10 Questions with Danish Designer Cecilie Bahnsen in Celebration of Her Book Launching at Dover Street Market
Amid the madness of Paris Fashion Week, sitting down and flicking through a photobook sounds like a dream scenario. Thankfully, we’ve got the Scandis to keep us sane. Today, Danish fashion designer Cecilie Bahnsen is launching a publication featuring images of her AW19 collection shot on the streets of Tokyo by travel photographer Josefine Seifert. Titled Tokyo Trance, the book is a poetic ode to everyone’s favourite fluffy dresses Bahnsen’s brand has become synonymous with. Establishing a relationship between Japanese and Danish design, the graphic architecture collides with the cloud-like creations in this love story of a photobook.
Growing up, Bahnsen watched a lot of films by seminal Japanese directors Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu, both of which formed her interested in creative arts. That’s why taking her collection to Japan seemed instinctive and almost like a homecoming – the clothes went back to their earliest source of inspiration. Tokyo Trance is available to buy in Dover Street Market stores worldwide with any Cecilie Bahnsen purchase, and to celebrate its launch we dialled the +45 extension and made a phone-call to the designer’s studio with 10 questions on our mind.
Dino Bonacic: How did the collaboration with Josefine Seifert come about?
Cecilie Bahnsen: This spring I was in Japan doing an installation with Dover Street Market Ginza. I spotted some of my dresses in Tokyo’s streets and the look was so cinematic and poetic, I thought that it would be so fantastic to capture this mood in a campaign. I have always felt a sisterhood with Josefine Seifert photos and we work with her on all imagery for the brand so it was only natural that she would shoot the AW19 collection in Tokyo. She is originally a travel photographer but she captures the feelings and emotions of the brand so well in her photographs.
DB: Why did you decide on Tokyo Trance as the title of the book?
CB: I think the mood and the atmosphere of the book have something dreamy and floaty about it. It is like the girls are dazedly gliding through the city. When first looking at Josefine’s pictures, I felt transfixed and totally captured by the girls and I somehow wanted this feeling to be reflected in the title of the book
DB: What’s the last dream you had?
CB: I can’t remember my last dream, but I remember once I was really worried about my collection and then I had this crazy vivid dream where I was talking to my “inspiration”. It was really strange, but somehow that gave me a new confidence.
DB: What’s the Tokyo spot everyone has to visit?
CB: Shinjuku Gyoen Garden Greenhouse and park – it’s so beautiful and worldly, especially during the cherry blossom season. And then I love to go to T-site Daikanyama bookstore which is open 24 hours and have all the books and magazines you could dream of.
DB: Which Yasujirō Ozu film is your favourite one and why?
CB: My favorite Ozu film is Floating Weeds. The colours, mood and atmosphere of every scene is so beautiful and considered.
DB: What’s the best thing that happened to you while wearing a Cecilie Bahnsen dress?
CB: I always love when I put on my dresses together with my friends, there is a kind of ritual in putting on the dresses and tying the bows and unfolding the billowing sleeves. When we wear the dresses together, we feel a kind of sisterhood and always get the best compliments for our matching outfits.
DB: Where did you find inspiration for your latest, SS20 collection shown in Copenhagen?
CB: Each season adds to the Cecilie Bahnsen universe and so the collection always grows by feeling and instinct. This season I looked at more masculine references in order to see how we could make sense of it in our universe. For the first time, I introduced tailoring – a subtly masculine counterpoint to the hyper-feminine dresses. With my dresses I was looking at ways of concealing and revealing a woman’s body, wrapping and enveloping, looking at sensuality and femininity, finding new ways to interpret this.
DB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
CB: To stick true to my universe and ideas and not get influenced by how others think I should develop my brand.
DB: What’s the favourite souvenir you ever got from your travels?
CB: A beautiful hand-embroidered quilted blanket from the South of France. I think the design has inspired several of my collections’ fabrics.
DB: If you could host a fashion show on the moon, what song would you set as the soundtrack?
CB: I don’t think I would have a song; I think the complete silence would be so dreamy and surreal with the dresses floating in space.
‘Tokyo Trance’ is available to buy at Dover Street Market stores worldwide with any Cecilie Bahnsen purchase.
All photographs by Josefine Seifert. Concept and art direction by Moon and styling by Emelie Johansson.Models: Natsumi Sekine, Macoto Tanaka and Megumu.