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Copenhagen Fashion Week: Shopping on the World’s Greatest Catwalk

Friday, Nov 19, 2010, 2:22 PM / Copenhagen, Denmark

Shopping during fashion week is the best therapy for the go-go-go chaos of the shows. Those eager to do a spot of shopping in Copenhagen while off duty will find an eclectic mix of vintage, high street and high-end Nordic fashion. This season, the city of Copenhagen will host a unique event to attract fashionista shoppers: On 14 August, the shopping district’s main street, Strøget, will be transformed into a giant 1.6 km runway for the “World’s Greatest Catwalk” show.
You can experience the world’s longest catwalk by sashaying down the pedestrianised Strøget before the big event. Many Copenhageners start their shopping day at Magasin Du Nord department store, so this would be a good place to begin your quest. Magasin is conveniently located at Kongens Nytorv, the beginning of Strøget. From Magasin, a leisurely stroll takes you past a line of exclusive boutiques like Gucci, Max Mara, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry, as well as Birger Christensen.

A third of the way along Strøget is Illum, Copenhagen’s most luxurious department store. The store is the favourite haunt of every fashion-conscious Dane and offers everything from fragrances to designer handbags and man bags to a huge array of Scandinavian and International prêt-à-porter collections. Illum opened a new Paul Smith Women concession on 9 August. The Royal Copenhagen store, inside the neighbouring Illums Bolighus (separate luxury home store), will feature a David Andersen pop-up shop throughout Fashion Week, where you can buy the designer’s autumn/winter 2010 collection or order a couture dress.

Where you go after Illum depends on how much damage you have done to your budget. Before you blow your next month’s salary you may first want to put your feet up and enjoy a delicious caffè latte. Opposite Illum lies Amagertorv square. The former medieval marketplace for the farmers of Amager Island is now a large open space dominated by the Stork Fountain, where young romantics dreams. The square boasts two trendy insider cafes: Café Norden (upstairs seating recommended) and Café Europa (owned by the designer Mads Nørgaard’s brother, Jens). Alternatively, if you are feeling fabulously famished, you should try smushi and champagne at the Royal Café. Smushi is traditional Danish smørrebrød with a contemporary sushi twist, a new culinary phenomenon invented by the Royal Café.

Before you leave Amagertorv square there are two shops that every fashionista with an interest in Danish design has to visit. Nørgaard på Strøget at Amagertorv 13 opened its doors in 1958. The shop has been designing and selling cult t-shirts since the 1970s and is now considered a national institution. In 1986, Jørgen Nørgaard’s son Mads decided to follow his father into the fashion industry by opening the Mads Nørgaard shop at Amagertorv 15. Almost every Dane owns at least one Nørgaard på Strøget t-shirt. Whether you are 17 or 70, the classic brand invariably evokes fond memories.

To decide on which route to continue the World’s Greatest Catwalk you will need to look at how much money you spent on lunch. The direct route along the west end of Strøget is ideal if you are shopping on a tight budget. With the exception of a few luxury boutiques near Illum, the route from Amagertorv square to City Hall (Rådhuspladsen square) is lined with high street stores, souvenir shops and fast food outlets. High street stores located along the west end of Strøget include the Swedish chain H&M, the Danish brands Vero Moda and Deres, and the Norwegian label Bik Bok.

Truly cutting-edge Scandinavian designer wear may be hard to find, that is without the help of a map. But if you are on the hunt for the finest apparel, this is a hunt you will certainly enjoy. The second option for your shopping trip takes you on a detour through a maze of narrow side streets off Strøget, in the vicinity of Illum. Here, you will discover a number of fabulous shops hidden in these streets. The streets are rarely crowded allowing you to move freely from boutique to boutique.

Shops definitely worth a visit include Henrik Vibskov, Wood Wood, Nag, Lubarol, Holly Golightly, Acne and Storm. Many Danish flagship stores supplement their portfolio with a range of international high-end labels. The Henrik Vibskov store in Krystalgade stocks Stine Goya, Bernhard Wilhelm and Walter Van Beirendonck, in addition to the eponymous Vibskov collection. The Wood Wood store opposite also sells Comme des Garçons and Jeremy Scott.

If vintage fashion is your passion, you should head for Larsbjørnsstræde. This street turns off Strøget at Gammeltorv square and takes you into Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter is known for its colourful cluster of vintage shops. Carmen & Fantasio in Larsbjørnsstræde is one of oldest and finest vintage shops in the city. KBH.K in Studiestræde is also worth a visit. On the other hand, if designer shoes top your list of guilty pleasures, then no trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to Apair and Notabene.

Copenhagen would not be Copenhagen if it did not offer a green alternative to shopping. The Green Walk is a shopping route organised by the Copenhagen Fashion Festival highlighting shops that carry at least one label with a sustainable profile. The aim of the initiative is to encourage visitors attending Fashion Week to shop ethically by buying sustainable high-end products or vintage wear.

Another green initiative that will be of great benefit during Fashion Week is commuting by bicycle. 37 per cent of people in Copenhagen go shopping by bicycle. Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. Free bike hire is available for visitors – all you have to do is find one of the 110 bike racks located around the city and deposit a refundable 20 Kroner coin. If you happen to be a stylist looking for something unique there is no better way to explore the amazing boutiques in the fashionable district of Østerbro (east), the artist quarter of Vesterbro (west) and the multicultural borough of Nørrebro (north).

How long it takes you to complete the World’s Greatest Catwalk will depend on whether or not you choose to opt for a detour. In the end, almost all Fashion Week attendees will visit Rådhuspladsen square, at some point. City Hall is the official venue for Copenhagen Fashion Week and the setting for the YDE show. The shows are broadcast live on a giant screen in the square.

If that’s not enough to grab your attention, maybe the appearance of a supermodel will. Supermodel and patroness of the event Helena Christensen is scheduled to make a speech in front of City Hall. If you haven’t already bumped into her in a quiet boutique or on the cycle path, you can watch her open the show here. But hey, you have just walked the World’s Greatest Catwalk, so strike a pose and show Helena how it’s really done!

Magasin Du Nord
Kongens Nytorv 13
1095 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 11 44 33
Metro: Kongens Nytorv

Østergade 52
1100 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 14 40 02

David Andersen Pop-Up Shop
Royal Copenhagen
Amagertorv 6
1160 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 41 66 66 42

Café Norden
Østergade 61
1100 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 11 77 91

Café Europa
Amagertorv 1
1160 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 14 28 89

Royal Café
Amagertorv 6
1160 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 12 11 22

Nørgaard på Strøget
Amagertorv 13
1160 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 12 24 28

Mads Nørgaard
Amagertorv 15
1160 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 32 01 28

Henrik Vibskov
Krystalgade 6
1172 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 14 61 00

Wood Wood
Krystalgade 7
1172 Copehagen
Tel: +45 33 93 62 64

Nag Store
Pilestræde 47 kld.
1112 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 93 93 18

Gothersgade 34
1123 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 32 48 78

Holly Golightly
Gammel Mønt 2
1117 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 14 19 15

Gammel Mønt 10
1117 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 93 93 28

St. Regnegade 1
1110 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 93 00 14

Carmen & Fantasio
Larsbjørnsstræde 11
1454 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 14 30 36

Studiestræde 32B
1455 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 33 73 15 19

Ny Østergade 3
1101 Copenhagen
Tel: + 45 33 91 99 20

Kronprinsensgade 10
1114 Copenhagen
Tel: + 45 33 13 38 13

Free Bike Hire
Wonderful Copenhagen
Gammel Kongevej 1
1610 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 3325 7400

110 racks around town
City Hall
Rådhuspladsen 1
1550 Copenhagen
Metro: Rådhuspladsen

Ian Morales | TribaSpace

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