Helmstedt: Making waves

TIME & DATE: Tuesday 7 August – 14.00
PLACE: Opera at Christiania
Words Elsebeth Mouritzen

The temperature is tropical. A woman sits in a bathtub with octopus arms hanging from the side. She listens to the sounds from the ocean in the conch she is holding to her ear. We are inside the Opera of Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, packed to the max with people, eager to see what tailor-turned-designer Emilie Helmstedt has in store for us.

As a native of Christiania, she is known to be equally free in spirit to do what she feels like in her work, so with her, the unexpected is expected. Last season, she was hailed by Vogue magazine as “one of the designers from Denmark we will be talking about in 2018”, when she debuted as a brand with a playful collection of daywear striped silk pajamas.

They reappeared with new details in a show that was more of a presentation, even if the models walked from a small stage and into the seated crowd. Emilie Helmstedt thinks a proper catwalk show exudes too much glamour, but the glamour was actually in the clothes themselves.

She doesn’t draw inspiration from the hippie-inspired environment, where she lives and works, but from advertising and lifestyle of the 1950s and 60s. The collection is called Oceania, and you imagine yourself on vacation by the Mediterrenean sea rather than at the Copenhagen harbour baths. Besides the short- and long-legged PJs that will be a leisure uniform anywhere in the world, she makes some beautiful dresses with brush strokes of paint or naïve prints of exotic fish that evokes memories of Italian Riviera-style.

It is hard to judge a collection of just a dozen pieces presented as part of a theatrical setting, but if Emilie Helmstedt sticks to her gun, she could make waves with her whimsical glamour.

View all looks here.