If you’re looking to define Scandinavian cool with a side of artsy darkness, look no further than Barbara i Gongini. The Faroese-Danish designer, based in Copenhagen, has been creating moody, flowing pieces since 2005 and has been bringing fresh collections to the streets and runway ever since.
Not only did we get to attend the Barbara i Gongini SS15 runway show, we had backstage access as well. Given the gothic nature of the clothes, I was expecting a bunch of Victorian-era looking ghosts to be floating around in funeral-wear, lazily dressing the models with gauzy spiderwebs and powdering their faces to the point of death-like paleness while sighing into lace handkerchiefs.
Actually, it turns out that putting on a show like Barbara’s requires an incredibly high level of production (and no ghosts at all!). So as I crouched in a back corner among the dressing racks, a crew the size of typical beehive buzzed purposefully, getting make-up, hair and dressing done as quickly as possible while also conducting a walk through, teaching choreography (more on that later) and testing everything from sound to lighting.
Let’s talk about hair and make-up for a second. These people are the unsung heroes of fashion week and, for this show in particular, I think we owe them a round of applause. The amount of design, skill and patience that went into these looks is astounding. Especially those conjoined-hair twins. I’ll say that again: conjoined-hair twins.
The show itself was packed almost to bursting. Even Susie Lau showed up, which is a sign that things are about to get fashion-real. The music was slow at times, fast at times; the models knew when to walk slowly and when to pick up the pace in perfect time so the beat never seemed off.
On a handful of occasions, two models walked out together and performed a marionette-like dance. It was strange and striking, the energy from the packed room seeming to zero in on the runway. When the show ended the room seemed to collectively take in air, as though we’d all been holding our breath. That’s the power of something so visually exciting.
Take a look at the show through our lens. We hope you’re as inspired by Barbara i Gongini SS15 as we are.