For Imaskopi’s first ever runway show, the knit-heavy brand takes on a daunting subject. “My main inspiration comes from a story that my mom used to tell me when I was a kid and there’s a fantasy about what happens after you die,” designer Nelly Skog tells me when I reach her by phone in between classes (the young Swedish up-and-comer is still in school, taking gender studies). “I wanted to recreate the feeling that story gave me. There was both happiness and sadness at the same time.”
This mood – this feeling – is realised with the cinematic soundtrack and the ethereal appearance of the models, both male and female, their faces aglow with soft metallic eyeshadow. The ethos of Imaskopi lies in its desire to “question norms of aesthetics and gender”. It’s fitting, then, that the brand’s signature face masks render the wearer somewhat ambiguous.
And then of course there are the garments, knitted oversized sweaters, clingy tube skirts and one-shouldered frocks that, while dreamy and delicate, also hint towards a sort of decay in their imperfections. “In the story, there are some figures that resemble fireflies,” notes Skog. They’re alluded to with the use of mohair, which is, as she puts it, “fluffy and angel-like”.
Skog’s mom is responsible for more than just the starting point for SS23; it was her mother that first taught her to knit. Each piece is made painstakingly by hand, “mostly from wool and merino yarn”. “I hope you will see the work behind the pieces,” says Skog, noting that the closing look, a knitted bridal gown with an exaggerated train, took some 20 hours to complete. “And I hope that that you see the playfulness that I want to communicate and that you feel included in some way."
So what does Skog think comes after death? “Maybe I’ll turn into a firefly.”