mfpen, Wednesday, January 30, 2024 at 16.00, Galleri Nicolai Wallner
There has always been a certain duality at the core of mfpen’s appeal. There is a gentleness about the brand – from that lower case ‘m’, that whispers rather than shouts, to the understated design aesthetic – but always mixed with a tough element too: think heavy weight fabrics, thick soled shoes, and a certain confident swagger in everything they do. Showcasing the womenswear collection alongside menswear for the first time this season gave the perfect opportunity to drive home this dichotomy as fabrics and styles flip effortlessly across both men and women and styling touches undermined masculinity and femininity in turn.
This season’s collection drew influences from the indie music scene at LA at the cusp of the 70s and 80s with a gallery space in Copenhagen’s gritty Nordvest acting as a make-shift underground venue with a standing-room-only crowd brushing shoulders – almost literally – with the models: the vibe was definitely Whisky a Go Go rather than the Hollywood Bowl. A upside to this intimate proximity was that it was possible to see up close the beautiful fabrics that the brand is known for (not only does using dead-stock fabric have a praise-worthy sustainable angle to it but it benefits the final customer by making the best Italian tailoring and shirting fabrics available at a much better price). But a downside to the nearness was that it was difficult to get any distance to the models and they zoomed by in a bit of a frantic blur, the hardcore soundtrack having added some adrenaline to the models walk. However, what could be seen was the beautifully proportioned, well-tailored suiting and outerwear we expect from mfpen. Slouchy blazers in heavy flannel, full bodied Epsom coats in brown Prince of Wales checks, short zip up jackets in cavalry twill, pleated pants in elephant cord – the silhouette was the same for the diverse bunch of both boys and girls in what was a very cool casting.
Less traditional fabrications came in the form of a steely grey Tencel jersey – surprisingly chic in a draped column dress – and a distressed felt in ecru that apparently was salvaged from factory tumble dryers after decades of use. Styling details included strips of lace used as belts, safety pins and kilt pins as brooches (very Judy Blame circa 1985) and scruffy silver badminton shoes (a collab with Forza). The wearing of ties with many outfits was another great example of mfpen’s ability to mix elements that seem the polar opposite of each other but just somehow manage to work: the music and energy was very rock’n’roll (and there were a few tour t-shirts thrown in the mix) but then many models wore clothes that were quite conventionally smart but with a rebellious swagger. The end result sometimes brought to mind a teenager borrowing his dad’s suit to go for an interview but knowing full well he’d rather be playing bass guitar with his friends. It’s to creative director Sigurd Bank’s credit that he can make this look cohesive and desirable.
See a selection of the show looks below and see the entire collection here.