While Bianca Saunders’ last season gave us a lesson in distorted structure, for SS23, the innovative designer toys with notions of duality. With brash exteriors and mushy insides, signature box cuts, sloping drop-shoulders, misplaced seams and fitted ruffles, shirts pinch and gather as if frozen in time, necklines plunge on warm tank tops, or devour the face in spurts of scarlet silk. Bright gingham is sent askew, in poolside blues and blushing orange, olivey greens splicing through the harmony gleaned from fitted crewnecks and thigh-grazing shorts with grainy, undulating grids.
The collection built on the legacy of existing brand staples, such as stiff denim Lexxus jackets or spherical bombers. Saunders’ distinctively boxy proportions continued to dominate too, some shorts so puffy it’s as if they maintain a permanent, Marilyn-esque gush of wind beneath their sails. Huff and puff as hard as you might, nothing will blow these entrenched structures away. They’re strong to the eye yet soft to the touch, armour-like in bed-sheet smooth blazers and bright tote bags – the latter a canvas-structured homage to the ring binders Saunders tucked firmly under her arm as a student.
Some shirts were printed with hand-assembled collages of Hard Food recipes, a season-specific theme that, despite its name, indicates anything but. The starch-heavy Jamaican side cuisine lends its name from the intense preparation that goes into its making, drawing exceedingly literal parallels to the practice of design. It’s a notion that underscores Saunders’ spacious twinsets, suave-collared dusters and static-print knits, a meticulous casualness that is the culmination of countless late nights and last-minute alterations. But perhaps such glaring necessity is exactly Saunders’ point, for no impeccable style staples come that easily, no matter how breezy, or beautiful, things look on the outside.
GALLERYBackstage images from Bianca Saunders SPRING-SUMMER-2023
GALLERYCatwalk images from Bianca Saunders SPRING-SUMMER-2023