WHO: Rotate Birger Christensen
FROM: Copenhagen, Denmark
Riding a pushbike in Rotate’s iconic puff-sleeve, hot pink mini dress may seem peculiar to some, but for the Copenhagen-based brand, it’s in fact very normal. “We are from a country where a lot of girls bicycle everywhere – whether it be to work, dinner or a party – so we feel a great importance in making styles that are comfortable to wear and move in,” explain Danish-born designers Jeanette Madsen and ora Valdimars of their fun party-inflected frocks.
In the Danish capital – where there are more bikes than people and a reported 62 per cent of the population ride – making a party dress you can ride your bike in makes sense, the city’s preferred mode of transport not only driving the style of its citizens but also its designers. It just comes down to striking a balance between wearability and day-time decadence. “We make everything wearable and we have a way of combining things that are over the top with items that are more day-to-day friendly,” explain Madsen and Valdimars, something which is “part of the Copenhagen expression”. Given Rotate’s wild success – and the success of Scandi style as a whole – it’s a formula that continues to not only fixate fashion but hegemonise it, too. A successful recipe of commercial sensibility, creative air, intuitive wearability and, of course, curious couplings (which work).
Layered and nuanced and gloriously idiosyncratic, the brand’s boldly glamorous aesthetic speaks directly to Scandinavian style: comfort chic with a liberal dash of pizzazz. “ e Rotate girl loves the dance floor as well, so movement is important,” the pair say. It’s true. Slipping on a Rotate dress feels the sartorial equivalent of a pre-drink; the spirited, jaunty, power frocks akin to a champagne before a night out dancing. Be its draped lamé, its hip-hugging lurex, its sheeny plissé-sateen, they make you feel alive. ey make you feel fabulous. And, most importantly, they make you feel like a woman – something the girls are unapologetically proud of. “She likes to dress up for her man, she embraces her femininity and she likes to stand out in the crowd,” they illuminate of who this Rotate woman is. “She’s totally independent and is never a slave to trends. She wears Rotate with boots for work and goes all in on beautiful accessories for evening.” But despite this bold, outwardly feminine style declaration, they are quick to point out that, in the world of fashion, inclusivity is key. “We never think female or male, we feel we live in a world that should be inclusive. It’s important to have the perspective from both sexes in all matters.”
For a collection made up entirely of dresses, however, does being female give them greater insight into what women want from their clothes? “We decided to make dresses as we feel we have a broader understanding of what women want when they dress up,” they explain. And that they do. In just two short years, the brand has hit the social media sweet spot, curating an impossibly opulent feed of glamorous influencers and celebrities alike, including the platinum- haired, sylphlike designers themselves (perhaps the best poster girls of them all). Originally born out of a mutual desire for sexier, shorter dresses, the label essentially filled not only a gap in their wardrobe but, according to a formidable retail presence, also one in the market, the brand now stocked on Net-a-Porter, My Theresa, Moda Operandi and local retailers including Myer, Mode Sportif and Désordre. “We were always going to so many events and needed new dresses constantly and we felt the dresses were never short enough or sexy enough. So we actually made the brand for us and the women like us.” Come November, the brand makes its first foray into tops, perhaps an indicator of what’s to come.
Tipping tradition on its head with ’80s-inspired frocks made for good times and big entrances, they make the obsolete contemporary, chaste sultry, and seduction natural. “We always want to make something that’s buzzing, and when we get the samples and they are the way we thought they would be, we start dancing and shouting because we’re so excited about them. We just feel extremely lucky that others feel the same way. It’s really a feeling that’s hard to explain.” A new, wearable kind of Dynasty dressing, for Rotate, more is more is more – and we’re OK with that. Bathe us in their raspberry foil, drench us in their rainbow lurex and send us to the dance floor. We’ll leave the bikes at the door.