Cecilie Bahnsen’s ASICS Partnership Celebrates the Art of Everyday Couture

cecilie bahnsen asics gt-2160

Copenhagen-based fashion designer Cecilie Bahnsen kicked off her eponymous brand’s partnership with ASICS in 2022. Continuing to bloom, Bahnsen’s label have created fresh takes on ASICS’ tech-geared sneakers like the GEL-1130, the GEL-Nimbus 9 and more. While Bahnsen’s rendezvous with ASICS has given onlookers plenty to feast their eyes on from her runways to your feeds, for months now the shoe on everyone’s radar has been the officially confirmed GT-2160. For Bahnsen’s debutant silhouette – her past projects with ASICS have reworked pre-existing pairs – the designer has done what she does best: celebrate the intersection of everyday couture with movement and ease. Featuring two colourways: one black and one white, Bahnsen brings her signature design language to the world of ASICS. As part of our Taking Control of Their Narrative series, we caught up with Bahnsen at ASICS’ Paris Fashion Week pop-up. Check it out here.

Let’s talk about your ASICS relationship and a bit about you as a creative.
Every time we've done a show or done a collection, it's always been about comfort and movement. And it's always been styled with flats and trainers, and it really felt right for us to do a colab. And for me, I also lean to Japanese craft and aesthetics, so ASICS was the perfect match for us, and luckily they felt the same way. The conversation just flowed so naturally, and came along really quickly. Firstly, we started to do this upcycle process with ASICS, where we beaded the sneakers and made them really couture in-house. Each pair took a whole week to embroider. And that was the first way for us to understand sneakers, and how it could work in our world. How could we take them apart and make them ours?

Then we started on the product development as well. And I wanted to have the same love for craft and details and femininity. So, we really worked with transparency and the layering, the same way as I would build up a look for a dress, but also the comfort and how to wear it, and how you can style it and make it your own. So you would see that some of the girls would put a pink sock in it, and they would change the whole look. And they would wear it without. So it has this diversity in how you can wear it as well. So they were some of the things that we wanted to start with when we started on the collaboration.,

Why are these elements important for you?
I think for me, comfort is really important. And as a woman, that you feel comfortable in what you put on, and that it's your own style, and you don't wear a dress that owns you, you can add your style to it, your look to it, your energy and your electricity. And that was what we wanted to do with the shoes as well, that they could meet not just one girl or one woman, but tap into several different ways of wearing them.

It’s all about that creative expression.
Exactly. But that's what inspires you as well. When I see someone who wears one of our dresses, and they put it over a hoodie or something unexpected, and then you get inspired, and you want to try and find a way to incorporate this style into the collection as well. I'm really inspired by small everyday things that really have this kind of self-expression to them. And then seeing how you can translate that into the collection.

How did the conversation start with ASICS? How did it come about?
So I have a really good friend of mine who is luckily friends with the ASICS team, and we just started talking. And then it floated really naturally and quickly. They were looking for someone feminine and Scandinavian. And for me, I'm really impressed with the amount of creative brains they've got, and how we got to work with the team, and really interpret it in our way. It's been really incredible. Every time we look at a colab, I see them as both a long term thing. So you enter this because you want to do it for a good while together, and build something, and learn from each other, and develop your universe together.

And then the other thing is really this friendship thing where it's just like you have similar things you love, like the craft or movement, or passion for details. So it really felt that there was a lot of synergy in different ways.

Let's talk about the silhouette – a brand new take on the ASICS GT-2160. How did you approach this?
So, I think the first thing we did, actually, was take the tongue out. That was the first element to make it lighter. And then afterwards, it was about layering and building it up, and getting the same as you get with the dresses, where you see the French seams, you see the construction. You see the gel embroidery. Working with the elements, and then the matte-ness, the shininess, the textures. And I'm really excited also about the straps, and the embossing, and how we got it all in. And then for me, to start monochrome, it's also how I always start a collection, and then you add colours at the end. For the next one that'll come we'll go much more colourful.

The construction is quite Mary Jane-like.
Yeah, exactly. So it has the preppiness too, as well as the sportiness.

What was the purpose behind combining those two aesthetics?
I don't know, it just came. It was really deconstructing it. It was also, we wanted to keep the bow, because we have all the closings of the bows in the back. We wanted to keep it open and light, and allow for the styling of how you want to wear it with socks, and what you want to see through it of colours and so on.

So, I think it was really about, first off, the lightness and the techniques. And then secondly, about the style, and how you could wear it. And then we had it in the show in February, which was very exciting, where it was all with beaded socks and so on. That was really amazing to see it alive and see it come together in the show, and how everybody reacted to that. It just made sense. And I feel like so many of the messages we have tried to get across of our Scandinavian way of wearing it, and our Scandinavian approach to putting the trainers with the dresses, and just get on with the day in a very couture French scene, it's been nice. It really translates the story well, bringing this effortlessness to it.

And I feel so lucky for being allowed to work with ASICS, work on the collection, and seeing the universe grow. We've only been around for seven years, and so much has happened already, and also what’s to come. It's exciting.

Stay tuned for the upcoming Cecilie Bahnsen x ASICS GT-2160 global release. Check out our Paris Fashion Week 2023 recap here.

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