Cecilie Bahnsen's guide to Copenhagen

By Laura Hall
Cecilie Bahnsen

From after dark hub La Banchina to an unmissable art exhibition, these are the designer's hidden gems

As Copenhagen Fashion Week approaches, the Danish fashion designer shares her insider tips on the city...

I'm a Copenhagen native and I love having my brand here. After studying at the Royal College of Art in London and working with couture houses in Paris, I wanted to find the time to develop my own universe – and I found it here, where there is a slower approach to fashion.

My best piece of advice for anyone visiting Copenhagen is to get up early and walk through the old town before anyone else wakes up. It’s so quiet and beautiful and you can smell the ocean and the fresh air.

The street style spot: Fredericiagade

The Marble Church near Fredericiagade.

Fredericiagade is in Copenhagen’s old town and is lined with small bars, restaurants and shops. On a perfect day, I’d start with breakfast at Apotek 57, an Italian bakery that I think makes the best breakfast in town. If you don't believe me, follow head chef Chiara Barla’s delicious Instagram feed to see why!

Fredericiagade is my favourite place for shopping and checking out the best street style in the city. The whole street has a cool vibe and everyone wears their best outfits, whatever the day of the week. It’s inspiring to see how people put their clothes together in Copenhagen – I love seeing the playful ways women style themselves, perhaps wearing a hoodie under a dress as they cycle past. I wear my own designs every day, but for Danish fashion, I recommend Studio X on Dronningens Tværgade, a few streets away.

The must-visit: The Louisiana

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Kim Hansen

I always take visitors to The Louisiana, a modern art gallery in Humlebæk, just outside the city. It’s my favourite art gallery and has an amazing sculpture garden and exhibitions – there is a great Mamma Andersson show on right now. The surrounding area is also worth exploring: make sure you visit Humlebæk beach and the Aarstiderne farm shop, which sells locally-farmed seasonal food. If you can, drive up here in winter along the frozen sea, when the view of the coastline is at its most atmospheric.

The source of inspiration: Galleri Nicolai Wallner

Galleri Nicolai Wallner

Galleri Nicolai Wallner. Photo: “Summer show” group exhibition at Galleri Nicolai Wallner. Courtesy of the artists and Galleri Nicolai Wallner. Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Galleri Nicolai Wallner in the Nordvest area shows so many cool, young artists who complement each other. It's my number one art gallery for gathering inspiration and I showed my SS18 and AW18 collections here. The first time I brought colour into my collection was after these shows, because of the energy I felt from the exhibits I had seen.

The after dark hub: La Banchina

La Banchina

La Banchina. Photo: Martin Heiberg

La Banchina is a little restaurant out by the ocean at at Refshaleøen and is a perfect place to drink natural wine, eat delicious food and see friends. I love that you can swim in the harbour before dinner; in winter, there’s a sauna for warming up afterwards, too. I’d also recommend going for a drink at Apollo Bar and wandering down Værnedamsvej in Vesterbro, a lovely street to browse and discover cute wine bars. The little one-room hotel on this street, Central Hotel & Café, is my favourite.

The green living go-to: Gro Spiseri

Gro Spiseri, Giuseppe Liverino

Gro Spiseri. Photo: Giuseppe Liverino

Copenhagen Fashion Week has a strong sustainability focus and if you want to enjoy that side of Copenhagen, try Gro, a rooftop restaurant where the vegetables are farmed on site. It's totally charming to sit on the roof, between the rows of cabbages and kale, eating their beautiful food and watching the sun set.