Influencer Pernille Teisbaek On Instagram, Danish Style And Her New Shoe Collection

Darling of Instagram and the FROW, street-style superstar Pernille Teisbaek talks to Laura Antonia Jordan.

Pernille Teisbaek Grazia

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

If you'd attended a fashion week in 2010, you would have noticed that there was more of a show going on off the catwalk than on it. Buoyed by the rise of bloggers and the arrival of photographers like Tommy Ton, it was around this time that the unapologetic street-style circus kicked off. What at first felt democratic – giving people a ticket into this notoriously closed-door world, if only your outfit was eye- catching enough – quickly felt ridiculous.

But a decade is a long time and, on planet fashion, it’s a light year. Today, things have changed. Maybe it’s because extravagantly ‘It’ looks that will date by next week feel out of step with a more sustainable spirit afoot. Maybe it’s because the editors themselves also began to put on a show. Maybe it’s because we’re now all on Instagram. But in recent seasons it’s felt like the street-style scene is maturing, quietening. Peacocking (at least the obligation to hungrily, obviously do so – someone will always want to wear a ballgown to a noon show, and that’s fine) is done. Today’s must-snap style stars are more likely to be seen in New Balance kicks than drive-me-to- the-door perilous heels. Beige (beige!) has been the dominant colour off the catwalk this fashion month. Tommy Ton now helms his own brand, Deveaux, which specialises in the kind of quiet luxury that’s the antithesis of made-for-the-’gram razzmatazz.

And yet despite this mood shift, Pernille Teisbaek – the Danish influencer with 759,000 followers and counting – continues to intrigue, inspire and yes influence. Testament to her enduring popularity, when we left the Coach show together in New York earlier this month, it took us 10 minutes to get to the car a short stroll away, such was the scrum of snappers eager to get their shot of her. Because despite the change in temperature, what Pernille wears – right now a burgundy leather Coach coat cinched in with a Bottega Veneta belt and Wardrobe.NYC leggings – matters.

Influencers might be at the top of the fashion food chain today, but their arrival in the industry wasn’t universally welcomed by its snootier echelons, the fashion press in particular, who perceived that their hard-earned place on the FROW was being threatened by the influx of these iPhone- wielding newbies. ‘I get it!’ says Pernille, back in the quiet of the car. ‘People don’t like change. When Instagram came along there was like more work for less people. But everyone deserves a spot somewhere.’ She’s clearly grateful for the spot she’s carved for herself in the industry. ‘I feel super lucky. I’m still that nerdy little person sitting there and enjoying the shows.’

Having started out as a model and fashion editor on Danish magazines, Pernille’s seen both sides of the industry (her crew includes fashion darlings such as stylists Christine Centenera and Alex Carl, and jewellery designer Gaia Repossi). Certainly, every fashion insider I know, even the ones you’d think were too cool to care about #OOTDs, follows her.

Pernille Teisbaek Grazia
Gia Couture x Pernille Teisbaek

At the top of her game, Pernille can be selective about the brands she works with. She saw just a handful of shows during New York Fashion Week, including The Row, Khaite and Proenza Schouler (‘I don’t see any and every show, I see the ones that I actually care about’). And while she could have her pick of mega-bucks brands to work with, her latest collaboration is with boutique Italian shoe brand Gia Couture.

‘I love her personal style, it’s both practical, elevated and ever-evolving,’ says Gia Couture founder and designer Barbara Borghini. ‘She is smart, with a big personality. She is never predictable but, at the same time, she is effortless.’ No doubt the minimal collection of mules and sandals will resonate with the women who follow Pernille, a grown-up, style-aware audience. ‘They understand comfort and appreciate a heel that is not that high. They appreciate that it can work for more than one occasion. They know what they want and they like luxury.’

Comfort is one of the key tenets of Danish style, our collective fetishisation of which Pernille’s assent is inextricably tied to (she lives in Copenhagen with her husband Philip Lotko, founder of outerwear brand Rains, and two sons, Billy and Bobby). Copenhagen Fashion Week continues to grow in influence, Ganni is a global power player, and the Danish girls have toppled the Parisians as our universal style crush.

Pernille’s look is typically Danish, in that it blends haute-luxury and uncompromising comfort with unexpected, idiosyncratic touches – and people want in. When she wore a pair of Havaianas flip-flops with a Céline dress to the couture shows in 2018, it wasn’t long before flip-flops were everywhere. Being copied is part of the business. ‘I don’t really care about it,’ she says, adding with a smile, ‘but sometimes it’s a little frustrating. The problem right now is that nothing is unique any more; what you wear can be ripped off three hours after you do it.’

At the beginning, the appeal of influencers was that they were ‘real’ girls with ‘real’ style, albeit with a better command of their angles and a snazzier camera. In recent years, however, that world has begun to feel as unrealistic and unattainable as glossy magazine shoots and perfect models. But, Pernille says, there is a shift back towards something more authentic. ‘Things have changed a lot within social media within the past few years. It’s been through a lot of phases. What we’re seeing now is the demand for things to be more unique, personal, casual, true to what it actually was in the beginning in that it’s instant and it’s not too polished,’ she says, adding that her followers tend to prefer photos snapped on an iPhone to endless streams of street-style shots. In 2016, she founded Social Zoo with her friend and business partner Hannah Løffler, aimed at helping younger influencers forge more ‘organic’ partnerships with brands.

With so many people looking, does Pernille feel a sense of responsibility to her audience, I wonder? ‘100%! I feel obligated to do my best.’ Right now, she wants to use her platform to support a more sustainable mindset. ‘A lot of young people have that feeling that they need to wear a new dress every weekend. But you don’t. You can make a difference with the details. We need to be the ones who are leaders, showing the younger generation how to do it.’ Her own mantra is ‘quality above quantity, always’. She says she borrows a lot of clothes and only invests in two or three new pieces per season. (Currently she is on a Chanel kick, having just bought a pair of glossy boots and a bag, both of which she’ll ‘wear to death’. On her hit list is an Hermès Kelly bag, the definitive forever piece.)

Pernille also wants her followers to understand that Instagram likes don’t translate to personal fulfilment and to think before they post. ‘It feels like if you want to create a boost on your profile, you just do more nudity,’ she says. ‘And the problem is that a lot of the content you create and put out there, you can never take back.’ Her own attitude is: ‘If a lot of people like it, then great, but I do it mostly for myself.’

Setting boundaries with your phone is also important. ‘I hate being at a dinner where there’s 10 people sitting on their phones. I would rather stay home,’ she says. ‘I see so many of these girls who cannot put their phones down. It’s sad.’ Posed pics and selfies might be part of the game, but she’s happiest when her phone is away, playing with her boys.

But what is the secret to a great selfie, I ask her, as the car pulls up at her hotel? ‘Shit!’ she laughs. ‘It’s hard! Selfies are not made to make you beautiful, you always end up looking a bit deformed. It’s more about a vibe.’ And as we get out on the Bowery, we take a selfie together. I look predictably awful; Pernille, despite her protestations that she thinks otherwise, looks radiantly pretty. As I said: influencers – they’re just like the rest of us, but with better angles.

Gia Couture x Pernille Teisbaek, from £210,; available NOW.


How To Dress Like A Scandi

Here Are The Best Scandi Brands That Will Make Your Wardrobe Instantly Better

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us