A Cecilie Bahnsen dress is unattainable to miss. Romantic, voluminous, and each bit as dreamy as a fairy tale, the Danish designer’s unique creations are artworks that may be worn for each occasion.
And at Paris Fashion Week, inside an airy whitewashed gallery nestled in the town’s bustling Marais district, girls wearing a panoply of breezy, maximalist dresses in blacks, whites, and powder blues—coolly layered over jeans and Uniqlo base layers—are busying themselves taking orders from buyers. Days earlier, they’d been prepping looks, making final adjustments, orchestrating the line-up, and shooting content while a tiny child (belonging to stylist Emelie Johansson) played with an iPad on the ground, happily noshing on half a cucumber the scale of her forearm.
It’s the day after Bahnsen’s fall/winter 2023 show, and her collection—fresh off the Palais de Tokyo runway, running the gamut from lemon pastel and sunflower yellow through cerulean blue to rose blossom and magenta red—is now displayed on mannequins. Within the lead-up to the show and sales period, the Copenhagen-based creative, best known for the aforementioned frocks, transports her whole team to the French capital—lock, stock, and a few gently whirring sewing machines. “My team is like an clan—we eat lunch together on a regular basis—so this appears like a family trip,” Bahnsen tells ELLE.com.
Cecilie Bahnsen walks the runway at her fall/winter 2023 show.
Having begun her profession as an assistant under John Galliano in Paris, Bahnsen got her master’s degree in womenswear at London’s Royal Collage of Art and spent three years working at British label Erdem before launching her namesake brand in 2015 in her native Denmark. The road received quick acclaim, and she or he’s since segued from leading the Copenhagen Fashion Week schedule to showing in the large leagues at PFW, where she’s now in her third season.
Bahnsen dubs her oeuvre “on a regular basis couture”—one that mixes the romance and craftsmanship of Parisian ateliers with London’s creative energy and Denmark’s heritage in design and architecture. Nonetheless, while one might draw comparisons with London designer Simone Rocha for those pumped-up volumes, it’s Bahnsen’s clean, contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic and infinite lightness of touch that sets her apart.
The label—independent thanks partially to support from the Danish Arts Council—is heading in the right direction to hit $10 million in sales this yr, with global stockists like MatchesFashion, and moved right into a recent headquarters in Copenhagen’s design district in May (“when the weather is evident, you’ll be able to see all of the approach to the ocean,” Bahnsen says). Recently, it launched a Latest York office, relocating two members of the team, including its international head of sales.
A glance from Cecilie Bahnsen fall/winter 2023.
Photo: Filippo Fior / Gorunway.com
The newest collection places an increased emphasis on wearability—while retaining Bahnsen’s whimsical DNA comprised of color and flourishes—with a more grown-up, elevated air.
“This season, the silhouettes were rather a lot slimmer, so it had a more sophisticated femininity to it, in addition to being more mature, with a bit more attitude than before,” Bahnsen says of layered pencil skirts embracing multiple body shapes—her signature organza ruched and smocked for stretch and luxury.
Likewise, the offering has develop into more rounded and extensive, with elevated utilitarian pieces in Japanese raw denim—jackets given a kick due to pannier pockets, and top-stitch tailored pants with pin-tuck pleats on the front—plus, delicate knitwear in recycled cashmere and merino wool. The goal, Bahnsen says, is “to maintain pushing what we do and evolving our universe.”
How her own team styles her pieces is a continued source of inspiration—Bahnsen decided to launch denim when she saw girls in her office wearing their dresses over jeans, while the thought for last season’s asymmetric designs got here from one who would use a ribbon to tie her skirt to 1 side when she was biking to work.
Asics x Cecilie Bahnsen.
After launching bags for spring, fall 2023 boasts a full sneaker collection with Japanese sportswear outfit Asics—last season, she embellished upcycled stock with floral appliqués, creating 50 one-of-a-kind pieces that sold out inside two minutes of dropping on her website. “The sneakers are such a technical product, but Asics really embraced the femininity of our brand with the florals and the transparency,” Bahnsen says.
Sustainability is integral to Bahnsen’s brand, which is working increasingly with leftover materials from previous seasons—manipulated and patchworked together. “It’s about taking something two-dimensional and making it 3D by adding the amount,” she enthuses. “It lets us add our own touch to something that already exists.”
In truth, a choice of fall’s organzas and taffetas hails from Nona Source (the LVMH-backed initiative that centralizes excess stock from the group’s houses, making it available to be used by younger labels), with which Bahnsen has recently began working. Next, she’ll be scoping out fabrics from Dior and a few of the group’s other partners, and plans so as to add resale into the combo later this yr, looking for to “create pieces to be loved and cherished and passed on like furniture and design.”
Suki performs at Cecilie Bahnsen’s fall/winter 2023 show.
Photo: Filippo Fior / Gorunway.com
The Palais de Tokyo show featured a live performance from French musician Suki, known for her confessional “bedroom dream pop,” and a simple-yet-effective LED lighting concept which modified color in accordance with the outfits that appeared on the runway. The thought, derived from the German notion of gesamtkunstwerk, meaning “total murals,” mirrors the ethos of the Cecilie Bahnsen brand—a living, respiration, cycling organism, grounded firmly in on a regular basis life.