The Danish designer's evocative, melancholic showcase at Milan Fashion Week included the reveal of a partnership with Blizzard Entertainment's anticipated Diablo IV game
Speaking to Han Kjøbenhavn founder and creative director Jannik Wikkelsø Davidsen, one word comes up again and again: emotion. For Davidsen, it’s not just about evoking emotion from the show guests (which, with his dramatic, sculptural creations and core-stirring electronic soundtracks, he does, by the by), it’s also about laying bare his own emotions and sending them walking, slowly and deliberately, down the runway. “It is my emotional state at that moment,” he says. “It’s hopefully beautiful, it’s driven by my nature, which can be a bit melancholic and can have a tendency to be a bit dystopian.”
A “continuation of what you’ve seen the last couple of seasons”, autumn/winter 2023 further establishes the sculptural design language, high drama and, yes, darkness that has come to define the Danish brand. Shoulders are razor-sharp, exaggerated faux leather kimono sleeves graze the runway and collars extend straight up to the eyeline, nearly obscuring the models’ vision.
While so many designers these days rely on one show-stopping, Instagram-compatible moment, at Han Kjøbenhavn there are several: the deranged Disney villain black feathered gowns, the sheer skirt that connects to an alien-chic head covering (paired only with silver pasties), the extraordinary wave-like chrome finale dress. Pick your poison. Super slim, faux leather tailoring and slick, sexy bodysuits serve as a sort of palate cleanser throughout. “It’s driven by very, very strict lines to control the whole expression,” says Davidsen. “I break out of those strict lines to let air in and create extreme emotions.” Also on deck, a collaboration with forthcoming video game Diablo IV, which, like Han Kjøbenhavn, finds beauty in a hellish dystopia. The game’s logo features on the blood red pieces that punctuate the otherwise somber palate of grey, black and chrome.
While the high-concept show pieces won’t be found in stores, for Davidsen, designing runway looks exclusively suitable for everyday life would be “super boring” (not that there wasn’t the odd trouser or jacket geared more towards practicality). “I’d rather go all out and be me,” he says. You can practically feel Julia Fox, sitting front row, picking her next major moment.
See the full collection below: