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Dress code

Designers at Copenhagen Fashion Week presented elegant, modern looks with widespread appeal

Taking in CPH Vision, Ciff and Gallery, the brands at Copenhagen Fashion Week combined a playful personality with a more demure, ladylike edge. Although dresses remained at the fore, most brands steered clear of the smock dress silhouette, opting instead for a 1950s-inspired structured shape - albeit with Peter Pan collars and often in fluid or soft fabrics.

Skirts have not been popular for several seasons, but their inclusion by some brands was welcome. The dress-dominated ranges of the past three seasons have had a youth-driven edge, while skirts have a more widespread appeal - a quality with which Danish brands are becoming synonymous.

That said, brands tended to steer clear of obvious dresses, instead presenting interesting high-waisted styles and unusual fabric mixes.

With the rise of the skirt, it follows that tops were also plentiful. These were mostly feminine in design and fabrication, with lace and delicate beading on sheer chiffon and fine silk in a palette of silver grey, sky blue and white, with just the odd flashes of vibrant colour.

Coats moved away from 1960s-inspired silhouettes in favour of tailored shapes with narrow funnel necks and belted waists. Pea coats remained popular. And after an absence of two seasons, jackets made a return for autumn 07. Shapes were short, with details such as bell sleeves taking their inspiration from the 1960s. The category provided food for thought for buyers still reeling from last autumn's disastrous coat sales.

This was also true of knits, which looked to chunky knee-length cardigans and looser gauge jumpers for direction.

Overall, Copenhagen's fairs bridged the offers seen in Paris, Dusseldorf and Pure in London. Retailers looking for commercial, contemporary womenswear should add it to their schedule if they have not already done so.

DRESSES AND SKIRTS

As previously seen in Paris, Dusseldorf and London, dresses were integral to the collections in Copenhagen. Although smocks were in abundance and remain relevant, a more structured silhouette broke through. Referencing the more demure looks seen at Marc Jacobs in New York, designs came in fit-and-flare styles, high necks, belted options and Peter Pan collars. Satin was the fabric of choice. Skirts were less important, but those on show were directional and included high-waisted styles, some with hand-sewn handicraft details on interesting fabrics.

COATS

Coat fabrics spanned a varied spectrum, taking in leather, wool and technical outerwear. Generally knee-length, they came in both belted and buttoned styles with funnel or small boat necklines. On leather and quilted designs, tan was an important colour. Last season's black and grey remained on the agenda, with aubergine a new addition to the palette.

TOPS

On tops, a feminine theme prevailed with sheer chiffon and delicate lace leading the way. The latter was used as a decorative layer or instead came in its purest mesh-like form. Subtle silver-grey silk shimmered with bugle-bead embellishment, while block colours were livened up by combining different fabrics tone-on-tone. Small repetitive prints in understated colours were also popular.

KNITS

In both fine and chunky gauges, knitwear had widespread appeal in Copenhagen. Longer knits were in abundance, with ribbed designs and Scandinavian intarsias leading the way. The 1980s were referenced on caped styles in bold colours or on oversized batwing-style tops. There was also a smattering of easy-to-wear classics, including cropped cardigans and round-neck designs.

JACKETS

More prevalent than in the past few seasons, jackets are returning to favour among designers. Navy pea coats in were a popular choice, with the addition of large, bulbous buttons providing a contemporary edge. Grey and plum were used on cropped tailored jackets, and 1960s-inspired silhouettes meant plenty of sleeves that flared in bell shapes from the cuff.

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