The Danish Designer Combining Hyper-Feminine Dresses and ‘Dad’ Trainers

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Cecilie Bahnsen A/W19
Cecilie Bahnsen A/W19Photography by Sara Abraham

Cecilie Bahnsen is fresh from showing her A/W19 collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Here, everything you need to know about her talked-about brand

  1. Who is it? Cecilie Bahnsen is a Copenhagen-based fashion label
  2. Why do I want it? A blend of effortless Scandinavian design with hyper-feminine codes
  3. Where can I find it? Online at Matches FashionNet-a-PorterNordstrom and Ssense, at Dover Street Market and Selfridges (London), and selected stores worldwide 

Who is it? Danish-born designer Cecilie Bahnsen graduated from London’s Royal College of Art with an MA in womenswear almost ten years ago, subsequently founding her own namesake label in 2015. Now based in Copenhagen, Bahnsen is fresh from marking her fifth season on the runway at Copenhagen Fashion Week with an A/W19 collection that solidified the codes of her brand: hyper-feminine dresses incorporating structural puffball sleeves; billowing silhouettes in tactile fabrics worked with couture-inspired techniques; ample ribbon tie-fastenings.

All of this Bahnsen cleverly combines with a thoroughly Scandivanian design sensibility via monochromatic or muted colour palettes, and a pared-back beauty look. In addition, she indicates how her dresses might be worn, often pairing each with shorts or a low-key form of footwear – for the new season, it was ‘dad sneakers’ and socks and for the last, a sandal made in collaboration with Suicoke. “The shoes and the shorts, for example, is something we’ve always used as elements to kind of dress it down,” she explains. “I think that’s the Scandinavian part – it’s really important not to be too ‘glam’.” 

Why do I want it? There is an enviable and what should be contradictory effortlessness to Bahnsen’s frou-frou designs, the kind that belongs to the women seen on the streets of Copenhagen. These are the women who seem to inspire Bahnsen most of all, and you can easily imagine one of her intricate pieces worn at a Danish wedding by the bride herself, with simpler smock shapes paired with tights or even cut-off leggings, reserved for the daily navigation of the streets by bicycle. “She’s not scared of being feminine,” the designer says of her muse. “She’s not scared of standing out. But she is independent and also very relaxed and easy in the way she dresses.” All toiles and samples are made in the city, too, in a studio located opposite the A/W19 show space, then outsourced to sustainable factories in Wales for production.

While still rooted in Denmark, Bahnsen’s success is now global: in 2017, her brand was nominated for the LVMH prize and it is now stocked in over 50 stores worldwide, including Dover Street Market London, Tokyo and New York, where she is currently working on a new and exciting project. “We are going to New York on Tuesday to do an installation with Dover Street,” she says. “It’s going to be really cool. It’s our first store installation, that will also be an idea of what our own retail space could be in the future...” In the meanwhile, we’ll have our credit cards at the ready.

Where can I find it? Online at Matches FashionNet-a-PorterNordstrom and Ssense, at Dover Street Market and Selfridges, London and selected stores worldwide