main picturePhotograph by Paul Phung
While menswear has become one of fashion’s most coveted areas – due to its fluidity, wearability and subversiveness – Bianca Saunders has become a designer to watch, with her menswear flexible in nature and feminine in essence. After her acclaimed Fall/Winter 2022 presentation and the ANDAM award won last year, Saunders staged her Spring/Summer 2023 show yesterday in a sterile warehouse in Paris, under an effervescent light.
Taste was the motivating factor behind the new collection; Hard food – show title – Jamaican hard food sources like boiled dumplings, bananas and yams. Soft-toned pigments like tans, creams, and yellows replicated the hue of yams and bananas, juxtaposed with bold, electric greens, oranges, and reds that mimicked plantains, pumpkins, and carrots—elements often found in boiled and hard dishes.
“I feel like every season I get the idea of warming up to people and feeling more comfortable being that outgoing person. This collection is definitely more outgoing, but well Of course, I still have some things in store so I have a bit of longevity for the next few years and seasons to come,” she explains the day before the show.
Memorable couture attributes from previous seasons were present in this show; grandiose pleated collars appear on French jackets and asymmetrical necklines reappear on feminine tops. With this season’s focus on structured silhouettes, texture and color, the season’s eye-catcher came with the curved lines of structured denim jackets and silky pajama-like sets. Always one to vacillate between the sartorial languages of menswear and womenswear, Saunders showed a tougher, more masculine side to the front of his clothes while adapting the backs of the pieces to have a softer, more masculine edge. more feminine.
Here, in her own words, Saunders tells the story of her Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
“Every season you see things that I could potentially grow into more of. There are so many ideas I have and developments that I really want to push forward. And this season I’ve had a lot more time to develop, so I’ve done a lot more things to perfect those particular ideas. The tailoring is much stronger, the manufacturing is much stronger. I feel like it’s a great continuing story of how the body contour works with the print and back construction can be interesting. It’s definitely a step up from what it was last season.
“This collection is inspired by Jamaican hard food. So the idea of turning starchy, natural, hard textures into things – and that’s kind of what happens with the cooking process of making hard foods. I used this concept to inspire this season’s collection. So I always have the common thread of how the hard male side or the soft female side blends together. In the front, the texture can be extremely hard and in the back, it looks more fluid and much more relaxed.
“It’s really about looking at the body and looking at the idea of movement and material, and how that blends together. This season’s color palette has its muted moments, but of course it has the strong, raw colors inspired by Jamaican hard food, like yam, green banana, and with the darker palette; that’s how plantain ripens.
“With this collection, I didn’t really start with music. Last season I had the My Jamaican guy song in the mix, and I was thinking about what Grace Jones would listen to when she was cooking in her kitchen. She wasn’t necessarily a dancehall person, she listened to The Clash and things like that. So those 80s, late 70s sounds are what really carry. I worked with my regular sound engineer, Benny Mails – we work so well together. I’m really excited to see it because it goes through the shock and the idea of cooking and what kind of sound will be in the background. The soundscapes are [like] when you’re dancing and when you’re cooking, but also just the rhythm of what the natural sounds of things moving in the kitchen would be.
“I like the idea of women seeing it [men’s clothes] on the other side of the room and they will go to this section [in the department store]– Bianca Saunders
“Today, I don’t want to sound too sure of myself, but I’m actually really impressed with how everything went so well. Being in Paris really allowed me to be in my little bubble, I really enjoyed that step. It was like starting over, basically, the last time because of the pandemic – no one was able to come to the show. So this season, more people were able to come; it’s like reintroducing what i want people to know about the brand and what i want them to remember When they go shopping for the brand they will know exactly what they want to choose because it is easy to imagine it in a garde -dress.
“I try to do [the clothes] quite timeless, surrounding the concept and idea of what hard food is and picking up the stylistic points. Every season it comes with the idea of warming up to people and feeling more comfortable being that outgoing person. This collection is definitely more outgoing, but of course I still have some things in store, so I have some longevity for the next few years and seasons to come. So you will never know what to expect.
“I’m definitely sticking to what I said I wanted to do from the start. It’s very easy to swing one way and see what others might do, so [I’m] just following my instincts and not being swayed by opinions, and that’s what helped people come to me instead of me coming to them. I like the idea that women will see it [men’s clothes] on the other side of the room and they will go to this section. I think that’s how you bridge the gap, getting women to actively patronize that section of the department store. It’s looking at clothes in a different way. This is something that I will probably continue to do, so it will be for men for a while. I’m just one person, I always design my collections and it’s quite important for me to create the right point of view of what the brand says before diversifying. This is [about] create a good rating first, then branch out, and don’t do things too quickly. I think women like the idea of putting on something that’s masculine, because when they put it on it doesn’t necessarily look the same as on someone else – it looks like something completely different . For example, when Kylie Jenner wore the jeans, I was like, whoa, that was something that looked completely different on the model, but it’s still the same product.