Cecilie Bahnsen, AW18, Copenhagen.
The collections from Cecilie Bahnsen create an interesting tug on the subconscious. The techniques and patterns used for satin quilting at Cecilie Bahnsen, seem reminiscent of old-fashioned yet decadent bed covers, except that they are gathered into cloud-like silhouettes. The textures, colours, and styling also all seem to riff on storybook ideas of youthful “girliness” – soft pinks, pure whites and rough ponytails loosely held with ribbons.
But the styling is clever, the hair is not too pristine, and somehow with the black boots you feel like the hems of the white dresses are about to get a bit muddy from running through a field somewhere. Which seems to accurately convey Bahnsen’s own perspective on the clothes. In an interview with Buro, Bahnsen describes how she wants the clothes to feel lived in.
‘I want you to feel at home in your dress; if you bike to work and it gets a little bit dirty, that’s ok, because it’s better that it’s being worn and cherished.’
– Cecilie Bahnsen
Cherished feels like the right word – there is something about techniques we view as traditional and old-fashioned, such as quilting and patchwork that reminds us of old notions of family linen and heirloom pieces that have been painstakingly created and then passed down through generations. And even if this is not a family tradition that we experience ourselves, the clothing and styling and the references that Bahnsen pulls on to create the collections all help to construct this narrative which seems to have an aura of wholesome innocence.
Of course, the ethereal in fashion is always underpinned by concrete design and construction choices. For example, the choice to quilt the fabric then has knock-on decisions. Bulky quilted fabric is not really suited for darts in all the usual places, such as bust darts, but here the silhouettes create a trapeze-like shape that flares away from the body. Some of the silhouettes are also shaped with raglan sleeves, which allows the armhole seams to blend more easily into the shape of the garment whereas the seams on set-in sleeves could potentially break the flow of the pattern on the quilted fabric.
It’s not to say that darts can’t be used altogether though. In situations where you don’t want to disturb the fabric with seams, darts can be used to create shaping only where needed. You can see that darts have been used on the quilting at Cecilie Bahnsen on the look with shorts to create the gathered hip bags.
Often there is a sort of natural proportion that works in a design as well, but you can choose to go with it or subvert it. For example, if the fabric and silhouette is big and bulky, this may lead you to want to do wide straps and wide hem details. Or, you could choose to make these details really skinny or small so that it further emphasises how big everything else looks.
In the case of this Cecilie Bahnsen collection, you can see that very fine rouleaux straps criss-cross over the back of the garments. This same skinny detail is also echoed in the narrow bias binding used as a hem detail and edge finish. And appears to also be used to bind the seam allowance on the outside of the garment, or this detail could be created with piping inserted into the seam. These fine details provide a delicate touch to the otherwise voluminous shapes. However, wide accents have also been used, with wide velvet ribbon straps used on some of the dresses, and wide ribbon used as a drawstring detail.
Images from CecilieBahnsen.com»
Understand how quilting is constructed by viewing the article Gareth Pugh’s Quilting»