These Dandy Scandi Accessories Spotted at Copenhagen Fashion Week Are Cult Items in the Making
By Laird Borrelli-Persson
Bag by Tuuli-Tytti Koivula
In a global world things that are local take on a special charm—at least that’s how I see it, as a kind of extension of individualism on a broader scale. So it was heartwarming to see some Scandi swag with cult-item potential—like Hodakova’s belt bags, All-In’s shoe-boots, Tuuli-Tytti Koivula’s shoulder-slung flower, and Cecilie Bahnsen’s fabric confections—making the rounds at the spring 2024 shows in Copenhagen.
As we all know, fashion is a tough business, and the boost a key accessory can give to a brand, emerging or established, has been proven over and over again. The five designers whose work is highlighted below are all engaged in small-batch accessory-making. They are problem solvers who know that success doesn’t come with a click of the heels. Still, when it comes to shoes and bags, they seem to have Midas touches giving them the agency to pave their own golden brick roads; it’s proof that neither fantasy nor functionality has to be sacrificed in the quest for It status.
Aino Collin carries the flower bag.
Last season Aalto University graduate Tuuli-Tytti Koivula presented her graduate thesis during CPHFW as part of the Alpha talent program; she took home the big prize with her collection, named Blumental. The designer’s goal, as she explained on a recent call, was to conjure “flowers blooming through the snow,” a reminder of summer during the long Finnish winters perhaps. “It’s a romantic idea,” notes Koivula, whose bags, stuffed with sustainable wool wadding, are made using her hand-designed prints and finished with crochet and embroidery.
Helsinki-based stylist Aino Collin was photographed outside the shows carrying the statement bag. Having promised to take good care of this mega bloom, she arrived in Copenhagen to find that the weather was “surprisingly even worse than in Helsinki,” forcing her to change her outfit plans. Having gone through the trouble of finding a carry-on bag big enough for the flight, she decided it was worth the risk when the rain stopped for a while. She credits the bag for helping her get into her favorite designer’s show despite not having an invitation. “Apparently wearing an XXL flower bag and Elton John–vibe Gucci glasses gives you a magical amount of self-confidence.”
Tuuli-Tytti Koivula’s flower bags are available to order.
Julia Ferrar carries a Sophie bag.
Emma Fridsell carries a Sophie bag.
Those looking for an entrée into Cecilie Bahnsen’s dreamy world might use one of her delicate bags as a key. “They are objects that can stand on their own, with ruffle details and small bows like our dresses,” the designer writes in an email. Materials are as important as silhouettes for this Dane, who considers each piece of fabric to be “incredibly precious.” Bahnsen first launched bags in 2021 as part of the brand’s upcycling initiative, called Encore. “It was a nice way to extend our universe into a new category while still maintaining our signature design language. Now it has expanded to become a part of our main collections, with new silhouettes and interpretations each season.”
Sixten “Siggy” Sonne in All-In boots and a bolero by Nicklas Skovgaard
My love affair with All-In started in 2019 with a shoe; sadly it wasn’t for sale. Thankfully it launched footwear last year, and since then the Level boot has become the favorite of fashion insiders. Founded by Bror August Vestbø and Benjamin Barron, the label is known for creating upcycled fantasies that borrow as much from couture as from pop culture, evident in the boot’s remixing of a kitten-heel slingback and a sleeve from one of their earlier collections. “All pieces in our first two collections were one of a kind and made from garments mostly found at flea markets,” the designers write from France, where they’re now based. What makes the boot extra special is that it’s crafted so the quote-unquote sleeves can be detached or switched out with different sleeves. Barron and Vestbø added, “The shoe design can evolve throughout time.”
Sixten “Siggy” Sonne, who was spotted wearing the boots, says he likes them because of the attention they bring. “I’ve never seen anything like them, really. And I guess no one has either since everyone stares at them, either in confusion or in awe.”
Hilda Sandström with a Hodakova Triangle belt bag
Robin Douglas with a Hodakova baguette belt bag
There’s a sense of magical realism to everything that Ellen Hodakova Larsson does at her namesake label. This Swede, who has made earrings out of underwires and minis from watches, is best known for her belt bags, which are manifestations of her motto: “Converted goods. The tempo of time.” Woven belt bags featuring a panoply of buckles date to the founding of the brand in 2021; earlier this year Larsson was invited by Gucci Continuum to collaborate with the brand and create her signature bag using the Italian brand’s ceintures. Meanwhile, Larsson stacks belts rather than working them in a plain weave for the new Triangle bag. “It’s a minimalistic development of the iconic Hodakova buckle belt bag,” she writes. “The Triangle is a symbol of your consciousness and expresses that strong foundation of the brand.”