Henrik Vibskov's latest collection is a wholehearted tribute to the tomato that trickles down to every detail
The set of Henrik Vibskov’s AW23 show looked straight from a dystopian film. One in which a peculiar red fruit dangles from ominous metal structures. Upon closer inspection, the fruit was all too familiar: tomatoes. “About a year ago, I saw this abandoned tomato greenhouse in Denmark, which was closed down because of the cost of energy,” Vibskov says. “It looked super futuristic – no plants but a lot of glass and water tubes all over. It looked like a scene from Blade Runner 2049.” When a team of futuristic gardeners, with dainty red bonnets, came to hoist the fruit into the sky, it instantly became clear: these are trees.
So Vibskov, in his singular, all-encompassing way, started thinking about tomatoes. Not just the fruit itself, mind you, but tomato cans – he’s especially fond of the graphics on those – the crop’s history and even the famous La Tomatina tomato fight held annually just outside Valencia. “The whole collection is a tribute to tomato,” he says, simply.
The tomato-ness manifests in delightfully subtle ways – a rounded armhole cleverly placed at the front of a knit, for instance. A closer look at the woven textiles reveal subtle flecks of deep tomato red, elsewhere the green of the vine pops up on a collar. Dainty pleated dresses flecked with abstract vines. Occasionally, a splash of orange. Most blatantly, there are the graphics – an imagined Vibskov tomato can, one which the designer has actually produced en masse. It’s a knit-heavy collection, which extends to the playful snoods in their vibrant Vibskov stripes. It’s offset by more practical workwear – chore coats and pocket- heavy pants ideal for culling the tomato fields.
What’s Vibskov’s own relationship with the fruit? “I’m a really big fan,” he says, noting that gazpacho is his preferred tomato dish. As he (if not so scientifically) rightfully notes, it’s one of the top three most iconic fruits. “So... I just went a bit bananas,” he pauses and corrects himself: “Went a bit tomato.”