings and bracelets (made in collaboration with Jo Riis-Hansen) and the occasional over- or under-sized sculptural bags: with clothes this covetable there is no need to gild the lily. For sure this was a collection and show which proved that, despite its somewhat static name, Remain is most definitely on the move.
See a selection of the show looks below and see the entire collection here.