Bianca Saunders invited us backstage to see how the team would create the AW20 “VIDEO LIGHT“. It was a little masculine with hints of femininity with a very urban vibe. For the designer this collection Bianca Saunders presented a personal collection for autumn/winter 2020, both her Black Caribbean roots and also her signature cutting that captures movement in clothes.
At the show, VHS recordings of dancehall parties led her to consider the pride and display of dancing, as well as how obsolete technologies warp and morph imagery. Throughout, Bianca pushes at gender and investigates construction to propose fresh ideas for menswear.
“This is a collection about my background, about my heritage, about being the Black Caribbean. I used distortion, things that curved, and always a play with gender, and how we see masculine clothes,” says Bianca.
Padded jackets have a wire running through their horizontal seams, creating shapes as if the movement has been stopped and paused. Wire also runs through the hem of a black cotton drill shirt, capturing a moment of fluidity.
The shoulder is a particular point of focus. Denim shirts have the shoulder point brought closer to the neck, topstitched like the outline of a vest, allowing the sleeve itself to follow the natural line of the body. Denim throughout has been provided by responsible denim manufacturer ISKO.
On jackets, Bianca has developed a signature shoulder that combines strength and softness. A shoulder-pad sits on top of a sleeve-head that’s tucked in underneath, creating a correct tailored line with a shoulder that reveals sensitivity beneath. It’s found on pieces like a tailored jacket with one concealed button, or a white faux-leather jacket.
Details count: a long, tailored coat with the signature shoulder has a covered placket, so that no buttons show. It’s the same on shirts, a clarity of design that means the shirt’s fluidity can shine through. Some shirts have ruching at the side, as if hitched up because the wearer has their hand in their trouser pocket.
Tailored trousers have belted backs so they can be cinched in a specific way. Sweatpants have a double waistband, the elastic becoming a form of ruching. As with all the trousers, denim jeans have inside seams that curve outwards, creating a sense of continual movement.
There is an evolving interest in experimentation. Waistcoats are cut super-long, their points reaching the knees. T-shirts are folded and gathered. Bianca introduces pops of colour for the first time, like an electric blue stretch rollneck. The colours are taken from a screengrab of a dancehall party, an image which appears on a folded and gathered black T-shirt.
Bianca introduces accessories for the first time, with bags with wire in their frame to hold endless possibilities of shape. Footwear is in collaboration with Hernan Guardamagna, a fellow graduate of the RCA, with moulding that echoes the caught movement of the collection. There are also silk scarves, printed with a saying usually found on kitchen scrolls that’ll be familiar to anyone with Jamaican heritage.
This collection spoke to me as Carribean women living in the UK. It is lovely to see our culture expressed artistically through fashion. As well as a female designer bringing roots and culture to the runway.
Bianca Saunders – Head Designer
Chiara Lafour – Managing Director
Karen Binns – Stylist / Brand Consultant
Johnnie Sapong – Lead Hair Stylist using LEONOR GREYL at THE WALL GROUP
Stefano Mazzoleni – Hair Stylist
Porsche Poon – Make-Up Artist
Najia Saad – Casting Director
Y Lan Lucas – Set Designer
Saul Nash – Choreographer
CKTRL – Sound
Hernan Guardamagna – Shoe designer
Silvia Draz – Photographer
Charlie Porter – Press Release
Fin Cullum – Producer
Megan Toal – Intern
Jonas Sackey – Intern
Rafaela Furnival – Intern
Niove Louca – Intern