Cecilie Bahnsen: Cutting a dash

Copenhagen-native Cecilie Bahnsen’s well-crafted, luxurious take on romantic womenswear has made her the ambassador of a new wave of young fashion designers who are merging their international influences together with the rich heritage of Danish design.

Sometimes, from the outside, success can seem like something that happens overnight. But for most “suddenly successful”people, it comes after years of hard work behind the scenes. Such is the case for Cecilie Bahnsen, the Danish fashion designer behind the increasingly high-profile eponymous brand. This summer she became the first Danish designer to be shortlisted for the LVMH Prize – perhaps the fashion industry’s most important award for young designers, with a jury that includes Karl Lagerfeld, Riccardo Tisci and Rhianna. “I think the most surreal moment for me, and maybe it’s just because sometimes I’m under-confident, was being in the showroom for the LVMH final and finding out that every single person who came by – all these designers and people from the industry that I have admired for so long – liked my work,” says Bahnsen, looking back over the past few months. “That was such an insane confidence boost in such a competitive industry.” Bahnsen is making a name for herself as one of the leading names in the soft-power dressing movement, a style that plays with contemporary and traditional ideas of femininity, embracing the frills, ruffles and lace that were once looked down on as “too girly”.

The 33-year-old designer honed her craft in the Parisian atelier of the infamous couturier John Galliano, before a degree at the world’s best art and design school, London’s Royal College of Art. That was followed by four years working alongside Erdem Moralıoğlu, as his award-winning London-based brand became one of the most exciting fashion houses in the world. Bahnsen then, is well placed to make the brand she founded in 2015 a success. She won the annual DANSK Design Talent prize in 2016 for a collection that focused on sustainability, and the reviews have been unanimous in their approval since her first catwalk show at Copenhagen Fashion Week in February 2017. And while the LVMH Prize went to French designer Marine Serre’s luxurious sportswear in the end, the attention has led to Bahnsen’s stockists tripling in the last few months with her brand tipped as the new name to know in fashion coming out of the Nordics.

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