With a whiff of sea spray in the air and sightings of jellyfish (and perhaps even a sea slug) the Norwegian brand took their place on the runway
For autumn/winter 2023, Holzweiler submerges us under the sea, where otherworldly watery creatures float through the seaweed and nestle amongst the coral. Though the ocean’s true mystique lies in that it’s a bit unknowable, it’s a place where designer Maria Skappel feels rather at home. “When you look at the deep water from above, everything looks so dark,” says Skappel, who has been diving in the deep since she was a teenager. “The deeper you get, the lighter everything feels, because you have the reflection from above and the white sands – everything is so clear.”
In the centre of the runway are two massive coral sculptures atop mounds of sand. The smell of the ocean quite literally hangs in the air – the brand commissioned a signature scent for the occasion. Models drift by, tentacles from silk jellyfish dangling from their handbags or trailing from sleeves. Set in mossy seaweed greens, soft pinks and the brand’s signature pale yellow, the collection is heavy on what Holzweiler does best: puffer jackets, scarves and, perhaps most importantly, knitwear. In addition to the covetable mohair sweaters, long, loose-knit pieces fashioned by hand from Norwegian wool reflect the nets that cull the ocean. “When you brush it, it gets really fluffy,” describes Skappel.
There are other more specific ocean references throughout. One look: a narrow, tubular dress, is directly inspired by the often underappreciated king of the sea: the sea slug. “We are really fascinated by sea slugs,” says Skappel, referring to the shell-less oft translucent figure that shuffles along the seabed. Elsewhere, bulbous, popcorn- structured handbags mimic the blowfish. Abstract metal necklaces appear as hidden treasures one might uncover buried in the sand. “When you go diving, it’s like being on a treasure hunt,” details Skappel.
It’s quite ethereal, really. Ocean references aside, Holzweiler has found a sweet spot that marries a certain delicate sensibility with the more structured trousers and suiting – a direction that has been taking shape since the family-owned brand took in a significant investment from Sequoia Capital China ahead of last season. “We still have androgyny, but we’re very confident in the femininity of the collection,” Skappel says. Her ultimate intention? “I hope we can create these goosebumps moments for the audience.”