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Bianca Saunders AW19 An Exploration into the Softness Within Blackness.

Bianca Saunders shoves aside the usual tropes and stereotypes of the ‘black male’ to showcase the masculine body in a space rarely seen with such ingredients in play; the bedroom.

Words and photography by Darius McFarlane

 

Bianca Saunders invites us to a room filled with darkness, but It’s never felt so comfortable. Here we stand in a small room lightly garnished with several hues of brown skin. Faded creams are juxtaposed against them, echoing from the walls and around a singular white-clad model.

 

Harking back not only to “mandem”, the young and mostly black young men who found friendship, family and warmth on the streets, but also a somewhat racial acknowledgement, tipping a hat as it were to the reality of her existence as a young artist, born and raised in London. The importance here is that she’s experienced the conditions to her art first hand. This is not to be mistaken for the exploitation of a hot topic. Bianca Saunders makes it ever so clear she is aware of her chosen means of expression, and that’s what we found compelling.

 

With this presentation Bianca showcases her cuts with relaxed bravado, a quiet confidence as-it-were. We see close fitted netting and sheer playing with relaxed cuts of denim and jersey all without seeming forced. These aren’t game-changing materials or modern textiles we are becoming accustomed to, but classics. Classics utilised with an ode to traditionalism, but remaining consistently modern. A model stands wearing a trench coat, commonly known as a staple of the inner city business fiasco and less known as the signifier of growth and progression for those who wish to trade in their tracksuits for a more ‘acceptable’ representation of self.

 

All of this, yet the trench coat is placed beautifully into a modern light with the simple addition of an extended length belt, this staple of modernity in fashion has been utilised most notably (in recent years) by Virgil Abloh with Off-White, but here Bianca Saunders turns down the dial, replaces the garishness of Off-White’s rendition of the extended belt and states that black is the most elegant accompaniment to such a statement jacket.

 

It’s an exciting collection, not just because of the clothing, but because of the focus she places on the models, the cuts, the space and the overall vibe of the piece. It’s that relaxed bravado shining through her work and most importantly; Blackness.