Nocturnal animals: Rotate Birger Christensen, a new influencer-designed Danish label, promises to be your year-round destination for party dressing
Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned party dress? You know, the sort that constantly has one tugging at hems, lest one accidentally flash unsuspecting bystanders? Or the sort that demands a pair of flashy, monstrously high heels, podiatrist's bills be damned? While we're all for comfy, effortless attire — in moderation and on the right occasions, of course — if we're honest, dressing down for a night out takes half the fun out of the experience.
Phoning in the fashion on after-dark outings is something Danish influencers-turned-designers Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimars simply won't stand for; so strong are their convictions, that the duo have launched Rotate, an eveningwear label created in partnership with Danish fashion company Birger Christensen. The world of clothing design was a natural progression from the worlds of styling and casting — Madsen was herself a model in the early aughts — in which both had spent years before their latest endeavour.
Rotate Birger Christensen's debut Resort 2019 collection is chock full of dancefloor-ready numbers, whose almost luminescent colours, exaggerated sleeves and (tastefully) revealing cuts pay tribute to the sybaritic 70s. While some might consider the pair's new venture sheer folly, in this age of sneakers-for-everywhere style, they must be on to something if Net-a-Porter insisted on being the exclusive retail partner for the brand's first collection.
Madsen and Valdimars may each be mothers to young children, and presumably have to do the usual, early morning school runs. But you would never guess it by their aesthetic sensibilities, which scream "Don't stop the music! We're NEVER going home, b*tches!" We spoke to the dynamic Danish duo about growing up as picky dressers, the last days of disco and their borderline psychic, eerily friction-free working relationship.
What are your earliest memories of clothing?
Jeanette Madsen (JM): As a child I would change my outfit several times a day, and would still end up dissatisfied!
Thora Vladimars (TV): When I was around 3 or 4 years old, my dad came home from a business trip and gifted me two winter jackets and two pairs of winter trousers. One trouser had a classic waist band and the other was more of a bomber style, and I refused to wear the former. I was always very specific about what I wanted, and once I'd made up my mind, it was impossible to dissuade me.
How has your perception of fashion changed throughout your years in the industry?
JM: When I started out as a model in 2001, my first impressions were that people could be superficial, and that the fashion business was very competitive, which I never really see today. Nowadays everybody supports each other to get ahead. There ́s room for all of us.
TV: I think social media has changed the fashion industry enormously. In the past, we had to wait for the monthly magazines to feed us with inspiration, emerging names, the best collections and so on. Today, however, we have it all online, and are much quicker to discover and embrace new labels and trends.
What about the disco era appeals to you the most? Why do you think it's relevant in 2018?
TV: Everyone is so busy all the time. People are working harder than ever, and we want them to have fun when they finally do go out. You should dress up, embrace your femininity and embrace life!
What are the key elements of a good party dress?
JM: A V-neck that's a little too deep, a skirt that's way too short, and long sleeves to balance it all out!
What is your creative partnership like?
TV: We're so lucky that we both agree on everything. Our discussions are always so smooth and constructive.
How did things take off so quickly for Rotate?
JM: A little before Copenhagen Fashion Week in August, Thora and I announced Rotate Birger Christensen's launch on our Instagram accounts, and Lisa Aiken (Net-a-Porter's former Fashion Retail Director) immediately requested a viewing. She saw the collection the morning of the show, and when we caught up with her later, she told us that she loved the collection and that Net-a-Porter wanted to launch it exclusively.
TV: We said yes in a heartbeat, of course!
What challenges do you think young brands like yours will or must tackle in 2019?
JM: It's difficult to say. Everybody constantly looking for the next big thing forces us to always be forward-looking and to keep developing. Going with the status quo is not an option.
What market niche is not being met right now, and do you see yourselves filling it?
TV: Definitely. We both struggled to find dresses for nights out. We wanted something extra-special, but affordable at the same time, and that's very much the ethos of Rotate Birger Christensen.
What's in your wardrobe that always sparks joy?
JM: My shoe collection.
TV: My pink satin Saint Laurent pumps, they're so beautiful.
What item in your wardrobe do you reach for on a bad day?
JM: An oversized knit or sweatshirt.
TV: At the moment, my Calvin Klein boots. They just make everything else look cool!
Rotate Birger Christensen's debut collection is now available on Net-a-Porter.
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