GRAINY and distorted VHS recordings of dancehall parties formed the backdrop to Bianca Saunders’ Autumn Winter 2020 presentation. For her forth on schedule show at London Fashion Week Men’s Saunders hosted a party of her own, each model dancing in a satin-lined booth to blaring dancehall music for the duration of the presentation.
Since graduating from The Royal college of Art in 2017, and launching her namesake fashion label, Saunders has successfully developed a unique style, which pushes concepts of gender through cut and silhouette. Her Autumn Winter 2020 collection was no exception, taking her focus on cutting further, with every inch of her fabric designed and crafted with movement – and fundamentally dance – in mind.
Drawing from her Black Caribbean heritage, Saunders used the VHS recordings as inspiration for finding new ideas for silhouettes, exploring how ‘obsolete technologies warp and morph imagery,’ and translating this into design.
Trousers were cut with inside seams that curved outwards, and shoulders appeared fuller and rounded through draping and gathering. Tracksuits had double waistbands, stitched to create the effect of ruching, which was also incorporated onto the sides of shirts so they appeared almost caught in motion.
An air of femininity was integrated with silk scarfs that hung from the pockets, wrists and necks of the models, each printed with Saunders’ signature. Wire ran through the seams and hems of garments, distorting the natural fluidity of the fabrics. Silk and satin were juxtaposed with utilitarian denim and tailoring, emphasising Saunders’ intention to toy with the notion of gender.
The collection as a whole was intelligent and visceral, yet retained a sense of humour, exemplifying Saunders’ talent, not only as a skilled designer and maker, but also as a thought provoker.
by Augustine Hammond