Henrik Vibskov SS12

The first time I saw Henrik Vibskov’s work on the catwalk was exactly ten years ago, from a balcony perch at the Central Saint Martins’ BA show in Bethnal Green’s York Hall. Graduating alongside the likes of Louise Goldin, Joanna Sykes, Patrik Soderstam and Molly Grad, Vibskov stood out even then with his memorably quirky aesthetic (bags shaped like pigs are my chief memory of his collection) and has followed his own wayward path ever since.

His Summer 2012 outing, “Panopticon And On” (inspired by 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s vision of a prison supervised by a single, all-seeing eye) showed just how faithful the designer has remained to his distinctive vision. The Lycee Turbot’s courtyard was transformed into a stark stage set, with intersecting translucent screens framing a series of doors through which the models appeared and disappeared.

Appropriately, there was a shade more menace than usual, in the dark-shaded, off-kilter spectacles and black berets which anchored every outfit: but the clothes themselves had more than enough intrigue to communicate a sense of dystopian danger, with slanting, bulked-up shoulders and steep silhouettes creating a sharply exaggerated profile. Offsetting the aggressively-drawn cuts were the designer’s trademark details – patchwork panelling, rainbow stripes, muted spring shades and quirky knits.

Vibskov’s work couldn’t be any more different from that of another Danish designer showing at PFW, Peter Jensen: one is filled with brooding, dystopian complexity, the other by achingly joyous nostalgia. Yet what they share is that same outsider ability to blend the idiosyncratic homespun charm and cleverly nuanced resonance of that oher great Dane (and master of the dark fairytale) – Hans Christian Andersen.

Images courtesy of Nowfashion.

Posted by: John-Michael O' Sullivan


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