By Lisbeth Levine
On a crisp October evening, Danish supermodel and photographer Helena Christensen, designer Camilla Stærk and about 50 tastemakers—including celebrity stylist Kate Young, jewelry designer Eddie Borgo, lifestyle blogger Athena Calderone, fashion stylist Keegan Singh and designer Victor Glemaud—gathered at a minimalist New York City loft to celebrate the announcement that Christensen and Stærk are collaborating with us on a jewelry collection that will launch in May 2015. In keeping with our style, the evening—and the location—captured the essence of modern Danish design. Here’s the backstory on how we created “Hygge on the Hudson:”
Danish chef Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of Noma in Copenhagen and chef at Acme in New York City, masterminded the menu. Known for foraging wherever he travels, he incorporated everything from Long Island fish to frozen wheatgrass in the dinner. During cocktails, guests nibbled on spears of pickled watermelon sprinkled with dried peppers and smoked salt and plucked lamb tartare tucked into rye tacos from trays woven with evergreens. Dinner was served family style and began with mackerel with black radish and buttermilk, bonito with raw mushrooms as well as heirloom tomatoes with dried shrimp and herbs. For the main course, guests savored grilled rib eye with spicebush and sorrel, trout baked in newspaper with spruce and fermented bean buttercream along with an endive salad and baked beetroot with plum and rose hip vinegar. They finished with a duo of desserts: dried apples and frozen wheat grass alongside dark chocolate from Mast Brothers with sour cream and crispy artichokes.
Guests had their choice of spirits with herbal, nut or even tobacco overtones created by TasteArt NYC to complement the chef-driven menu. Pink cocktails were made from vodka, plum juice, roasted chestnuts, caraway seeds and chervil; gin was given a refreshing green twist with the addition of cucumber, fennel seed, grapefruit rind and lime; bourbon was combined with roasted barley tea and walnut bitters, and anejo rum was infused with Virginia Cavendish tobacco and hay.
Natural elements such as wood, leather, clear glass and metal combined with the clean lines of Danish furniture to create a Copenhagen retreat in Midtown Manhattan. Dozens of white candles – a mix of pillars, tapers and votives -- infused the space with a warm glow and were interspersed with antlers (a favorite of Stærk’s) and spiky, understated flowers—like thistles and blushing bride proteas—down the center of a long table topped with a raw-edged white runner. During dinner, guests sat in Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Series 7 chairs provided by Danish furniture company Fritz Hansen. Streamlined tables and chairs that are as edgy now as when they were introduced in the mid-20th century were set up as a lounge area and came from Carl Hansen & Son, as well—another purveyor of Scandinavia’s best-known furniture designers.
Deejay Jasmine Chess, in demand at many fashionable parties, added to the warm intimacy of the evening by spinning an eclectic mix of alternative rock with a dash of Danish electronica and jazz.
Camilla Stærk + Helena Christensen’s capsule jewelry collection debuts in May + will be exclusively available at our boutiques and on skagen.com
—Lisbeth Levine is a Chicago-based writer who has covered style topics for publications including InStyle, The New York Times and The Chicago Sun-Times. She knows Chicago better than Copenhagen, but she's hoping that will soon change.