Cecilie Bahnsen Interview: Inside the Design Studio
“There’s a beauty in fashion, in creating something that we desire, that we dream about, and that we cherish – maybe bring beauty to a bit of this chaos that’s around.” We had the pleasure of visiting a rising star in fashion, Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen, in her studio in Copenhagen. In the video, Bahnsen shares how she works and why sustainability is an integral part of the design process.
Fashion, Bahnsen feels, is storytelling, imagination, and “a nice continuation of some of those values you also had as a kid… that it doesn’t all become too serious.” Her design, she argues, has a lot of Scandinavian heritage to it in its simplicity and colour palette. Still, it’s also very romantic, detailed and couture-like: “It’s always, for me when I create, this balance between it being something decadent and being something that you just want to put on, on a Monday.” Early on, Bahnsen decided that she didn’t wish to change their aesthetics every season, and so the collections build on the previous, adding to their design universe. Unlike many other art forms, she explains, you can keep on going and changing in design, and so she considers the fashion show “that last build-up point where, together with the team, it really comes together, and you make those last decisions…”
“There’s a strength in femininity, and it’s been very important for me to have that in the dresses.” When Bahnsen sees a woman wearing her clothes in a different way, she feels that it’s the point “when the true femininity comes out because it’s a woman’s own identity that shines through in the dress.” In continuation of this, she is drawn to the fact that there is an end customer: “It’s not just for yourself in your studio, but it’s for the woman who’s going to wear it and feel great in it, and maybe has it on for a special day or a special memory…” It is her ambition to design timelessly, hoping “that you would have the same love for a dress as would have for an Arne Jacobsen chair…,” passing it on through generations, caring for it and amending it. This idea of sustainability, she adds, has become a core part of the brand.
Cecilie Bahnsen (b. 1984) is a Danish designer, who operates at the intersection of couture and ready-to-wear. Bahnsen, who founded her namesake label in 2015, won the Dansk Design Talent prize in 2016 and was the first-ever Danish finalist to the prestigious LVMH Prize (2017). Her designs can be found in leading stores across the world. For more see: https://ceciliebahnsen.com/
Cecilie Bahnsen was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio in Copenhagen, Denmark in April 2020. Recordings from the studio and the catwalk are from January 2020.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited and produced by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen