The world of Cecilie Bahnsen is one of strength, sophistication and unashamed femininity. Her CFW show, held at Fabrikken on Wednesday afternoon, only confirmed this. Each season Bahnsen refines just one of her signature techniques. This time, it’s silhouettes.
“I was thinking a lot about sculpture,” Bahnsen explains, “which you see in silhouettes, and I wanted to perfect my old designs.” Inspiration came from obscure Japanese photographer Osamu Yokonami. “His photo book, Assembly,” she says, “shows groups of girls wearing their school uniforms. They’re collective portraits, but you notice each character’s distinct personality. That really spoke to me. Each of my collections must be strong, but they also need sit well alongside each other.”
Bahnsen’s attention to detail is ruthless. Her fabrics are all sourced from her favourite Swiss producers. Even her beads are handcrafted. It was this approach, along with sticking to her trademark palette – white with rose, lime and yellow borders – that’s led to her clothes being sold in almost forty five stores worldwide. She’s particularly big in Japan, where people admire her vintage charm. This collection plays up to that strength, featuring bare-backed vests, inspired by old English school uniforms, and voluminous bell skirts, sheer frocks and tight bodices, inspired by Edwardian period dramas. They’re romantic; so romantic, in fact, that one of the models is getting married in hers. But they’re not impractical. The vests are easily worn as T-shirts and the bell skirts are perfect in the current climate.
Unlike so many collections at CFW this year – some of which, I admit, make no pretence to work – this one does. Bahnsen’s designs are exciting, and pragmatic.
So, call me boring, but as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing wrong with these simple loose dresses. Sure, churning them out season after season is unimaginative, but Bahnsen does change them slightly (this time she’s got rid of some of the flouncy separates). This collection shows that if you can adapt old designs – however minutely – and you’re already onto a winning formula, there’s no need to worry. Not everyone wants a revolutionary. I certainly don’t.
Photos courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Week
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Tags: Cecilie Bahnsen, Copenhagen Fashion Week, cphfw, SS19
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