Broderie anglaise is no longer the preserve of sundresses, as Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen has found new uses for her exquisite textile deadstock – including cushions.
Encore, a monthly collection of limited edition pieces made from surplus fabric and scraps, features upcycled dresses, tops, and homewares all crafted in intricately embroidered cotton and organza. Of this move, Bahnsen said: “the collection is another step towards integrity and consciousness at Cecilie Bahnsen and an initiative to take responsibility using upcycled fabrics from our previous seasons.”
The first collection, featuring a top, one skirt, four dresses, two pillows, and a blanket, borrowed fabrics and techniques from seasons past, like haute-couture organdie from Switzerland and an elevated jacquard technique that alternates see-through and solid yarn to create a grid effect. Available to buy now, the collection will be added to with monthly drops of one-off pieces.
Although the clothes are lighter and less voluminous than the billowing baby doll dresses for which Bahnsen is known, the collection stays true to Bahnsen’s attention to detail and romantic silhouettes while using a fraction of the fabric. The result is a pared-back take on extravagant high-fashion, which is infinitely more wearable and comes with half the environmental guilt.
Bahnsen has been working hard to reduce her environmental impact in all areas of the business, most recently sourcing recycled faille from plastic bottles fished out of the ocean. Encore demonstrates a further commitment to sustainability that’s still rare within the industry. Fashion’s murky relationship with deadstock and overproduction has seen Burberry burning piles of stock worth millions to preserve a sense of “exclusivity,” while high street brands like H&M and Nike have also been criticized for practicing stock destruction.
Luxury fashion isn’t known for its inclusion, but through collections like this, designers can start to draw new definitions around what luxury should mean. With Encore, Bahnsen has proved her ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world without compromising the haute-couture quality of her work. The destruction of items to create demand is archaic, now the future belongs to quality, craftsmanship, and conscious design.
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