“I've always wanted to attend a fashion show”: A Vogue Scandinavia Society member's front row experience at CPHFW

By Johanna Karlqvist

Editor in chief Martina Bonnier with Vogue Scandinavia Society member Johanna Karlqvist sitting front row at the Skall Studio runway show .

The guest of honour of Martina Bonnier at Skall Studio's AW24 runway show, Vogue Scandinavia Society member Johanna Karlqvist reflects on her “dream” front row experience.

I've always wanted to attend a fashion show. That I would get to do that together with Martina Bonnier, editor-in-chief for Vogue Scandinavia is something I never dared to dream about.

Happy and excited – and a little nervous – I patiently wait by the black Mercedes with the Vogue Scandinavia logo outside the Opera House in Copenhagen where we have agreed to meet. Suddenly, I spot Martina and Rebecka, who works as Martina's executive assistant and as a fashion producer for the magazine.

“Now, we're curious, can you share a bit about yourself?” Martina asks me right after we jump into the backseat of the car. Of course, I want to make a good impression on the editor-in-chief, and here I am with that opportunity. Throughout the drive I ask a lot about how they work with sustainability and Martina's perspective on her influence in the fashion industry. She explains to me how Vogue is a platform and much more than just a physical magazine, and how the fashion industry is the world's third-largest manufacturing sector. The car ride goes quickly as we drive through the sunny streets of Copenhagen.

Martina and Society member Johanna jump in the car, en route to the Skall Studio AW24 runway show.

We eagerly walk into Fonden Kulturfabrikken, where Skall Studio's autumn/winter '24 show is to take place. I settle down into one of the chairs arranged to form the front row, which is crafted by the Danish designer Borge Mogensen. To my right is Martina, and to the left, Rebecka. I’m reflecting, wondering how I ended up in this situation – a surreal feeling envelopes me. The seats opposite us are occupied by individuals who each exhibit a unique sense of style, each one more dressed up than the other; it's like watching a moving artwork.

Martina guides me through the room, pointing out specific individuals, including other editors and stylists. “The one with the blue hat, she is from Vogue China,” she says. Complementing her blue hat, the fellow editor wears a checkered shirt, a tie, golden heels and a matching bag – finished with a large fluffy fur in her lap. Martina then glances to the left, leaning closer to me. “There's Alana Hadid,” she says. The model, creative director and activist Alana also occupies the front row, wearing black leather shoes, crisp white socks, a sweater from Skall Studio, and a padded black oversized coat.

Entering the Fonden Kulturfabrikken venue lined with seats by Danish designer Borge Mogensen.

"We're going backstage later to film," Martina tells Zamzam, Vogue Scandinavia's social media manager, who has joined our conversation for a while. "Do you know Julie and Marie Skall [Skall Studio's co-founders]?” I ask Martina. “Yes, I do,” Martina replies. She turns to Rebecka. “I think I know most designers,” she says with a smile, and Rebecka nods in agreement. I greet another member of the Vogue Scandinavia team, this time Allyson Shiffman, print editor. Just that morning, Allyson had walked the runway for the first time at the OpéraSport show. Now, she is wearing jeans and a cable-knit sweater (both in off-white from Skall Studios), complemented by a brown checkered coat, boots and a scarf.

Taking in the atmosphere after the show, amongst models, press, stylists and industry players.

The music starts, and the room falls silent. People settle in, expectantly awaiting the show to begin. Sunbeams filter through the window, creating patterns on the industrial floor just as the first model steps forward draped in a grey blazer. Many people, including myself, raise their phones to document the new collection and capture the essence of the show. When the fifth model comes into view, a thought crosses my mind: 'enjoy this moment, embrace the experience'. I lower my phone, draw a deep breath, and feel a smile naturally spreading across my face. The Skall sisters enter the runway hand in hand, applause breaks out; the show is over.

Afterwards, the atmosphere backstage feels somewhat more relaxed, accompanied by a collective sense of relief and numerous smiles. Models exchange hugs and congratulations for a job well done, while others attentively examine the embroidery on one of the garments. A bit further away, Martina interviews the Skall sisters. Once again, I try to simply savour the moment.

We step out from the venue into a sunny yet windy day. Back in the car, our conversation continues as we discuss the details of the show. Despite our brief time together, I feel a comfort in their presence, allowing me to be myself. That feeling is perhaps the most beautiful thing one can give to someone you've never met before?

The schedule of an editor during Copenhagen Fashion Week is packed – Martina is in such a time crunch that she has to change into her next outfit for The Garment show in the car. They drop me off at Sankt Annae Square; we say goodbye, and I express my gratitude for the insight into the fashion industry and the opportunity to meet Vogue Scandinavia.