The places to visit in the Danish capital, according to Ganni’s creative director Ditte Reffstrup
Ganni, the Denmark-based clothing label founded by wife-and-husband duo Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup (creative director and CEO respectively), provides something of an antidote to the cool minimalism one typically allies with Scandinavian fashion. Favouring playful experimentation in lieu of utilitarian restraint – Ditte’s designs are often peppered with ditsy floral prints, ruffles, polka dots and wholesome checks, all now Ganni signatures, and riff on traditional tea and wrap dresses – they have amassed a loyal following of women the world over, collectively referred to as their “Ganni girls”.
The duo’s rejection of well established Scandinavian codes of dress in part comes from the city they live and work in, Copenhagen, known for a particular cultural vibrancy and until-dawn nightlife anomalous to the region’s other major cities. (It has instead drawn frequent comparisons with Europe’s counterculture capital, Berlin.) “Copenhagen is where our home and heart is,” the pair say – and, for their A/W18 show earlier this year, a suitable homage to their home town came courtesy of multidisciplinary artist Ana Kraš’ set, made up of photographs of the city printed on fabric and hung on the runway from scaffolding.
“I wanted to portray the traditional things, as well the modern ones, some very famous and iconic symbols, and some everyday random moments,” Kraš told Osman Ahmed at the time. “Even as a foreigner, Copenhagen is a very special place, people are warm and open, very curious, very giving, very kind to each other, and chic and nonchalant about it.”
Now, on the occasion of Ganni’s S/S19 show, taking place as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week this evening, Ditte explains her favourite things to do in the Danish capital – accompanied by Kraš’ visual ode to the city.
1. The beginnings of the Danish women’s art movement at the Charlottenborg Palace
“The Charlottenborg Palace is one of my favourite places in the city; it’s where you find the Academy of Fine Arts and the contemporary art gallery. The vibe is buzzing and super creative, with a serious historical pedigree. Personally, I love the fact that the Danish women’s art movement kicked off here in the early 1970s. Frederik Bille Brahe owns the Apollo Bar and Kantine here and it’s a great place to get a relaxed bite to eat. He creates the dinners after all my shows and I really admire his approach to cuisine – casual but so chic.”
2. Amalienborg for the changing of the guard (above)
“Nicolaj and I used to live very close to the Amalienborg royal palace. People sometimes forget we have a royal family, and they’re known for being quite casual. I love to watch the changing of the guard – they look so sharp in their bearskin hats and blue and white striped trousers. We’ve done a few collections featuring trousers with a similar stripe up the sides. It’s a subtle kind of homage.”
3. A smell of horses at the the Royal Horse Stables
“The Royal Horse Stables by the parliament are probably the prettiest stables you’ll find. They’re really close to our office, so I often sneak over to get a mini break from the busy atmosphere. The smell of horses is a nice antidote to fashion.”
4. Swimming at La Banchina
“La Banchina, with its view of the harbour, has become one of my go-to places for some time out. It’s close to the show location, serves incredible food and is a great place to sunbathe and people watch in the summer. If you’re brave, winter bathing is also possible!”
5. Slotskælderen Hos Gitte Kik for open-faced sandwiches
“There’s nothing more Danish than smørrebrød, our famous open-faced sandwich. Gitte Kik has been around for over 100 years and is an icon of classic Copenhagen. It’s a beloved haunt for the politicians working just a few hundred meters away in Christiansborg and Nicolaj likes to hold his most important meetings here.”
6. A pint at Andy’s Bar
“Go have a pint and soak in the realness at Andy’s Bar. The interior has been the same since forever, people still smoke here and any attempts at pretentiousness fall flat to the ground. You’ve got to love it.”
For more of Ganni’s tips on Copenhagen, follow their guide to the city’s best spots on Instagram @ganni.guide.