Growing. Cecilie Bahnsen Resort 2021

Being a small label, even an established one, might be even more nerve-wracking in the uncertain nearly-post-corona times, than when the pandemy striked in the beginning of spring and the whole population was equally confined and paralysed by the new reality. Just think of Sies Marjan, the New York-bsed brand designed by Sander Lak that seemed to thrive in its five-year existence, and then suddenly closed just a few days ago – due to the crisis. But then, not all young brands seem to be totally doomed. Cecilie Bahnsen, for instance, has a very distinct, signature product – her dreamy, ethereal cloudy-puffy dress – which has organically built a fandom around her small Danish label. She even released a resort 2021 look-book, something many labels quit or have delays with. And the idea behind this collection shows just how much the designer has grown and reconsidered her brand. Using 100% upcycled fabrics from previous collections – a response to lockdown limitations – Bahnsen created corseted and peplumed dresses and tops decked out with lace, as well as witchy black coats and jackets. Other pieces combine patchworks of quilting, embroidered organza, and sheer silk faille. One of the most dynamic looks in the collection was a canary yellow frock with a spliced-up cable-knit sweater and a caged floral overlay on the skirt. Another was a hybridized white sweater top and dress featuring no fewer than five different fabrics from Bahnsen’s archive. Moreover, the designer plans to continue experimenting with upcycling and will release smaller, monthly capsule collections made entirely from stockpiled fabrics under the name Encore. This month’s features not just dresses but also blankets and pillows. Speaking from her studio in Copenhagen, Bahnsen told Vogue she’s focused on accessibility: “I want the dresses and everything else to be worn in the streets, not just during special occasions. This was a creative challenge, as I normally work very clean and don’t like to mix too much. But I knew there were a lot of ideas hidden in these old fabrics, and I needed to reflect on them, to maybe be less precious and to give them new value.” Two take-aways from this small capsule: Bahnsen has a distinct point of view and it was satisfying to see her play around with it a bit more freely, mashing things up and giving new life to unused materials.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Fluffy Clouds. Cecilie Bahnsen AW20

The music began, and once the lights came on, Cecilie Bahnsen‘s signature romance was illuminated. Of course there were all the beautiful, fluffy ball skirts and big sleeves, sculpted with delicate silk organza. Still, this season the Copenhagen-based designer slightly stepped away from her saccharine dreaminess. There was a fresh edge to Bahnsen’s new work, thanks to the mix of metallic materials and to more form-fitting, corseted silhouettes that added a sensual and bewitching quality to her designs. Crisp, fitted blazers were styled with cloudlike dresses and sheer A-line skirts, and Bahnsen also expanded into knitwear with ribbon- and ruffle-bedecked sweaters that could be worn as easily with jeans as they could be layered over one of her voluminous dresses. Outerwear was crucial to the collection. Bahnsen collaborated with British luxury heritage brand Mackintosh and showed minimal anoraks alongside cocooning quilted coats with floral embroidery. That’s a great lesson in layering. Bahnsen is one of the most skilled designers in the city and this season she really pushed herself and her talents to the next level.i

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Cool Sweetness. Cecilie Bahnsen SS20

Cecilie Bahnsen‘s cloud-like dresses have stolen our hearts seasons ago, and they are still extremely in demand. But it’s really pleasing to see that the Danish designer takes a step outside of her comfort zone and delivers new vocabulary to her label. Only Cecilie could pull off tailoring in such a soft, light away – just see those blazers and pants, they are the highlights of the spring-summer 2020 collection. Also, how can you not love the hand-tied ostrich-feather minidresses? With the pier near Copenhagen’s floating neighborhood of houseboats as a show venue, and the cloudy sky as the background, those fluffy, flowing textures had to look even better in reality than on the photos.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.