The Winter Wonderland of Oslo Runway AW17

by Lotus Ladegaard and Olivia Moreau

Oslo Runway is the premier Norwegian fashion week event. And twice a year it dishes out everything that is good about Norwegian fashion. From the elegant movement and silhouettes of Veronica Vallenes to the staple of Moods of Norway the Oslo Runway encapsulates not only the understated glamor of Norway but also the potential of a global market looming large on the horizon.

It is expected that any Scandinavian fashion show would have a certain sense of minimalist attitude when it comes to aesthetics and Oslo runway tends to tow that line very carefully. The lavish, the ridiculous and at times the over-the-top fashion manifesto is truly out of place in a city that prides itself on somber and reserved aesthetics...and it shows in fashion as well. But that does not mean that Oslo runway is boring, it is an intellectual dissection of Norwegian fashion with a mixture of commercialism which is needed to survive in this industry. 

Oslo Runway was established in 2015 after Oslo Fashion Week was canceled the prior year. Oslo Runway is an exciting project that in a very short time has established cooperation with brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Redken, and Adam & Eva. Oslo Runway AW17 featured some ten shows and a few showcases with designers ranging from minimalistic to the avant-garde. The AW17 Oslo Runway kicked off with Anne Karine Thorbjørnsen who aims to challenge the conception of aesthetics and the viewpoint of beauty. To understand her point of view, forget all you know of Scandinavian minimalism and embrace functionless embellishment, classic silhouettes in avant-garde design and add a bit of athleisure to that. Her AW17 collection was veering toward more sophisticated evening wear while paying lip service to some casual wear. The color palette was kept in blue tones ranging from royal blue to dark blue, gray, black, white and beige with a few accents of bright red. Anne Karine Thorbjørnsen remains a mindful and intriguing designer offering an alternative fashion perspective though may not have fully matured but is in the process of creating her own niche' market.

Elisabeth Stray Pedersen started her fashion career as a costume designer. In 2015, she acquired the Lillunn factory in Drammen, Norway and started producing garments under her own name. E S P’s AW17 collection oozed of Scandinavian minimalism; tailored and fitted without too many thrills. The silhouettes were classic and easy to wear and thus able to suit many body types. Elisabeth Stray Pedersen produces all her garments in Norway and collaborates with local Norwegian craftsmen. The brand aims at being sustainable by only using eco-friendly wool for its knitwear. ESP is an easy choice for the environmentally conscious fashionista who is not willing to compromise on quality.

Veronica B. Vallenes is an exciting new Copenhagen-based Norwegian designer. She has established brand known for its fusion between Nordic simplicity and the Parisian elegance. With an eye for detail, she successfully mixed textiles such as silk with heavy alpaca wool and added a functional yet sensual take on the contemporary Scandinavian wardrobe. Her AW17 collection certainly had all the Veronica B. Vallenes’ characteristics, however, the references to Paris were inescapable and at times a bit too predictable. Nevertheless, Veronica B. Vallenes always delivers excellent craftsmanship and exquisite finishing and the AW17 collection will undoubtedly excite her followers.

Holzweiler was the showstopper of the first day of Runway Oslo AW17. Founded in 2012 by Susanne and Andreas Holzweiler, the brand their first luxury scarf collection that same year and expanded the brand to a clothing line two years later. Holzweiler’s unique collaboration with contemporary artists has become part of the keystones of the brand and is one of the brand’s main characteristics. Holzweiler’s AW17 collection was as exciting as the brand itself, the colour palette was anything but simple. Silhouettes were diverse and ranged from the easy-to-wear to tailored and fitted. In terms of style, Holzweiler had it all from athleisure to the classic and from street to elegance, they did not leave anything out. The subtle references to artists worked well and the very literal reference to Edvard Munch and the Scream was lovely. Holzweiler never fail to excite whether you want just a single piece or their entire collection.

Moods of Norway is one of those brands you either hate or love for their happy-go-lucky approach. A conversation at a late-night party about a fashion brand led Peder Børresen, Simen Staalnacke and Stefan Dahlquist to launch their first collection in 2003. The trio has successfully managed to incorporate their own sense of humour into their brand with men’s suits all having the number 246.619 embroidered referring to the number of tractors in Norway. The AW17 collection is fun, youthful, humorous and even offers a few classic silhouettes. Models came down the runway styled preppy and fresh and added to the overall youthful and modern feel of the collection.

Catherine Hammel is an established Norwegian designer defined and recognised for a modern take on Scandinavian minimalism and tradition. Her AW17 collection with a strong emphasis on knitwear and everyday basics. The colour palette was simple with blacks and greys and warmer tones such as beige, nude, blush, red, orange and browns. The silhouettes ranged from fitted to easy-to-wear and certainly offered something women of any body type. With so much emphasis on basics, the collection came off basic and failed to truly excite although many of the pieces undoubtedly will sell well with her followers and beyond.

Tom Wood founded by Mona Jensen in 2013 as a jewellery brand, but within one year expanded the brand with a ready-to-wear collection focussing on functional, timeless and relaxed silhouettes. Tom Wood’s AW17 collection was beautifully crafted, easy and relevant. The colour palette was kept mostly in dark tones with splashes of bright yellow and denim. The silhouettes were androgynous and easy-to-wear. Tom Wood exhibited everything from the trendy athleisure to the elegant and classic. The highlights of the collection were undoubtedly the outerwears that were tailored beautifully.

Tina Mollatt founded by TiMo in 2004 with the vision to offer high-quality clothing at justifiable prices. She creates garments that mix modern romance with timeless craftsmanship. By TiMo’s AW17 collection was elegant and romantic with hints of bohemian sophistication. The colour palette was very much in line with the colours of the season and included a blend of vibrant prints. The collection offered a wide range of looks from the everyday basics to outerwear and evening wear. The easy-to-wear flowy silhouettes will excite many women around the globe, not just in Scandinavia.

Iben set the scene for the last show of the second day of Oslo Runway AW17. Iben has become well known for being effortlessly cool. Her style is androgynous, clean and comfortable. Iben’s AW17 collection had a comfortable and easy-to-wear feel to it, in fact, the entire collection bordered on athleisure with a few tailored outerwear and evening wear. The colour palette was kept in dusted colours and oozed of autumn with a few hints of warmer tones such as cameltone, red and dark greens. Subtle design details made for an interesting collection.