In the rooms at Berns Hotel—the host of Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week—baskets of novelty sex toys were on offer. For $55, a pair of handcuffs could be had, and if accessories were called for, back-seam fishnets were a modest $60. The party favors seemed almost on par with the interior of the 150-year-old hotel, part art deco, but more parts Moulin Rouge, with a stunning dining area decorated by monumental crystal chandeliers. Berns, an historic building, will see a majority of shows—nearly 20—in the course of the next three days.
Despite the debauchery the adult toys suggested, the crowd convening for the first day of shows was a polite mix of Sweden’s most stylish. Almost uniformly dressed in blacks and grays at Filippa K, the muted audience rarely raised their voices above a whisper, even with an open bar. Filippa Knutsson staged her early afternoon show at Bonniers Konsthall, one of the city’s contemporary art centers. With floor-to-ceiling windows, letting in winter’s precious bit of daylight, the collection started strong with a palette of browns, creams and mauve, and moved into more austere nightwear. Ankle-length trousers in corduroy and silk and a simple black leather mini were paired with knits and cropped jackets.
Back at Berns, Dr. Denim, primarily a jeans line, experimented with humor, showcasing gray and bright blue versions of a men’s Pac-Man sweater. Directly following, just a short walk through the snow, was NAKKNA, launched in 2004 and known for soft, textured fabrics and a pension for drama. The models, with near translucent skin and theatrical eye makeup, clad mostly in black crinkled wool jackets, gunmetal silk dresses and punctuated with a virginal, flowing white gown, called to mind the characters in the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In.
Champagne again greeted guests at Liljevalchs Konsthall, another of Stockholm’s art and design venues, for Whyred, easily the best show of the day. You could feel the excitement when a bright green fleece varsity jacket above white ankle-length trousers and burgundy tassel loafers came down the runway, as if flouting the locals’ aversion to color. A long, pleated fuchsia skirt and button-down shirt had the same effect. Just as beautiful were some of the darker moments: a tailored tuxedo with a green patterned bow tie for women, and wool coats—belted and otherwise—in black, navy, and rust for men. The entire collection, with updated cuts from the 60s was the one I’d most like to take home.