For its debut at London Fashion Week, Holzweiler presents an explorative, nomadic Norwegian way of life
A few days ahead of Holzweiler’s London Fashion Week debut, creative director Maria Skappel is feeling the gravity of the situation. Not only is this Holzweiler’s first UK outing, it’s the first time a Norwegian brand has ever claimed a space on the London calendar. “It’s a bit scary,” she says, smiling. “Being Norwegian, we tend to do things a bit differently.” Case in point: after our call, Skappel will return to hand-embroidering yellow blooms on delicate sheer frocks. “Everything is very heartfelt,” she says. Most of the Holzweiler clan has travelled to London for the occasion (for those who need a refresher, the brand was founded by Skappel’s husband, Andreas Holzweiler, and his sister Susanne). Even newly-engaged Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, a longtime supporter of the brand, is sitting in the font row.
Luckily, Skappel and her team – many of whom are based in the not-so-newly-opened London office – found a location that felt like a “home away from home”: the Camley Street Natural Park, a lush nature reserve smack dab in the centre of the city. The park only recently reopened to the public; it was closed for two years while ecologists painstakingly restored it to its former glory. “When we came there the first time, the birds were singing,” says Skappel, noting that most locals she’s spoken to have never set foot in the gardens. “It set the mood for everything we’ve done since.” A handful of guests – including a gaggle of Norwegian influencers – arrived to the venue by riverboat.
While autumn/winter '23 drew inspiration from the creatures and coral beneath the sea, this season finds us back on dry land, with inspiration plucked from the flora and fauna surrounding the catwalk. Here we find a fresh response to the age old query: “Florals for spring?” Take, for instance, the ombre printed relaxed denim or the delicate doily lace wrap skirts. The floral boy briefs, peeking out the top of more technical, pocket-heavy trousers. Elsewhere, teeny tiny florals decorate floating scarf dresses and twisted scarf tops – a reference to the scarves that kicked off the brand’s extraordinary run a decade ago. “It felt natural to do a tribute to the start of our journey,” says Skappel.
Sweet summer knitwear comes by way of crochet bikinis with long dangling strings and sheer knitted trousers, some of which flare dramatically towards the ankle. There’s a certain sensuality in the barely there miniskirts and bared midriffs, exposed by fluttering lace camisoles. It’s juxtaposed by techier fabrics – looks Skappel describes as “the gardener” – and sporty sunglasses. “Very sporty glasses are definitely something that’s very Norwegian,” says Skappel.
Despite claiming its space on a bigger fashion stage (which fittingly found British supermodel Adwoa Aboah opening the show), Holzweiler remains, at its heart, a family affair. Skappel proudly points out a short-sleeved crocheted Norwegian lambswool cardigan made in collaboration with her mother’s heritage knitwear brand, Skappel. Upon discovering it was “a bit too expensive to produce”, Holzweiler decided they’ll release the pattern, offering their community the opportunity to make one themselves. “It’s not difficult,” she promises. See – Norwegians do do things differently.
See the full Holzweiler SS24 collection below:
Photography: Chris Yates