onsdag den 27. februar 2008

Sneak attack

It's time for new sneakers. My old black Converse All Stars are at a stage where they’re making a squeaking sound - almost like they're begging me to replace them - every time I take a step. - It's actually becoming pretty embarrassing walking around like that, people turning their heads to see who’s making that weird sound. Yes alright, I get it they want to be put to rest.
But I’m just so bad at buying new sneakers. I tend to stick to one pair for years and years and grow so attached to them, that it takes me weeks or even months to decide on new ones. If these weren’t ‘complaining loudly’ I’d keep them.
So I’ve been hunting the internet for some cool suggestions for new ones. Now, I’m tempted to go for the classic Converse, but some new blood would be good too. I mostly go for the black and simple look - I like my sneakers sneaky.
The ones above are are from Pointer and I like that thier understated but still have a super cool print.
I really like Peter Jensen’s rabbit-print too even though rabbits aren’t exactly sneaky, but more of a bouncy kind. These sneakers come off as happy and comfortable yet elegantly simple. But uh, I hope those rabbits don’t start grunting.

fredag den 22. februar 2008

Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.

So the new royal playhouse opened last weekend with a gala performance of (surprise) Hamlet. I think it is safe to say that everyone who's anyone in Dansih society was there. Well not really everyone, because, alas, they forgot to invite me – something is rotten indeed.

To make sure that I had something to tell you about this new and amazing playhouse I was able to get a ticket to one of the other plays. – This new architectonical wonder has three stages and I visited the smallest one where ‘Hunger’ premiered. The play is an adaptation of Knut Hamsun’s novel by Jon Fosse with Janus Nabil Bakrawi in the lead role.
But before I give you my view on this play I have to tell you some more about the house. The playhouse is the second new building The Royal Danish Theatre has acquired over the last year – The Opera house is of course the first one. Now that the royal theatre has such excellent playing conditions let's only hope their artistic work can live up to the standards.

The playhouse was designed by the architects Lundgaard & Tranberg and is situated beautifully by the harbour in central Copenhagen. I’m usually not a big fan of square glass buildings and I had my doubts when I saw the work in progress. But this playhouse is one of the best examples of how glass can make a building come to life, rather than leaving it with a cold, dark and polished surface.
Another cool thing about this playhouse is that it has such a cave-like feeling inside. The lights and the stone walls make you feel really at home. There is a very cosy atmosphere in the foyer which downplays the ‘royal theatre-stiffness' – a stiffness which I think is clearly present in the new Royal Opera House located just on the other side of the water. There the light is so bright, the gold so shiny and the foyer so cold that you can't relax.

During the intermission in Hamlet I snug in to the main stage of the playhouse and in there it's even more like a cave than in the foyer. It’s dark, with raw stone bricks on the walls and as a contrast the red velvet chairs remain as a kind of reference to classical royal theatre. The smallest stage where I was is not special in the same way- it's a small black box with, I expect, a movable stage construction.

The play’s the thingI went to the smallest stage with only 100 seats designed for more intimate theatre experiences. ‘Hunger’ is basically the story of a hungry young man walking the streets for days looking for food and money. It derives originally from Knut Hamsun's novel and has also been made into a very famous film version by Hening Carlsen from 1966.

I think that the uninteresting storyline is the main problem for the play because, well, there is no story – or a very very slim one. We are presented with only little dialogue and long monologues and thus the performance rests with the ability of Janus Nabil Bakrawi to hold your attention for 1 hour and 30 min without intermission. Luckily he does a really, almost ass-kicking, good job – I guess you don’t really kick ass in such a serious role. Anyway, he does his best to communicate and make us feel his hunger and despair. Your stomach turns as he desperately stuffs himself with paper and then vomit in disgust.

But the play also holds a delicate balance between tragedy and comedy when he sadly keeps refusing any money offered to him and then humiliatingly tries to sell his ragged blanket and the plastic buttons from his coat. The only time you really jump in your seat though, is when the steep stage constructions collapse under him making such a laud crash that even the sleepiest member of the audience wakes up. However, it's not only the otherwise bare set-design, created by Sidse Jørgensen, that brings action to all the words; the direction is vitally and lively done by Rolf Heim, who brings life this heavy text through constant movement and live music. Unfortunately, it does not change the fact that this play, about ‘starving’ yourself to achieve artistic insight, lacks development or progression and therefore exhausts its audience in the end.

søndag den 17. februar 2008

Get me to a nunnery -and bring muffins

There’s always been something fascinating about nuns. Also in film and theatre there is curious interest in this otherwise closed world. This weekend I got together with some friends and watched Fred Zinnerman’s film ‘The Nun’s Story’ with Audrey Hepbrun.
I saw it for the first time as a young girl and it made such an impression on me. I remember being very impressed by this pure and innocent world. But seeing it again I now paid more attention to how the film displays one long struggle.

It is a very long story about Sister Lukas’ hard efforts to completely conform to the life as a bride of Christ. Her inner ambition and passion for medical work does not correspond with the strict devotion to rules of obedience and humiliation. She studies tropical diseases and works humbly in a mentalasylm before she can finally get to go to Congo, as she has been wishing for.
In Congo her commitment to Christ is tested when she is pared with a 'devil' of a doctor who makes her question her own personal motifs. On her return to Belgium the war breaks and her beloved father is killed. This is the ultimate test of her drvotion to Christe as she is not allowed to take sides.
It's a very moving film and Audrey Hepburn gives a stunning performance. Wearing a nun's outfit its only her face that gives away all the frustration and inner anger and its very powerful. She looks of course beautiful as ever and the basic costume really inhances her amazing eyes. I think it’s only a few actresses who can keep looking effortlessly beautiful and innocent in such costumes. Audrey and Julie Andrews are some of the best examples.

To soften and sweeten this serious and dramatic film I had baked these delicious raspberry muffins. They are not made with fresh berries as the season make it hard to find any, but the frosen ones are good too.
They had to be eaten that same day otherwise they become dry and dull, so for 2 and a half hour we were stuffing ourselves with muffins and admireing the natural beauty of the nuns.

lørdag den 16. februar 2008

Friday Night Concert:

Jens Lekman at Vega in Copenhagen
Well then, Jens Lekman’s concert was moved from the small stage at Vega to the largest due to popular demand. This (finally!) gave Nerd Girl the opportunity to attack...
I’ve only known Jens Lekman’s music since I got his last album 'Night falls Over Kortedala' for x-mas and it’s been sitting in my stereo ever since. Friday night’s concert had a good crowd with laughter and cheering. But unfortunately, for a small Nerd Girl like me, a lot of tall Swedish indie guys had taken the trip over from Malmoe. Just as nice looking as Swedes can be, just as annoying is it when they are blocking your view…
So I didn’t get to see so much of Jens Lekman and his band, - I did, though, catch a glimpse or two of a very cool blond girl on the drums.

But the lack of view didn’t stop me from enjoying the music. I like his music for its happy melodies and the quirky lyrics. In the live version the sympathy and charm from the CD still shined through in every way. Jens Lekman was talkative and told funny anecdotes about his songs for example the hit: ‘postcard to Nina’. The song is about how Jens goes to Berlin to visit his friend Nina and ends up playing her fiancé for her parents so she doesn’t have to tell them she is a lesbian. The song tells us about the embarrassing dinner where poor Jens ‘plays’ the son-in-law and at the concert Jens gave us an even further description of his big German father-in-law and his attention to Jens – a funny story.

Thanks to the smoking-band in public buildings the air at Vega was clean and at some moments you could almost feel and smell the clean air of the Swedish woods and lakes in all the good music.
Apparently Jens Lekman was a bingo-host in a small Swedish town and from that he found inspiration for his song ‘Friday Night at the Drive-in-Bingo’ which he palyed last night really well.

At the end of the concert, when the crowd cheered for the fourth extra number he told us that he couldn’t resist our foot-stamping but that he really had to go, but if we wanted we could see him in the lobby and he’d sing a song in our ear.
I didn’t get to see him in the lobby though (too many people), but Jens Lekman, you can sing in my ear, any time…

tirsdag den 12. februar 2008

The talented Marie í Dali

After all of last week's fashion talk I think it's time to return to some geeky topics – after all I am Nerd Girl.
Therefore to night I'll attack something different that's also very dear to me: theatre and stage and costume design. I guess in some sense you could argue a connection to the world of fashion. I love going to almost all sorts of stage performances. Last week I saw ‘Maskarade’ by Danish composer Carl Nielsen at the Royal Opera House.
The story of ‘Maskarade’ stupid – so I’ll only bore you with the basics: a lot of love complications, an evil patriarch and a happy ending at a large masquerade ball. The singing and music was great, the direction was witty and gave a good new life to this old banal piece of drama. What I really want to tell you about is the stage design: It was made by one of Denmarks most interesting stage and costume designers Marie í Dali. She has been working mostly with opera, and I’ve seen only 4 of her productions, yet every one has made such an impression on me that I’ve often ended up remembering more about the set designs than the actual play or opera.
She has worked quite a lot with stage director and the creative director of the Royal Opera Kasper Bech Holten who has also directed ‘Maskarade’. The set design here was modern and funny with such an intelligent use of props (the playboy-bunny towls and all the skincare products) to create a lifestyle image. Í Dali's use of room and perspective are also In the bedroom for example í Dali had tiled the perspective:
I also really enjoyed í Dali’s work in Holten’s direction of The Ring Cycle by Wagner, where she worked together with Steffen Aarfing. I’m not really a Wagner-fan, the music is too heavy for me and I tend to get bored. But from The Copenhagen Ring Cycle I only saw ‘Das Walkyrie’, and I was blown away - it was not boring at all but so heartfelt and moving. The mood in the songs was so beautifully reflected in the different sets:
The valkyries with their black wings and party dresses were so refined and scary at the same time:So far I've only seen Marie Í Dali's work on stage, but I've read that she's also done some Danish films which I look forward to seeing. Actually, in the future I just might start choosing my plays and operas by their stage designer instead of by director or composer.

søndag den 10. februar 2008

Saturday was Kirsty-day

Yesterday I attended Anna Gullmann’s A/W 08 show. It was a very festive experience and just like at her S/S08 show last summer it was her imaginary muse Kirsty who modelled the clothes – 6 versions of kirsty to be exact.
The collection was called Jitter Geometry and featured Kirsty jitterbug dancing and wearing clothes with geometrical shapes. Bright colours and jitterbug music set the mood for a fun and games.
The collection showed a vide range of colourful skirts, dresses and tops. In general the show was very theatrical; The Kirstys were dancing and running around which made it difficult to get some good photos. But nevertheless the clothes were great: - airy dresses and plissé skirts in colours that could beat any winter depression.

Their style was cartoon-like with the doll-make up and large bows in the hair. I really enjoy Gulmann’s mix of sharp colours and delicate materials. Her black dresses all had small colourful applications matched with coloured stockings or socks. Blue, black and orange were the main colours throughout the collection which also included some really cool sweaters.

Photos by Sacha Maric

lørdag den 9. februar 2008

CFW Friday

Surrealism from Stine Goya
As I wrote earlier, Stine Goya is the Danish fashion media’s darling at the moment and her A/W08 collection can only increase that hype. Here she proved how she still masters a unique blend of psychedelic prints and sharp cuts. Dresses and jumpsuits are also here the key pieces, but Goya adds up her style with original pants- and jacket designs.
Goya’s signature mirror-necklace also had a centre place on most of the styles on the run way - I really must get one of those. Her colours are more relaxed than her earlier work; she uses a black, pale gold, grey and purple and then lets the amazing patterns make all the noise. I see the surrealistic inspiration in both the dreamy silhouettes and in the wild stripes and patterns. At the moment, I have thing for unusually cut sleeves and Stine Goya also provided that this season:

All photos by Sacha Maric

fredag den 8. februar 2008

Sleeves - Designers Remix Collection

Designers Remix Collection can roughly be defined as a Danish version of Miu Miu. The clothes are beautiful, sophisticated and classic.- Some times a bit to classical for my taste. But this A/W collection showed some very edgy dresses and tailored suits with sleeves to die for!
Again black dresses become a central aspect on the catwalk and the elephant trunk sleeves give them a historical, costume-like quality. Even though black was the dominant colour and my favourite, I think the red and orange dresses are very chick indeed.
Designers Remix Collection is the type label that has Crown Princess Mary in the front row for the show. What I like about Designers Remix Collection’s A/W collection is the whole goth-inspired look with black lips, pale skin and fixed hair styles. – I wonder how HRH the Crown Princess thinks about that…

CFW: Thursday

Wood Wood
For the A/W08 collection Wood wood keeps it cool and casual. The pale and relaxed look also seen in the S/S08 collection continues. Jumpsuits and skirts are the key girlish elements for winter. Colourwise I really like the burgundy shirts and blue jupesuits, especially in the darker tartan seen in both men’s and women’s wear.
The men’s wear focused on simple suits with loose shirts in especially in light blue and grey. Both the male and female look has cool original use of belts.
Apart from the loosely fitted suits and dresses the characteristic Wood Wood street style was also apparent in the oversize jackets and knitwear.

torsdag den 7. februar 2008

Copenhagen Fashion Week: Wednesday

Copenhagen Fashion Week is off to a start with a lot of shows in only a few days. I'll try not to devote this blog completely to CFW, but I must admit that it takes up a lot of my free time. I love how the Danish fashion scene has developed and evolved in the last few years and it is therefore a natural instict that I have to check out as much as possible.
This is some of what I think are key aspects from the A/W08 collections shown yesterday. All photos are by Sacha Maric.

Fur for winter:

Else Gug and White
A simple use of fur is also a clear tendency for winter. This was seen especially in Else Gug’s very elegant coats and in White’s collar pieces. Everything is held in natural and sandy colours which I think keeps the fur from looking too heavy.

The little black dress version 08:

Else Gug, Bibi Ghost and White

Black dresses also dominated all 4 collections shown on Wednesday. The rough use of material in both Else Gug and Bibi Ghost gives the classical dress a new edge and attitude. I think the simplicity of White’s dress is nicely broken by the heavy black ‘pearl’ necklace.

Darkness vs. colour:

Rützou and Bibi Ghost

The black winter is broken with strong bright colours. I like the fluffiness in Rützou's dresses against the shiny tights. At BiBi Ghost's I've fallen for the contrast in both fabric and colour which work well to bring in elements of summer and spring.

tirsdag den 5. februar 2008

Gentlemen's Affair opens concept store

In conncetion with Copenhagen Fashion Week there are all sorts of things going on around town. Among them was the opening of Gentlemen’s Affair flagship store in Pilestræde today. It's a hot spot location for a sophisticated and trendy shop and about time for Gentlemen's Affair to have a place all to themeselves.

I've seen some of their pieces in small shops around town and mostly been fascinated by the beautifully tailored shirts and dresses. Now I really look forward to shopping in their store and enjoying the whole collection. Until now I've only seen a few selected items that were (too) often sold out in my size, because the shop only had one or two of each size. Therefore, this is a very welcome store on my shopping route and I'm sure it will become an affair to remeber.
These few examples are from the S/S08 collection. Looks like denim blue and red will be the new summer favourites.

søndag den 3. februar 2008

Fastelavn sunday

Homemade ‘fastelavns boller’
Since it’s fastelavn Sunday today I thought it was time to take a small break from all the fashion talk and enjoy some home made pastry´.
I love the Scandinavian fastelavns tradition even though it is mostly for children. The children in my neighbourhood have been in costumes and were all lined up with small bats to hit a barrel full of candy: Lots of screaming and laughing. As a child, I always loved dressing up, decorating twigs with colourful paper and baking the special festilavns-pastry.
Here is how you make them:
The dough:
250g. flour
1tsp. Cardamom
1 tbsp. sugar
150g. butter
1,5 dl. Milk
25g. yeast
1 egg
Mix flour with sugar and cardamom and then rub in the butter. Heat up the milk a little and the stir in the yeast, then ad the egg and stir. Stir the milky substance into the flour/butter. Let the dough rest for 30 min. Form small 8/10 small round buns and let them rest for another 10 min.
Meanwhile you can make the crème:
2 eggs
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
2,5 dl. milk
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
Whisk eggs, sugar and four well. Add cold milk and vanilla sugar and whisk again. Then take this on to the stove and get it to a boil while constantly whisking. Stop when you have a very thick yellowish crème.Now you make room with your fingers in each bun for the crème and fill in. Bake them for 20 min at 200-225 c.
When they have cooled of a bit you can add icing after your own choice. The festival pastry are especially enjoyable with a nice cup of coffee.

Stine Goya

To continue the short warm up to CFW this post will be about another Danish streetwise designer: Stine Goya.
She will be showing her new A/W 08 next week at Natinoal Concert Hall on Friday

When Stine Goya appeared on the Danish fashion scene last February with her first collection, she was an immediate hit. Since then her name and designs have been a sure thing in almost every Danish fashion magazine. And no doubt her style brings something new and original to Danish fashion design. I think her strength lies in the remarkable way she mixes ‘noisy’ colours and patterns with simple and clean shapes.
From her S/S08 collection (examples below) I really like the volume in her summer dresses and the loose black and white shirt. Her first collection (A/W07) was really cool as well. It had sharper cuts and paler colours and featured a pair of my favourite shoes: flat, golden and with red shoelaces.