Wearing the Pants: Four Women from Around the World Have New Ideas for Menswear


Photography by Kristine Nyborg.

DESIGNER: Camilla Bruerberg
BRAND: C/Bruerberg
LOCATION: Oslo

To scroll through Camilla Bruerberg’s designs is to chart a bizarre sort of androgyny. High-cheekboned men model with long hair pulled back, their bare chests exposed by windows of chiffon patched into slouchy sweaters. A thigh-length transparent top is digitally printed with cartoonish drips of neon ooze. Strands of lime green yarn dangle from a crooked bird’s nest of a hat and fall over the model’s face like Veronica Lake’s bangs. The fact that Bruerberg discovered fashion almost by accident helps explain her work’s bold experimentation. Hardly one year into developing her C/Bruerberg label, she possesses the genuine play of a person who still has new things to try. “I was studying sociology,” she says, “but I was just itching to do something with my hands, so I started to flick through what schools were available in Norway, and I just stumbled upon fashion. I thought, yes, let’s make some clothes.”

Bruerberg entered the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, where she immediately took to menswear. “It’s the opportunity to work with clean lines,” she says, “not worrying about boobs and hips and all this curvy stuff. I just like the simplicity of the male body, instead of women’s, which come with all the drama.” Using this plainer canvas, Bruerberg’s textile-driven work revels in its own folds, abundantly rolling over hard, straight shoulders. Though unquestionably designed to showcase the male form, with see-through panels revealing a man’s pectorals or subtler works engaging his arms and back, Bruerberg’s collections have found a number of female admirers, and she’s just fine with that. “Women like my clothes, and I think that’s cool. If they want to wear it, that’s super cool.”

The biggest challenge for Bruerberg’s work—and maybe its biggest inspiration—is existing within the tiny, conservative Norwegian fashion world. “There’s a lot of focus in Scandinavia to be as commercial as possible and to be very practical,” she says, “and I think that scares young designers who have other ideas and feel they shouldn’t show here.” Far from the pants-and-sport-jacket standard Bruerberg calls the Norwegian uniform, her clothes embrace a Rococo, overwrought luxury that, even at its simplest, places her on the outside of the outside—geographically removed from European fashion capitals and stylistically rejecting the understated local scene. But living and working in Oslo affords Bruerberg a rare opportunity to be a real pioneer. “Norway has a chance to find our own voice and what’s special about us, instead of copying Sweden,” she says. “I really hope I can open things up for other people with guts.”

—DUNCAN COOPER

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POSTED August 9, 2011 9:20AM IN FEATURES, STYLE, STYLE NEWS Comments (5) TAGS: , , , , , , ,

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  2. Maria says:

    I MISS VALENTINO. AND THE DAYS OF MASTERS. BEFORE TWITTER, B4 MEME RAP. WHEN GOWNS ROAMED THE RICH PEOPLE EARTH..AND THE MUSIC..
    NOT OUT OF NOSTALGIA, BUT AN APPRECIATION OF GREATNESS. WE CAN’T LOOK AT THOSE DAYS THROUGH A POST-MODERN LENS. VALENTINO WAS A MASTER DESIGNER. AND HIS DEPTH WILL NEVER BE MATCHED. EVERY SEQUIN HAD PURPOSE. AND THERE WERE MANY…
    BUT SUPPORTING THESE YOUNG GIRLS DOIN THEY’RE THING..

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