On 28 April, during Berlin’s gallery weekend, Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov held a symbolic launch for his first book, simultaneously celebrating 10 years in fashion. The book has come out under the well-known German design and visual culture publishing house Gestalten. On May 3 Vibskov is having the book launch in V1 Gallery, Copenhagen.
Gestalten Space courtyard
Henrik Vibskov is not just among those responsible for the visibility of Danish fashion, but also one of the most prominent names on the current global map of fashion design. A graduate of London’s esteemed Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and founder of his brand Henrik Vibskov in 2001, Vibskov is also the only Scandinavian fashion designer to have been demonstrating his menswear collections on the official list of Paris Fashion Week ever since 2003. Last year, he was a recipient of the prestigious Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize – the most substantial design award in the world (1,000,000 SEK).
Sneak-peek in Henrik Vibskov's new book. Photo: Gestalten
The designer’s style trademarks are bright colours, vivid graphics and unusual, innovative silhouettes – a mix of street style and avant-garde fashion. Also, the ability to bring fashion out of the utilitarian idea of “merely clothes” – with eccentric performances and a constant balancing act between art and fashion, injected with everything that has and continues to happen to him. Henrik has never been simply a designer of clothes, but also an artist (his art projects have been shown in Palais de Tokyo in Paris, in New York’s MoMa and Sotheby’s Gallery, London’s ICA etc.) and a musician – he has been a drummer since the age of ten and continues to tour with Danish musician Anders Trentemøller on a regular basis.
His multi-faceted activities might be one of the reasons why Henrik has been called a new Renaissance man – rather ambitiously, at first glance. However, his image certainly fits the description – a Tom Thumb as tall as a giant, inseparable from his hat, with trousers stuffed into long socks, a jumper slightly ripped at the shoulder and a constantly disarming positive attitude. Merging and breaking down the boundaries between seemingly different media, the creation of something conceptually fresh – this is the space Vibskov feels at home in. The book just confirms this once again – leafing through, it seems that Henrik’s creativity simply has no limits (and this is most likely true).
Henrik Vibskov saying his opening speech
As Vibskov, just flown in from Peru and slightly jetlagged, said in his short opening speech given from a quite ordinary aluminium stepladder, work on the book lasted about a year, and had its compromises like any creative process – for example, it now has 250 pages instead of the planned 500. One of the book’s greatest strengths, along with its documentation of Vibskov’s most singular projects, is surely its texts. The artist himself has written some of them, giving the edition not just a more personal feel, but also an insight into the world of his everyday life, feelings, important events and inspirations. In a sense, the book is a story about fashion, art, process and life; of various fragments and often also coincidences that have later been transformed into stories, projects or performances.
The book launch also saw the premiere of a performance especially created by Vibskov – an op art style meditation on the splendour and misery of perfection. Two graphically perfect models, trying to flick non-existent dust off a graphically perfect wall with an equally graphically perfect brush in graphic perfectionism. Thus the suspicion was confirmed once again – Vibskov merely looks carefree and slightly child-like, but is in fact a true perfectionist, insisting on an equally wise and open audience.
Waiting for performance
Meanwhile, Cologne’s Ruttkowski68 gallery is showing an exhibition of the designer’s work until May 20, named Ruttkowski68 – Vibskovski;72 – 30 small objects that challenge, annoy and expand the boundaries of the imagination.